Governor to ask NHL to keep Pens from moving

Updated: March 7, 2007, 12:23 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

PITTSBURGH -- Gov. Ed Rendell says he will turn to the National Hockey League to prevent the Pittsburgh Penguins from moving, one day after the team said it had reached an impasse in negotiations with state, county and local officials to finance a new arena.

"The governor believes we have put an exceptionally attractive offer on the table," according to a statement released by Rendell's office. Later in the day, Rendell told reporters, "If they don't take it, we're going to be up in New York asking the NHL to bar the Penguins from moving."

On Monday, the Penguins said they will actively pursue relocation and blamed government officials for failing to cut a new arena deal.

Owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle said the team has agreed to pay $120 million over 30 years toward a new $290 million arena and to cover any cost overruns.

The Penguins' lease at 46-year-old Mellon Arena, the oldest arena in the league, expires June 30. The Penguins have repeatedly said they may move the team, or sell it to someone who would move it, if no deal for a new arena is in place by then.

Officials in Kansas City have offered the Penguins free rent and half of all revenues if they agree to play in the soon-to-be-completed $262 million Sprint Center.

Las Vegas also appears to remain in play as a potential new home for the team. Penguins officials were scheduled to visit Vegas on Wednesday to get talks back on track with state and local leaders.

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said he believes it is in the team's best interest to stay in Pittsburgh and said a deal can be reached despite the team's frustration with negotiations so far.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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