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Friday, October 31, 1997

Canadian reports say Oilers sold to Houston Rockets owner Les Alexander

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) -- Edmonton Oilers Peter Pocklington has agreed to sell his National Hockey League team to Houston Rockets owner Leslie Alexander, Canadian media reported today.

Alexander has submitted an offer to purchase the Oilers and will attend a news conference next Tuesday in Edmonton, the Edmonton Journal said.

"It (the bid) came in the last day or so," John Ramsey, chief operating officer of The Pocklington Sporting Group told the Journal.

The offer was also confirmed by Alberta Treasury Branches, the newspaper said.

"Mr. P phoned me simply to say that he had agreed to a deal," the Edmonton Sun quoted Mayor Bill Smith as saying.

There were reports last week that Alexander would buy the Oilers for $85 million and keep them in Edmonton for at least three years.

Angela Blakeney, a Rockets spokeswoman declined comment.

Representatives of the Jim Hole, Bruce Saville and Cathy Roozen group, which are considering buying the team, could not be reached for comment.

City developer Robert Proznik, who heads the other local group, said he is still in the running and could join forces with Hole, Saville and Roozen.

"It's not out of the realm of possibilities," Proznik told the Journal.

"I would certainly prefer local ownership by a country mile," Smith told the Sun. "But if we're going to lose them, I'd certainly rather have them stay here with foreign ownership."

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