Lemieux: Penguins will look at other cities
Thursday, December 21, 2006
By Dave Molinari, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Penguins majority owner Mario Lemieux today said the team is no longer for sale and will explore relocating to another city while trying to negotiate a deal for a new arena in Pittsburgh.
"Recent developments, including yesterday's decision by the [Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board], and the recent termination of the purchase agreement by Jim Balsillie have convinced us that it is time to take control of our own destiny. Accordingly, starting today, the team is off the market, and we will begin to explore relocation options in cities outside Pennsylvania," Lemieux said in a prepared statement. "After seven years of trying to work out a new arena deal exclusively in Pittsburgh, we need to take into consideration the long-term viability of the team and begin discussions with other cities that may be interested in NHL teams. As soon as we are no longer restricted by our agreement with Isle of Capri from negotiating an arena deal here, in the next few weeks, we will also begin discussions with local leaders about a viable Pittsburgh arena plan."
The gaming board on Wedenesday awarded Pittsburgh's only stand-alone slots parlor license to PITG Gaming LCC, which will build a casino on the North Side near the Carnegie Science Center. The Penguins had backed a plan by casino operator Isle of Capri, which pledged $290 million for a new arena.