Mayor Stephen Mandel doesn’t think a story released yesterday put any pressure on the city with regards to building a downtown arena for the NHL’s Oilers.

“At this point in time, discussions are moving along as I would have hoped,” Mandel said.

The QMI Agency story suggested that Oilers’ management, including president and CEO Patrick LaForge, president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe and Katz Group chief financial officer Paul Marcaccio, were in Quebec City meeting with Mayor Regis Labeaume about possible relocation of the NHL team.

“I think that because of the sensitivity of the negotiation discussion that we have, oftentimes things get a bit blown out of proportion,” Mandel said.

The meeting was simply to compare notes on arena funding, LaForge told reporters after the meeting.

Labeaume is trying to get $180 million from the federal government to help build a $400-million arena he hopes can lead to the return of the NHL to Quebec City.

“We’re both building facilities. We’re both trying to get them off the ground,” said LaForge.

“We have a hockey team, and perhaps they don’t here. But there’s no reason for that to be drawn together.”

Mandel said negotiations between the team and the city won’t be sped up in light of the story.

Administration is scheduled to come to council in January with a consultation report.

With files from the canadian press

Latest From ...