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KERRY EGGERS ON SPORTS/Officials deny expansion, relocation talks - for now

TRIBUNE PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Mike Johnston coaches the Portland Winterhawks, who play in a market and arena (Moda Center) considered a good fit for the NHL -- if Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen ever gives the go-ahead for a franchise.The National Hockey League isn't bound for Portland, at least in the near future.

That doesn't mean it won't happen sometime down the road.

Reports last week that representatives of the financially challenged Arizona Coyotes had toured Moda Center in Portland and KeyArena in Seattle with the possibility of a franchise move were false, according to Chris McGowan.

"We aren't aware of any NHL teams coming to Portland and looking at Moda Center," says McGowan, president and chief executive officer of the Trail Blazers, who own and operate the arena. "I'm not sure where that's all from, but it's certainly not anything we arranged."

Edie Burke, general manager of KeyArena, offered the same report.

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