Originally created 12/01/99

Senators owner to announce club's future soon



OTTAWA -- Ottawa Senators owner Rod Bryden said Tuesday he will make an announcement on the NHL team's future "in a couple of days."

Bryden is threatening to put the team up for sale on Dec. 12 if he doesn't get between $10 million and $12 million in tax cuts from all levels of government.

"The tax thing is still moving," Bryden said. "Nothing but the maximum effort to keep the team here."

Industry Minister John Manley, who has been trying to move the issue through cabinet, said he is working on a federal-aid package. However, there is still wide opposition to tax breaks for NHL teams.

On Tuesday, Walter Robinson of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation sent a letter to Prime Minister Jean Chretien calling on the federal government to ignore the Senators' plea for help.

"We are looking to you to send a clear signal that the NHL needs to solve its own problems," Robinson wrote, "and that the federal government will not play any sort of role in exchange-rate alleviation or any industry-specific bailout."

Bryden said the Senators need between $3.7 million and $5 million in relief from the federal government. In total, the Senators want between $10 million and $12 million in tax breaks.

So far, Kanata and the province of Ontario have announced they're willing to make cuts, and the region looks likely to follow.

The federal government has said it will contribute if the other stake holders -- including the NHL and its players -- also make concessions.