Oilers Fire Trainers

Edmonton Oilers v Toronto Maple Leafs

The Edmonton Oilers have finally fired Lowe. No, not Kevin Lowe; his brother, trainer Ken Lowe, along with equipment men Barrie Stafford and Lyle “Sparky” Kulchisky. After decades of work with the team, all three are now unemployed.

The question of why these men were fired remains unanswered. Ken Lowe is probably the most interesting of the three, for a couple of different reasons. It may be that the Oilers have decided that some of the blame for their epically high man-games lost to injury should fall on his shoulders; I’m not sure that Nikolai Khabibulin’s many and varied health problems are his fault, or Souray’s concussion, or Jacques’ back, or Hemsky getting knocked from behind into the boards, or for that matter O’Sullivan’s pinky finger qualify as something he should get fired for, but this is a firing that the Oilers can probably defend to some degree in that manner. It’s even possible they may be justified.

The other reason Lowe’s firing is so interesting is that it makes it clear – if it wasn’t before – that Kevin Lowe’s new official position isn’t “President of Hockey Operations” but rather “Vice-President of Remembering the 80’s And Conversing With The Media.” It’s difficult to imagine any scenario, where after two decades of satisfaction with his brother’s work, Lowe would pull the trigger on firing him.

Finally, I can’t imagine that Sheldon Souray’s comments praising Lowe while simultaneously slamming management did the head trainer any favours.

For the life of me, I can’t imagine what sins the equipment men committed to be worthy of getting the axe. Was Kulchisky not getting the visiting team’s equipment to their room quickly enough? (Too quickly?) Was Tambellini sick of hearing Barrie Stafford tell him about his nephew Drew, who he claimed was pretty good at hockey?

It’s entirely possible that there was some reasonable explanation for this. Perhaps there were legitimate problems with the performance of these men, although decades of continued employment and work with Hockey Canada makes that seem implausible. My personal guess – and it’s no more than a guess – is that Tambellini viewed these people as part of the ‘culture problem’ with the team that he has gnashed his teeth about in two post-season press conferences now.

Whatever the case may be, it’s a little ironic to see such a poorly managed team fire a bunch of people who had nothing to do with management.

  • Jamie B.

    I’m pretty sure that the DJ at the Oiler games has a tough job.

    While I agree the Cotton Eyed Joe Tape must be burned; never to come back again.

    There are some many genres of music, and everyone has their own tastes. So, they play top 40 to appeal to the broadest demographic.

    So what? They should play more Iron Maiden to appeal to you the minority that like Heavy Metal?

    Being a season ticket holder and looking around in my section; it’s is obvious that there aren’t many of those type of fans.

    • Puritania

      I agree 100% with the need to once and for all, eliminate Cotton Eye Joe from the playlist. Just a question for the guys who run the Oilersnation website, but could an online petition be arranged?

      And before we get 7 people writing in exclaiming that they want non-stop Pantera and POD playing all game, I would suggest that we try and strike a happy medium.

      That being said, I must give props to the Oilers music guy for playing little to no country. Stompin’ Tom is as far as I’ll go in that direction.

  • Petr's Jofa

    I’m curious how old these guys are. They’ve all been with the team forever and I assume that they had some experience before they joined. Could these guys just be headed to retirement or less stress positions now that their contracts are up?

    TSN Quote is:

    “Also, head medical trainer Ken Lowe is stepping down from his position after 21 years, while Barrie Stafford and Lyle Kulchisky of the training staff are leaving their positions.”

    No where does it say they were fired.

  • JohnQPublic

    Willis, you’ve been ranting for change for years. You’ve got it.

    Change isn’t always clean, or fair and definitely not perfect. There are a lot of unfair personnel moves in any organizational shake-up.

    You helped cook it (with many others), now eat it.

    Don’t be a hypocrite.

  • Puritania

    I don’t know why people seem to think all the metal heads want metal non-stop all the time rah rah rah.

    All we really want is less pop music and some metal. If pittsburg can play as much as they do without mass rioting I don’t see why we can’t either.

    @Bob Loblaw: Just because people in your section aren’t covered in tatoos and wearing studded leather jackets doesn’t mean they can’t like metal. Don’t judge a book by its cover as they say.

    So to reiterate, we just want some metal to hear as well. It won’t kill the fans who don’t like the hard stuff to hear the odd 10 second metal clip, we do it all game every game.