EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) – The Edmonton Oilers have asked the American Hockey League for permission to suspend operations of their top minor league team for one year.

Club officials said Monday the Edmonton Road Runners, who also play in Rexall Place, could affect the Oilers’ ticket sales next season if the NHL resumes play this fall.

AHL president Dave Andrews said the Oilers made the request late last week and league governors will likely approve it June 16.

After the hiatus, the Road Runners – who moved from Toronto last year and from Hamilton the year before – will be relocated again, although the Oilers would like to keep them in Canada.

Oilers president Patrick LaForge said the decision was all about the NHL club and had little to do with the Road Runners, who were a big success at the gate. He said the Oilers have a job to do just to fill the arena for their own games when the next NHL season begins.

“I don’t think the building will be full right off,” LaForge said. “We’re used to 99 percent sellouts here. How long will it take to get it back to that? Maybe a full season.”

LaForge said the move shouldn’t be seen as a signal the NHL lockout is about to end, but the Oilers couldn’t wait for certainty.

Andrews said the Oilers plan to enter into agreements with one or two AHL teams to place their players on their rosters for next season.

Road Runners general manager Scott Howson said the team looked at moving this season, but didn’t want to enter a new locale at the last minute.


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