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11-03-2013, 09:34 PM
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Location: Edmonton
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Originally Posted by shoop View Post
Ahhh, time for a look back at not-so-recent history...

The Oilers were placed into receivership. Cal Nichols (future head of the Edmonton Investors Group) lead a season ticket drive to keep the team in town. He appealed to fans to help save the team because it was a very real possibility the team would move if the dismal attendance continued. No one would invest in keeping the team in Edmonton (or loan money for a purchase of the team) with such dismal attendance figures.

The ticket drive was hugely successful. Yet, the team still almost moved. A sale had been arranged to relocate the team to Houston.

ATB had taken the team over from Peter Pocklington as part of bankruptcy proceedings. They received a $120 Million offer to move the team to Houston from the owner of the Rockets. ATB agreed to sell the team to the EIG for $100 Million. Nichols had arranged for loans of $40 Million so needed $60 Million in cash to keep the team in town. At the time of the Houston offer the EIG had $50 Million in cash.

Getting that last $50 Million in a weak economy was tough. Probably wouldn't have happened if a lot of fans who bought tickets as a means of helping save the team simply stayed at home and watched on tv.

It wasn't a matter of ego or entitlement. It was the reality of the situation.
Fairly accurate but not quite.

The City had agreed to renovate the Coliseum while Pocklington was still in charge and with the assistance of the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC) a Relocation Agreement was put in place as one of the conditions of the renovation and the lease with the blessing of the NHL. This is when the lower level Executive Suites were installed.

One item in the Relocation Agreement was that if an offer were made to sell the Oilers, Pocklington (and ATB as a result of the insolvency proceedings) would be obligated to sell the team/franchise to a 'local' owner for a fixed price of $70 million US within 30 days of the initiating offer. A similar Relocation Agreement accompanied the EIG purchase but it expired before the Katz sale.

The Alexander Offer was made and in 30 days the EIG led by Nichols, Jim Hole, Bruce Saville and Gary Gregg (amongst many others) raised sufficient funds coupled with a loan from Scotiabank to meet the 30-day deadline and buy the Oiler franchise with NHL approval. The actual deal closed at about 9:30. p.m. on the 30th day in the offices of the former firm of Cruikshank Karvellas (with dozens of people in attendance) so it was that tight to meet the deadline. Jim Hole (then head of the EIG) handed a bank draft to Paul Haggis of ATB to close the sale.

The conversion rate on the date of closing for the Canadian Dollar equivalent of $70 million US was slightly over $100 million Canadian.

Laser photo-copies of the $100+CDN draft are in several downtown offices to this day.

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