The stance by some citizens in this city seems to be that any member of the media who supports putting more money on the table to help build an arena in partnership with Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz should be dismissed as a mouthpiece or a fartcatcher.
Others sit smugly and suggest that if Katz and the Oilers want a new arena, they can damn well pick up the tab because, after all, there’s no way Katz is going to pull up stakes and move the team to another city that offers a sweeter deal. Even the faintest suggestion that could happen is characterized as fear mongering and bluffing by Katz.
It follows, then, that anybody in the local media who doesn’t discount the possibility that shelving or delaying the downtown arena project might result in the Oilers leaving town for a destination that is building a rink or already has one is, again, a fartcatcher or a mouthpiece.
Bob Stauffer of 630 CHED gets tarred with that brush often, of course, as he’s an employee of the Oilers and, it follows, is bought and paid for by Katz and Rexall Sports. People say Stauffer’s a Yes Man. A shill. The opinion of people who feel that way has been strengthened in recent days as Stauffer has tip-toed around the possibility of Edmonton losing the team if the arena isn’t built. "There goes Bob again, doing the bidding for Katz . . ."
SAVILLE WADES IN
I don’t know if you heard Stauffer’s interview with former EIG member Bruce Saville on Oilers Now today, but if you haven’t, you can follow this link to the podcast. Give it a listen. It might just send shivers down your spine. At the very least, it should provide those who scoff at the possibility the Oilers will ever leave town pause for thought.
Saville, last time I checked, isn’t a member of the segment of the media deemed by some to be pitchmen for Katz. Saville, near as I can tell, isn’t a Katz Yes man, a mouthpiece, a fartcatcher. Katz isn’t his boss. Katz doesn’t sign Saville’s cheques. Here’s some excerpts – listen to the entire interview for context – of Saville’s interview with Stauffer.
STAUFFER: ". . . I think it’s naïve to believe there aren’t other options for Mr. Katz and the Katz group carrying forward. What happens, do you think, if a building doesn’t get built in this city?"
SAVILLE: "If this arena doesn’t get built, the team’s gone. I don’t know how long it’ll take – two years when the lease is over, maybe another year or two beyond that, but I would bet my life that, five years from now, if there’s not a new arena or a hole in the ground or one almost finished, that the team will be gone and there won’t be any team coming along behind it to replace it . . ."
SAVILLE: "Let’s get it signed and get on with it. This isn’t a get rich scheme for Daryl Katz. People who think that are just jealous. They don’t understand the deal. It’s unfortunate that Daryl is a bit of an introvert, you know? He doesn’t like to appear in public. He doesn’t like to speak in public. But that’s his personality. We all have personality traits.
"That’s the fact. Isn’t that better than Peter Pocklington mouthing off and you can’t believe a word he says, you know? Peter Pocklington never saw a microphone he didn’t like. Thank God he’s out of here. (Katz) is a solid, solid, solid guy who, for some reason, has not really had the support of the business community, the downtown, big company business community. They’re not stepping up . . ."
Fartcatcher? Mouthpiece? I think not.
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.