Kevin Lowe: Edmonton Oilers “appreciate each and every fan”

Jonathan Willis
April 17 2013 09:20AM

After drawing some fire for heated comments made during the announcement of Criag MacTavish as general manager of the Oilers, club president Kevin Lowe issued a statement on Tuesday to clarify his remarks.

The key line:

First of all, we appreciate and are grateful to every one of our fans who cheer for us, through good times and bad. We understand that we see many of our fans at Rexall Place, but we have hundreds of thousands of fans that never get to Rexall Place. We appreciate each and every fan. I did not make that clear yesterday, and if I offended anyone, I apologize.

Lowe's statement is undoubtedly intended to address the answer he made to a question from Edmonton Journal reporter John MacKinnon, where he appeared to differentiate fans into two types based on whether they attended the games at Rexall:

We have two types of fans: we have paying customers and we have people that watch the game that we still care about but certainly the people that go to the games and support we spend a lot of time talking to them, delivering our message.

Making the clarification is a good move by an organization that in recent years has sorely tested its fanbase - both with poor performances off the ice and contentious arena negotiations that saw the owner issue an apology for his bargaining tactics. 

This clarification doesn't come close to the same tone as the letter - it's an 'if you were offended, I'm sorry' semi-apology, but it's also worth keeping in perspective what Lowe said originally. Naturally, any business will value the customer who pays more to a greater extent than the customer who pays less, and Lowe didn't even go that far - he simply stated that the two types existed and they communicate more with one than the other.

I suspect, because of the tone and language used, that some won't view Lowe or the team any more charitably now than they did immediately after the press conference. The problem is that the Oilers have been losing for a long time with Lowe, first in his latter years as general manager and over the entirety of his run as president, and because of that the team simply doesn't get the same amount of slack that a winning organization would. The clarification was a good thing to do, even if it was a little lacking in execution, but ultimately what will make things right with the fanbase is capable leadership from the new general manager and wins on the ice.  

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#101 TigerUnderGlass
April 17 2013, 05:49PM
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@Micbilly99

Just look at Michael Jordan's record and he is the best basketball player to ever play the game.

Ignorance abounds. Neither part of this statement are correct.

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#102 The Soup Fascist
April 17 2013, 06:22PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:
As a shareholder of GM if I see the CEO videoconferencing a bunch of shareholders with a picture of a Mustang on the wall, I question his decision making.

Try again. This one is not analogous.

there are people who work for me whose opinions I value more than others for various reasons. I don't tell the others that their opinions mean less - even though in my mind they really do at times. It would demotivating and dumb.

Also not remotely analogous. I'd also question how you made the leap from "makes extra affort to communicate with A" to "B has opinions that don't matter". It doesn't follow.

Because you say it isn't ? If Lowe is representing the Oilers brand, addressing customers of the Oilers, I think it could be considered disrespectful to fly the brand of a competitor. You don't. Fine.

Lowe's clear message on Monday was all fans are equal, just some are more equal than others. I agree that in practical terms he has the right to believe this and act on it. My point is why in a self-admitted emotional time would you stress that point, when it alienates many you are addressing?

In either case, I just question the decision making employed. Despite any misgivings I have about the teams current state or Lowes performance I will continue to support the team and buy season tickets.

I have my views on his professionalism and intent. You have yours. Clearly this is a somewhat polarizing issue. You don't like my thought processes. No problem. Apply your own, such as they are.

I understand there are a lot of raw nerves given the collapse we have witnessed as fans this year and the long absence from the post-season. If there is some uber-sensitivities among the masses, I think it is understandable. This management is under the microscope and they should be IMO. At the end of the day I hope MacT is very successful and makes Lowe's decision look brilliant. Nothing would make me happier.

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#103 Supernova
April 17 2013, 07:28PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Eddie Edmonton:

You've had two comments removed due to profanity. You're welcome to make the same point using other language if you'd like to.

is Eddie Edmonton really Kevin Lowe?

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#104 Gaz
April 17 2013, 07:41PM
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@ed back in canada

That's just silly.

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#105 Rob...
April 17 2013, 08:04PM
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Between the press conference and the video apology what truly bugs me is that I still don't know if Kevin Lowe is a Belieber.

