Local News

Sabates Pulls Out of Hockey Bid

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Felix Sabates
RALEIGH — The word from the horses mouth Monday nightwas that there will be no National Hockey League team in Raleigh.

Felix Sabates, who put up his own money as anapplication fee trying to lure a National Hockey League franchise toRaleigh, has now withdrawn his bid. Sabates said Friday that hethought chances were very slim the deal would happen, but that the hockeycommissioner had encouraged him to try to work things out in Raleigh.

Monday, Sabates said he was pulling out, and blamed Raleigh Mayor TomFetzer as being the single most important stumbling block.

Mayor Fetzer says he's sorry to hear that Sabates views Fetzer as theproblem.

Sims Hinds of the Centennial Authority, the body seekingfunds to build an arena, told WRAL-TV5'sMark Robertsthat he regretsSabates' decision to pull out. Another member of the authority who askednot to be identified said hehad thought Sabates was bluffing about withdrawing his bid, until Monday.

With the prospect of a professional hockey team gone, officials saythis could reopen a debate about the size of the proposed arena. Officialshad, after much arguing and controversy, voted to build an arena largeenough to accommodate the NHL.

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