NHL committed to helping Pens solve arena issue

PITTSBURGH -- The NHL remains committed to helping the Penguins find an arena and stay in Pittsburgh, the league's deputy commissioner said Thursday.

The league supports a Penguins' plan for Isle of Capri Casinos to build a $290 million arena at no taxpayer cost as long as the company is awarded a state license to build a downtown slot machines parlor.

But the license may not be granted until late this year, and the Penguins are already 15 months away from the end of their lease at Mellon Arena, the NHL's smallest and oldest arena.

The team is up for sale, and moving to another city is an option.

"Obviously, we think the process could be accelerated and the long-term future of the Penguins in Pittsburgh would be far more certain if the local leaders would get behind the existing arena funding plan," deputy commissioner Bill Daly said.

The statement came a day after representatives of the Penguins and Isle of Capri met with mayor Bob O'Connor and Allegheny County chief executive Dan Onorato to discuss the proposal.

The parties agreed to try to improve communications, Penguins consultant David Morehouse said.