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#106 Supernova
April 17 2013, 08:04PM
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StHenriOilBomb wrote:

Maybe it shouldn't, but it does. Everyone in Montreal is important to my business (a little pool hall / bar), and those who live in the area are even more important. I will do my best to keep those folks happy, but really, the people who come and pay for table time, buy beers, and create an atmosphere that I can market are the ones who's opinion really matters to me. EVEN within those folks, the regulars who are there five times every week pay my rent and my salary, and for them I will do just about anything.

Maybe their opinion shouldn't mean more, but it certainly does.

Your final sentence is just one more reason that the Oilers can lose forever and be okay. The curse of a Canadian hockey city.

It does matter, what position where the Oilers in when the could only fill the barn to 60 or 70 percent capacity in the late 90's.

Paying Customers matter immensely, especially in the NHL model of seat sales. Should it have been said or even implied absolutely not. It also sucks hearing that you are less important then someone else.

This is also where the NHL and the Oilers struggle. There is huge value in terms of reaching out to the non-season ticker holder. The NFL is a prime example of this. Well we all know that their season and set-up is entirely different, the other biggest difference is how they market to the non-ticket holder fan.

Whether it be through Paraphernalia or Website sales or Tailgating, there marketing blows away the other leagues. The Oilers have learned this to some degree but they need to do a better job of getting these non-ticker holders to "own" and then "buy" being a fan.

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#107 The Soup Fascist
April 17 2013, 09:17PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

No. Because logic says so. Your comments were not analogous. My saying so is irrelevant.

I also never addressed whether or not it was or was not respectful (nor if that even matters), I merely pointed out that your analogies did not fit.

I have no idea how you presume to have determined my opinion on ANY matter based on my response to your comments.

I will, however, point out that he did not say, nor even imply, there are some fans "more equal", he said there are some fans with whom they communicate regularly.

What is your idea for communicating with ALL Oilers fans regularly? A nationwide referendum with local radio ads in every jurisdiction announcing local polling stations before major decisions? Perhaps they can send out mailers to anyone wearing a jersey? What do you have in mind?

You are missing the point totally. If you don't care for my analogies I will live with that burden.

My only expectation of communications from the Oilers is to tell me how much I owe and how they are getting the tickets to me. Everyone else's expectation is their own business and they can pass them on to the organization as they see fit. .

My whole point is I thought it was dumb to publicly segregate fans. Some would give a rat's ass and some would be offended. Clearly that is the case. If you think there was a value to Lowe making the statement - wonderful. That would indicate that you are clearly more plugged into the management strategy of the gentleman than I. Kudos.

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#108 The Soup Fascist
April 17 2013, 09:36PM
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@TigerUnderGlass

Ok TUG all BS aside. Answer one question and I will shut up. What was the purpose of Lowe's statement noted above in the article? The "We have two types of fans ......" quote.

I just want to know one positive aspect that came out or could have expected to have resulted from making that statement?

For the life of me I can't find one.

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#109 TigerUnderGlass
April 17 2013, 10:27PM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

Ok TUG all BS aside. Answer one question and I will shut up. What was the purpose of Lowe's statement noted above in the article? The "We have two types of fans ......" quote.

I just want to know one positive aspect that came out or could have expected to have resulted from making that statement?

For the life of me I can't find one.

Before asking me a question like that would you mind showing me where anyone said anything about a "positive aspect"?

Why would you ask me to defend a position nobody has taken?

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#110 TigerUnderGlass
April 17 2013, 10:31PM
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@Eddie Edmonton

If anyone is to whine it should only be women.

You're going to stick with that line after all? Nice.

I believe he was throwing a jab at MacKinnon and the knowitall fans MacKinnon was representing: the ones who don't attend or watch the game properly, they just Monday Morning Quarterback on blog sites.

Funniest thing I've read in weeks. The idea of MacKinnon as the representative of the bloggers made me spit up the Delicious Dr. Popper I was drinking. That's not a typo, I prefer my soft drinks imported and fake.

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#111 The Soup Fascist
April 17 2013, 10:38PM
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@TigerUnderGlass

You can't either? Weird.

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#112 Eddie Edmonton
April 17 2013, 10:44PM
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@TigerUnderGlass

I did not say he was the representative of the bloggers. It would appear you like your soft drinks like your opinions. Nice.

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#113 TigerUnderGlass
April 18 2013, 09:20AM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

You can't either? Weird.

Not weird at all. You're really beating the hell out of those straw men.

