An NHL hub city press conference was postponed Saturday afternoon as the federal government and the league continued discussions regarding final contract details, according to officials.
Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman were supposed to provide more details about the resumption of the NHL season during the press conference.
As the NHL and federal government finalize details, one downtown restaurant owner is thrilled Edmonton has been chosen as a hub city.
“We were kind of crossing our fingers hoping it would and it came true,” Sabor co-owner Lino Olivera said.
Sabor is just down the street from Rogers Place. Olivera said the announcement comes at a perfect time.
“This definitely will help some of us — most of us — to get back on our feet, back on track. I’m sure everyone’s had bills pile up, so its time to start going back to the norm,” Olivera said.
Welcoming 12 NHL teams is being seen as an opportunity for economic growth.
“We estimate upwards of 2,000 jobs here in Edmonton that will be created as a result of hosting the playoffs and up to $60 million of economic activity,” Premier Jason Kenney said on Friday.
However, a sports economist called those numbers exaggerated.
“This isn’t a game changer. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves and think this is the spark to restart the Alberta economy. This isn’t going to bring thousands of permanent jobs,” Concordia University economics professor Moshe Lander said.
Lander said the jobs gained as a result of Edmonton being a hub city will likely be gone again once the NHL playoffs are over.
While it may not bring a regular season economic boost, Olivera said it’s something that is much needed.
“I think the buzz will create a downtown core environment that’s missing right now.”