SUN Hockey Pool

Oilers offer sweetened

TERRY JONES -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:33 AM ET

Daryl Katz has sweetened his offer to buy the Edmonton Oilers to include big money for a downtown arena.

In the first public statement issued by the owner of the Rexall drug store chain, Katz made two other promises.

He indicated he'd spend more money toward a new arena for the University of Alberta.

In addition, he promised as owner he would hit the NHL salary cap of $50.3 million US.

After making offers of $150, $155 and $170 million to attempt to purchase the Oilers, Katz is still refusing to speak in any public way or answer any specific questions.

"We will not be commenting further, particularly as it relates to the details of the offer," said his Vancouver-based communications voice Josh Pekarsky.

"To be clear, I am committed to building a winning team here in Edmonton and I would play to the salary cap every year to help make sure that happens," said Katz in the statement.

SIGNIFICANT INVESTMENT

"I am also prepared to make significant additional investments of time and money towards the development of a new downtown facility for the team and the City if that's what people want.

"Likewise, I have initiated preliminary discussions with representatives of the University of Alberta about building a world-class hockey training facility for the benefit of the Edmonton Oilers, the U of A and hockey in Western Canada."

Katz said he decided to make a statement because of the discussion in recent weeks about his interesting in buying the team.

"While it's not appropriate for me to discuss the details of my offer publicly, I do want to share my reasons for wanting to buy the team and try to address at least some of the questions Oilers fans and Edmontonians are asking.

"The first point I want to make is that I have a lot of respect for Cal Nichols and the Edmonton Investor Group. They did a great thing when they came together to buy the team and keep it in Edmonton.

"They have maintained a real community feeling ever since, and just over one year ago they came agonizingly close to bringing the Cup back to Edmonton. As an Edmontonian and as a fan, I'm grateful for everything they've done. As an owner, should that come to pass, I intend to ensure their contribution is recognized and remembered.

"At the same time, I know there are a number of people within the ownership group who would like to exit their investment and pass the torch to a new generation of leadership. I want to provide that leadership while preserving the great Oiler traditions and maintaining a strong sense of community.

BORN IN EDMONTON

"I was born in Edmonton, I live in Edmonton and I grew up here with the Oilers during the glory days. I want to own the Oilers because they are Edmonton's hockey team, because I want to build a winning team, and because I think there is an opportunity, through the Oilers, to do great things for the City.

"From a business perspective, the Katz Group and especially our Rexall brand have benefited from our association with the Oilers and Rexall Place, and I think there's a real opportunity to build on that success."

In the statement, Katz promised he'd eventually be available for comment.

"If I'm successful in acquiring the team I will be more than happy to make myself available to the media to answer your questions directly.

"There is no great mystery in any of this, other than the sound business practice of trying not to negotiate a transaction in public. To that end I have offered to meet with all of the owners privately to further explain my offer and answer their questions.

"I've had several productive discussions already and look forward to others in the weeks ahead."


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