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#114 TigerUnderGlass
April 18 2013, 09:22AM
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Eddie Edmonton wrote:

I did not say he was the representative of the bloggers. It would appear you like your soft drinks like your opinions. Nice.

It's exactly what you said, both in word and by context. If you meant something else please clarify, because there is no other way to interpret the words you chose.

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#115 The Soup Fascist
April 18 2013, 09:27AM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

Not weird at all. You're really beating the hell out of those straw men.

It was a simple question - but one that you either can't or won't answer. However, that is your prerogative.

But I think we both know why you won't address it - don't we??

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#116 NOTaREALfan
April 18 2013, 09:31AM
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Sorry Mr.Lowe. I haven't made it down to Rexall this season. I've been in Afghanistan fighting for your freedom. No hard feelings. I'll stop wearing my Oilers jersey around the barracks so that no one confuses me with a "REAL" Oilers fan. Oh... and by the way that was some of the most heartfelt sincere reading I've ever seen!

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#117 andrewmk20
April 18 2013, 09:31AM
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I'm not sure if you work for the organization or not but quite frankly the fans do have a say in this. Without people the teams and players would be playing in front of empty arenas and it would be beer league hockey because without fans sponsors and advertising would all fade away. Fans pay for tickets to provide revenue for the club, and food/drinks to provide revenue for the arenas so they can continue operation. Not to mention the so called whiners/women which is offensive in itself because you are using the fairer sex as an insult ,which means they probably won't come near you with a ten foot pole, pay for concert tickets and event tickets like for curling and the rodeos etc. that also provides all the revenue for the arenas so the players have a nice facility to play in. Without fans pro sports don't exist and these lucky and very hardworking athletes don't have the ability to play a game for millions of dollars. We are all allowed to express our disappointment and if you don't want to hear it don't come on these sites. No one is forcing you to read these posts. I'm aware some statements made out there and on 630CHED are at times hasty remarks and not well thought out but that's because of pure frustration with a team we love and a game we eat and breathe.

Furthermore the questions asked by MacKinnon were valid. This trio was in a different paradigm from 2001-2009 but they were responsible for the futility of the franchise outside of one season. It's entirely valid to question the hiring of an inexperienced GM when the team is in a critical juncture. Don't get me wrong they managed to cobble a team together and MacT was a good coach, but in the case of management when you don't win and don't make the playoffs for the majority of your tenure you quite frankly deserve to be questioned and shouldn't be allowed to continue cart blanche.

Also the way Kevin Lowe came across sounded arrogant and he immediately expressed anger when the press began asking tough questions. For a person in such a position to lose control isn't okay. He's in a position that when he has had as little success as he's had he should have a tougher skin and should expect these remarks. Especially if he's piped into the fan base and communicates with them. Either on the internet or in any phone interviews he's done with local media. However he seemed completely oblivious to this when the media questioned him.

Sorry this post is so long but Eddie Edmonton's comments really bother me.

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#118 W.Sieg
April 18 2013, 11:04AM
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Hey Kevin Lowe, looking for a big high scoring forward thats hard to play against with lots of heart? Remember Curtis Glencross. oh ya, he is untouchable down in Calgary

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#119 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
April 18 2013, 11:34AM
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Fire Lowe. Anyone who has had this little success for over a decade does not deserve his job. It really is that simple. Also trying to say that losing in a cup final once in twelve years makes you a hockey guru is delusional. THERE IS A DELUSIONAL ANGRY ARROGANT GUY LIVING IN THE PAST running the Oilers. That is not a good thing to have in management. I am no fan of MacT however as long as Lowe is the top dog it won't matter if he is any good or not. Lowe Must Go!!!!!!

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#120 TigerUnderGlass
April 18 2013, 01:13PM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

It was a simple question - but one that you either can't or won't answer. However, that is your prerogative.

But I think we both know why you won't address it - don't we??

FFS I already answered your question in spades. Is there a specific wording you'd prefer? This has gotten stupid beyond belief.

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#121 TigerUnderGlass
April 18 2013, 01:15PM
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W.Sieg wrote:

Hey Kevin Lowe, looking for a big high scoring forward thats hard to play against with lots of heart? Remember Curtis Glencross. oh ya, he is untouchable down in Calgary

Look at all those wins Calgary is racking up because they have a prototypical 3rd liner playing as a first liner.

