EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) -- The Edmonton Oilers have lost their only general manager after 21 NHL seasons.
Glen Sather made it official Friday night, announcing that he was resigning from the team he first joined as a player in 1976.
''It's the first time since I've been 16 years old that I've been unemployed,'' Sather said. ''This has not been a quick decision, but I think it's something that has to happen.''
Sather has reportedly been targeted by both the New York Rangers and Phoenix Coyotes for front-office jobs.
''I do not have a job offer on the table from anyone,'' Sather said.
And Sather would not rule out a return to the Oilers.
''If certain things happened here, I would certainly return,'' he said.
Sather was under contract at $2 million annually for the next two years, but said it was time to go.
''I never contemplated leaving this organization,'' Sather said. ''I thought I'd retire here. But things change.''
Elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame as a builder in 1997, Sather has not been happy with the team's ownership group in recent months. He reportedly had problems with Cal Nichols, chairman of the Edmonton Investors Group that has owned the team since the spring of 1998.
''We just felt it was in both our best interests to cut it off clean,'' Nichols said Friday night.
It appears Sather wanted Edmonton's $25 million payroll upgraded for next season, but the ownership group wouldn't budge.
''In part, this all boils down to money,'' Nichols admitted.
Sather was also upset leaks were coming from the ownership group.
''Everything that happens in the boardroom should stay there,'' he said.
Sather reiterated that there was no way he could continue to work with the ownership group.
''I'm not saying that the owners are all wrong in this,'' Sather said. ''I think that some of this is my fault as well because I'm very rigid and believe in what I believe in. It's clashing of strong personalities.''
Oilers captain Doug Weight wasn't surprised by Sather's resignation.
''I think the rope was getting shorter over the last couple of seasons,'' Weight told the Edmonton Sun. ''I think if this happened two years ago, I would have been very surprised.''
Weight said the loss wouldn't cripple the club.
''I think the team will take care of itself,'' Weight said. ''Glen's had people around him for a long time learning things the way he's done it and learning from him. We have people with great hockey minds.''
Sather finished his playing career in an Oilers WHA jersey in 1976-77 and never left. He was part of five Stanley Cup championships as general manager and coach.
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