SUN Hockey Pool

Junior squad rejects Oil offer

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:53 AM ET

SYRACUSE, New York -- Recent reports that talks are heating up with the Tri-City Americans regarding possible relocation to Edmonton are news to Patrick LaForge, who said yesterday the WHL team has turned a cold shoulder to repeated overtures by the Edmonton Oilers.

"As everybody knows, it's been an ongoing thing. We've been talking to them for almost two years," the Oilers president said of his team's interest in acquiring a WHL franchise.

"They've talked to us, but they've said, 'No, we don't want to talk anymore.'

"That's where it's at."

With WHL franchises having to declare intentions to relocate by March 31, the Oilers made their latest offer to Tri-City majority owner and president Darryl Porter 10 days ago. It was rejected.

Indications are the Americans will either stay at Three Rivers Coliseum in Kennewick, Washington, or relocate to the Prospera Centre in Chilliwack, B.C., the current home of the Chilliwack Chiefs of the BCJHL.

The Oilers put a standing offer of $5 million on the table to WHL owners over a year ago, but it was contingent on acquiring a team for the start of this season. The Oilers' latest offer to Porter was not for $5 million.

While the Americans could do an about-face and reconsider the latest pitch by the Oilers if they can't make a deal in Chilliwack or choose not to remain in Washington, LaForge isn't holding his breath.

"The WHL has said it considers Edmonton a very favourable market," he said.

"They know weire interested."

TICKETS MOVING: About 15,000 tickets have sold for the outdoor charity game scheduled for Ivor Wynne Stadium in Hamilton April 2.

Steve Staios, Ryan Smyth and Eric Brewer of the Oilers have committed to the game, which will benefit the Tsunami Relief Fund for the Canadian Red Cross and Camp Trillium, a camp for families of children with cancer and an organization in which Staios is involved.

Staios and Doug Gilmour are co-captains of the event. Curtis Joseph, Todd Bertuzzi, Martin Brodeur and Mats Sundin have said they'll play in the game, which will be televised by TSN.


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