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#122 The Soup Fascist
April 18 2013, 01:30PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

FFS I already answered your question in spades. Is there a specific wording you'd prefer? This has gotten stupid beyond belief.

Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive ....and Dodge.

You are finally right about something, this is stupid.

Here you go ...answer it / don't answer it. I really don't care anymore:

Was it or was it not monumentally dumb for Lowe to make the statement he did on Monday, which clearly marginalized some fans?

There you go Skippy. I can't make it any simpler than that. The question is not whether or not YOU believe they should feel marginalized. Clearly, the guy in post 116 and many others feel shunned. That is not the debate. This will be my last post on the subject - Thank God.

EDIT: No it wasn't

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#123 TigerUnderGlass
April 18 2013, 02:23PM
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@The Soup Fascist

Was it or was it not monumentally dumb for Lowe to make the statement he did on Monday, which clearly marginalized some fans?

This is not even the same question you asked before, which was:

I just want to know one positive aspect that came out or could have expected to have resulted from making that statement?

and hilariously neither one has anything do do with the comments I responded to in the first place. You then followed up with:

The question is not whether or not YOU believe they should feel marginalized.

In this you are correct. This is not a question anyone has asked either. If nothing else you are consistent in your inconsistency.

I keep wondering; if you go far enough off point will you eventually circle all the way back around to being on point? Don't stop now or I'll never know.

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#124 The Soup Fascist
April 18 2013, 02:29PM
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@TigerUnderGlass

I kept asking the same question different ways in the hope you may eventually man up and answer it, should it be framed to your liking. Obviously this is not the case - as you still refuse to do so.

Getting you to answer a direct question is like nailing jello to a wall.

Good Luck in you career as an ambulance chaser or politician, I have not been able to discern which of the two careers you were forced to pursue after flunking out of barber college.

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#125 TigerUnderGlass
April 18 2013, 03:28PM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

I kept asking the same question different ways in the hope you may eventually man up and answer it, should it be framed to your liking. Obviously this is not the case - as you still refuse to do so.

Getting you to answer a direct question is like nailing jello to a wall.

Good Luck in you career as an ambulance chaser or politician, I have not been able to discern which of the two careers you were forced to pursue after flunking out of barber college.

Those are not the same question asked differently. Those are distinct questions with distinct answers.

You first question was essentially a demand I point out what was positive about the comments.

Here was my response:

Before asking me a question like that would you mind showing me where anyone said anything about a "positive aspect"? Why would you ask me to defend a position nobody has taken?

Please explain how "nobody thinks it was positive" avoided the question.

The problem is that your questions have nothing to do with your original comments or my response to them.

You claimed that Tambo essentially claimed certain fans were more important, and I pointed out that what he actually said was that there were certain fans he communicated with regularly.

If you can explain how this relates to "what was positive?" or how you claim to have gleaned anything about my opinion from this I would appreciate it.

I really don't understand this. NONE OF YOUR QUESTION ARE RELEVANT in the least. We were discussing the meaning of his statement and you want to question me about whether or not it was positive or smart or black or white and none of that has anything to do with what it was that he actually said.

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#126 The Soup Fascist
April 18 2013, 03:52PM
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Not sure how Tambo got involved in this. Poor guy is busy looking for a job.

You dont like to answer questions that prove you wrong - I get it.

I think I speak for many when I sum up our little back and forth with this ......

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Later.

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#127 TigerUnderGlass
April 18 2013, 05:25PM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

Not sure how Tambo got involved in this. Poor guy is busy looking for a job.

You dont like to answer questions that prove you wrong - I get it.

I think I speak for many when I sum up our little back and forth with this ......

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Later.

I've just grown accustomed to typing his name in conjunction with PR problems. Not surprising really.

I don't like answers to irrelevant questions which I've already answered? How does that work?

If you think anyone else is still reading this you're kidding yourself.

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#128 Rickymac
April 18 2013, 06:48PM
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I am a Flames fan since 1980 but I also follow the Oilers closely and (believe it or not) I want the Oilers to do well other than when they go head to head with the Flames. Having said that anyone who posts and says that the fans are a bunch of media influenced sheep has no idea what they are talking about. Both the Oilers Nation and Flames Nation sites are really interesting in the comments section due to the varied opinions of so many people. It is a great forum to state opinions and many people are very blunt and eloquent in their reasons for dissecting the Management failures of both teams Ownership, Presidencies and Management. Keep it up everyone!

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