WHL governors to decide on Edmonton expansion

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:14 AM ET

The Edmonton Oilers' ongoing bid to get the City of Champions back into the major junior hockey business will go to a vote March 16.

Governors of the WHL's 21 teams will vote on that date about the question of granting Edmonton an expansion franchise for 2007-08, Oilers president Patrick LaForge told the Sun yesterday.

"We'll find out one way or another," said LaForge, who may touch on the subject at a news conference to kick off the Oilers' playoff ticket campaign Monday.

LaForge, who has spearheaded the Oilers efforts to acquire a WHL franchise the past four years - an effort that has included an offer of $5 million to induce owners of existing teams to sell - led an Oiler contingent at a presentation in front of WHL commissioner Ron Robison and board members in Calgary last month.

With the WHL having already granted an expansion franchise to Chilliwack, increasing the junior circuit to 21 teams, the decision has now been made to put the addition of Edmonton to a vote - a two-thirds majority, or a yes vote by 14 teams, is needed.

"We haven't done a roll call," said LaForge, asked if he's polled owners as to how the vote might go.

The Oilers would own and operate the franchise, which would be based at Rexall Place. The WHL already has franchises in two NHL cities - Calgary and Vancouver.


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