SUN Hockey Pool

Oil president puts brakes on move rumours

President and CEO of the Edmonton Oilers Patrick LaForge has spoken out about the move rumours....

President and CEO of the Edmonton Oilers Patrick LaForge has spoken out about the move rumours. (REUTERS/Dan Riedlhuber)

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:16 PM ET

MONTREAL — The question isn’t whether the Oilers are going to Quebec City.

They aren’t. Never were. Never are.

The question is whether or not the management seems to like it a little too much when people think they might.

Reacting to what has now been exposed as a bad scoop out of Quebec City, team president Patrick LaForge said the visit by he, Kevin Lowe and Katz Group head Paul Marcaccio was a fact-finding mission and not a shot across Edmonton’s bow.

“I have no idea how it started, but I’d be interested in knowing how it did,” said Laforge, insisting the visit had nothing to do with planning an escape there. “We have no plans to move the team. We didn’t discuss it, it wasn’t on the table, it never came up.

“We told people we were going to go from Ottawa to Quebec City and have coffee with the mayor, We were there for 50 minutes, and before we even got there there were headlines that we were moving the team.”

It’s the same thing that happened after they visited Hamilton to discuss running their building. Every time Oilers brass goes somewhere to discuss arena management or funding, a segment of the population in Edmonton views it as something between subtle pressure and a veiled threat.

The conspiracy theorists will tell you the Oilers want there to be fear in the air, and are loving the turbulence this created. That they intentionally let the situation percolate to scare their fans, and city council.

Not so, insists LaForge.

“We’re not trying to fan the flames,” he said. “But I think we reserve the right to go and meet with people who are doing the same thing that we do, catch up on their plans and share with them what we’ve done so far and ask for their advice. I think we got some.”

LaForge said they’re just interested in learning how Quebec City plans on funding its own building, see if they can pick up any tips.

“In the process of trying to fund a building we’ve talked to just about everybody,” he said. “Of the 30 buildings in the NHL we’ve talked to about 16. Quebec City has a unique funding model so we made arrangements to have coffee with them. We wanted to review their funding model, how they’re going to do it, what levels of government they’re counting on because it’s very parallel with what we’re trying to do.”

At the end of the scrum, a Montreal reporter asked him to say they’re not moving the team right now, and LaForge took the loophole.

“I can categorically say we’re not looking to move the team right now.”

Right now?

Asked to amend that to ‘Ever,’ LaForge declined.

Follow me at Twitter.com/tychkowski

robert.tychkowski@sunmedia.ca


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