Edmonton Oilers president and chief executive officer Patrick LaForge confirmed that the rumors were true. Sunday, LaForge told The Edmonton Journal and The Oklahoman that the NHL team has interest in placing its top farm club in Oklahoma City.
"Yes, we have an interest in Oklahoma City as a market," LaForge said.
A major step toward Oklahoma City landing the Oilers' Triple-A farm team, which would play in the American Hockey League beginning with the 2010-2011 season, might come Tuesday. The Oklahoma City city council is expected to vote on whether to accept the terms of a proposed lease with AHL Hockey Club, LLC.
"Of course, we wish them (AHL Hockey Club, LLC) luck and hope to do business with them — if and when they are legally clear and ready for entering into a negotiation," LaForge said. "I also hope we can get to that point soon because the 2010-11 AHL season is closer than we think."
Last week, Express Sports, which owns the Oklahoma City Blazers of the Central Hockey League, announced that the Double-A franchise would not play the 2009-2010 season. The announcement coincided with Express Sports filing paperwork to begin negotiations for a prospective AHL franchise. The letter of intent was between the city council and AHL Hockey Club, LLC.
The Oklahoman received a copy of a proposed lease Sunday. According to city documents, the lease will be for five years at the Cox Convention Center, beginning with the 2010-11 AHL season. There is an option to extend the lease for two additional three-year terms if the AHL Hockey Club, LLC elects to.