Wayne Gretzky says he wasn’t kicking tires on Edmonton Oilers move to Seattle
The timing of Wayne Gretzky attending the Packers-Seahawks game in Seattle and that city’s recent approval of a new sports arena caused a bit of a furor among Edmonton Oilers fans trying to connect the dots on Monday. On Tuesday, Gretzky told FAN 590 radio that he wasn’t there on behalf of the Oilers.
“That’s the last time I go to a football game,” Gretzky said.
On Sunday, Ian Furness of KJR radio in Seattle and Chris Daniels of KING-TV reported that new Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz and an ownership group, were in town to survey Key Arena and the market.
The Oilers released a statement confirming the ownership group was in Seattle for “meetings.” The team and the Edmonton city council have entered into a somewhat contentious standoff over funding for an arena.
Gretzky wasn’t a part of the Oilers’ contingent and he believes there’s little chance his former team will leave Edmonton.
“Probably zero,” he said, suggesting the club and city aren’t really that far apart in their negotiations.
“I just can’t imagine a deal not getting done.”
Gretzky reiterated the NHL’s patience with stabilizing the Phoenix Coyotes as a precedent for keeping franchises where they are, rather than shifting markets.
“The National Hockey League does not want franchises to move,” he said. “They want to build those franchises, stabilize those franchises, and keep those fans who have supported those teams comfortable.”