SUN Hockey Pool

No fast fix: Robison

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 11:39 AM ET

The saying that everything is for sale at the right price hasn't held true in the case of the Edmonton Oilers' pursuit of a WHL franchise, and league president Ron Robison says there's no fast fix for that. "In any league, whether you're talking about the NHL or the WHL, you have to give existing markets every opportunity to continue to operate, if they're viable," said Robison, who has gone on the record as saying he sees Edmonton as a desirable market.

"Until such time as ownership in a market determines that relocation or a sale is in their best interests, or the league determines we can no longer operate there, it's difficult to say when we could arrive at a point where there would be a possibility of a team relocating or selling to Edmonton."

The Oilers' best bet would seem to be the Tri-City Americans, who had a bid to move to Chilliwack foiled by WHL governors last month. Do the Americans stay in Tri-City? Even if the Americans are put up for sale, there's a local group that's indicated its interest.

"We're still working with them in terms of how we're going to move forward in that market," Robison said.

"We're trying to work through this particular situation and get it settled first. Then, we'll determine where we go from there."

Given new facility standards put forward by the league and lagging attendance in some cities, there's a number of WHL franchises that could move at some point. But to speculate about what teams might be available serves no purpose.

"The real exercise we're going through is determining the long-term viability of each of our market locations," Robison said.

"Tri-City is first up, but there are others we are going to have to look at. If we can't operate in our current markets, we have to look at our most attractive opportunities. Clearly, Edmonton is one of those."


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