Edmonton, AB (Sports Network) - The construction of a new arena to replace Edmonton's aging Rexall Place moved one step closer to reality on Wednesday.
By a 10-3 vote, Edmonton's City Council approved a funding model for the new downtown venue.
"We'll have a brand new arena with the Oilers staying in our city. It's about building our future," said Edmonton mayor Stephen Mandel, who added that construction would start "early next year, if not sooner."
After legal wrangling and veiled threats of relocation, an agreement was finally reached between team ownership and the city the franchise has exclusively called home for almost four decades back in late January.
At that time, council approved the framework for a new $480 million arena which will be jointly owned and operated between the hockey team and Alberta's capital.
Terms of the deal dictate that Oilers owner Daryl Katz will pay for owning and operating the arena, while the city will be responsible for the arena itself and the land surrounding it.
"Today's news is about Edmonton's future and spurring the ongoing revitalization of downtown," said Daryl Katz. "We're thrilled this deal has finally been approved."
Rexall was opened in 1974 as Northlands Coliseum to host the Oilers, who then played in the World Hockey Association, and has continued to serve as the club's home since it was accepted into the NHL for the 1979-80 season.