Meeting with NHL boss 'productive,' mayor says

Edmonton's mayor and city manager met for an hour Tuesday afternoon with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman to outline the city's issues with the proposed $450 million downtown arena.
Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel speaks to the media Tuesday before heading into a meeting with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman at NHL headquarters in New York City. (Janice Johnston/CBC News)

Edmonton's mayor and city manager met for an hour Tuesday afternoon with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman to outline the city's issues with the proposed $450 million downtown arena.

Mayor Stephen Mandel was upbeat as he left the meeting but had little to say as Bettman asked all parties to honour a media blackout.

"We had a very productive meeting but out of respect for all parties, we decided that we'll keep everything quiet until after the meeting tomorrow," Mandel said. "Mr. Bettman was incredibly cooperative and his true gentlemanly self."

Initially, Stephen Mandel and Oilers owner Daryl Katz were to meet with Bettman Wednesday, but Mandel asked for an earlier meeting to sit down with the NHL boss alone.

Katz will join the talks with Bettman and Mandel in a meeting that scheduled for 10 a.m. ET Wednesday.

Katz officials want the city to firm up a source for the outstanding $100 million in funding as well as compel Northlands, which runs Rexall Place, to get out of the concert business once the new arena is built.

The Katz Group says the deadline for resolving both issues is October 31st when it has to exercise his option to purchase land for the arena. The company doesn't want to buy the land unless there's a good chance the deal will go through.

Neither party is expected to comment after Tuesday's meeting, but a joint news conference is planned following Wednesday's meeting.

With files from the CBC's Janice Johnston