The Commissioner met with members of potential team ownership groups, while touring Skyreach Centre at Northlands Park. Skyreach Centre is the home of the Edmonton Oilers of the National Hockey League. Yesterday, the Commissioner was in Vancouver, where he formally awarded an expansion franchise. The Vancouver Ravens will begin play in the 2001-2002 season at General Motors Place.
"In Edmonton, we already have two of the three components needed for a National Lacrosse League expansion team", said Jennings. "First, we have a great city and great sports fans here in Edmonton. Second, we have a great facility here at Skyreach Centre, and Northlands Park is very interested in our league. That leads to the final part-- we need to find the right ownership group. I am very confident that we will."
"Edmonton has always been on my radar screen for expansion," said Jennings. "With Calgary and Vancouver now in place, the complete western expansion picture would include Edmonton, Seattle, Portland and Los Angeles, to name a few."
Jennings also said that an expansion team in Edmonton could begin play as early as the upcoming 2001-2002 season, if an approved ownership group provided a solid business plan. Otherwise, a start during the 2002-2003 season would be more likely.
"It's the mandate of Northlands Park to maximize the utilization of our facilities," said Ken Knowles, General Manager & COO, Northlands Park. "We see securing a National Lacrosse League expansion franchise as an excellent opportunity to continue providing quality entertainment to the citizens of Edmonton."
As per league policy, the Commissioner cannot identify the interested investors until a formal application has been submitted. Jennings anticipates receiving the first application for a team in Edmonton by the end of next week. All expansion applications will be reviewed by the league's Board of Governors.