NHL Lockout Canadian Corner – September 24, 2012.

A recent Edmonton Journal column regarding a new downtown arena stirred up Oilers fans, Max Pacioretty heads to Switzerland, and Chris Phillips could find himself a local rec league to play in during the lockout.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: John MacKinnon’s recent column urging a resolution between the city of Edmonton and Oilers owner Daryl Katz regarding a new downtown arena was posted by the Oilers on Twitter threatening relocation, which didn’t sit well with those who caught it and re-tweeted it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE:MacKinnon’s article contained the blurb that the NHL has informed city council if there’s no new arena deal before the Oilers lease at Rexall Place expires in June 2014, the Oilers would be a candidate for relocation. Derek Zona of “The Copper and Blue” was all over this over the weekend, and as you can imagine, he wasn’t impressed with the subtle threat of the Oilers being relocated if the city of Edmonton didn’t agree to more concessions to Oilers owner Darryl Katz.

I believe this is a hollow threat by Katz and the league. The Oilers aren’t the struggling team they were in the mid-1990s when they were seemingly only weeks away from being moved to Houston, Texas. Moving a team which was among the top money-makers in the league (over $17 million in 2010-11, according to Forbes.com) with a devoted fan base like the Oilers because the owner got greedy and tried to squeeze the city for more concessions on an arena deal would be a huge black eye for the NHL.  As I’ve noted elsewhere, league commissioner Gary Bettman was lauded for his efforts last fall getting the two sides to agree to an arena deal, and since he’s obviously not doing very much regarding NHL CBA negotiations, perhaps it would be a good  time for him to resolve this issue. 

Pacioretty signs with Swiss team.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty is the sixth member of the club to head overseas during the lockout, signing with Ambri-Piotta in the Swiss A League.

OTTAWA SUN: Could Chris Phillips join a local beer league to keep fit during the lockout?

1 Comment

  1. I agree Lyle that I think it’s a hollow threat, but the fact is the only reason I can say that is it is hard to imagine the city without the Oilers, which isn’t exactly the most sound business reasoning. Otherwise, there is a lot of good reasons to move the team. With the lease up and issues with the new arena and the fact that the team for the first time in history has an owner who has no commitment to the city, relocation could be possible.


    Think of how much money a young Oiler team would make in the new arena in London????? And Katz wouldn’t have to put up $100 million of his own to do it.

    Also, as an Edmontonian, I don’t get the reluctance for public funds. Everyone is talking up front costs, but the city’s own auditors have agreed that a new arena would generate at least $2 billion in tax revenue for the city.

    I don’t get calling the owner of a team greedy when he wants his landlord to improve the facility. He doesn’t own the arena, he leases the arena, and he is willing to put up $100 million to pay for new drapes and carpet, but the landlords is responsible for the rest, or try to find another tenant.

    Politically, how would you like to be the Mayor of Edmonton whose legacy would be the “Guy who lost the Oilers”

    Once again I hope and I think it’s a bluff, but I don’t think I would want to call it this time around.