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 . . ."


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.

  • Travis Dakin

    Didn’t Saville get a pay-out from Daryl to the tune of about 20million?? If I invested $7million into a team & you gave me $20million for it later on, I’d be happy to “tow the line” for you too, whatever that may be

    • longbottom/P.Biglow

      WOW, Now buying something in this town and selling it now is against all rules of good form? Lets see now I may be wrong or just a homer or just OLD( I did just hit the half century mark this year) Saville was part of a group that spent 80m to buy the Oilers from Polkington then turned around and sold it several years later after putting how much money extra that I do not know.(there was at least 4 to five cash calls between this time) Now my friend you suggest he is towing the line for Katz??????

      Lets just turn this puppy around and say anyone with the opinion of ant line of thinking against Saville and Stauffer is very very Niave.(To put it bluntly) It took Winnipeg 15 years to get the NHL back, Quebec still hasn’t gotten their team back.(I heard a rumor two years ago the Katz could get a sweetheart deal from Either Hamilton or Quebec). Now lets see the line for getting an NHL team is getting a little longer with Seattle looking for one, Kansas City is still trying to get one, has the rumor of Houston ever gone away? This is the same line of thinking that almost ruined Edmonton with Mayor Jann Riemer and the Big Bussiness that all formed a line and belined to Calgary.(How many companies set up their head offices down the road 2 1/2 hours?)

    • wiseguy

      So if you bought a house for 300k & then 10 yrs later were able to sell that house for 380k, you would take the buyers side on whatever issue b/c you made $ off that person, right?

      You make it sound like Katz gave Saville $20M just to ho along with his scheme. It’s business. The other investors all made $ on the deal… does that mean we should expect them all to “tow the line”?

  • The team has been criticized since Katz became owner. People expected the first thing Katz would do is fire Lowe since fans hate Lowe. Since Katz didn’t fire Lowe, people hate Katz. People wanted Lowe gone and because Katz didn’t do, he’s hated.

  • Don’t forget that idiot Caterina is still on city council as well as on Northlands BOG. That my friend is conflict of interest. All Caterina does is complain complain complain and never has anything to say. Same with Diotte. People on the Northlands BOG shouldn’t be on city council as they’re biased towards Northlands.

  • wiseguy

    Anyone find it convenient that guys who were bought out and may have interests in real estate development downtown are putting pressure on city council? Saville pushing the downtown arena now and Cal Nichols previously speaking for the anti-airport closure group when the airport lands were considered as another option for the downtown arena? Is it a stretch to suggest that they were given shares in Katz’s downtown business and residential condo project for support as part of the Oiler’s sale? They were after all, two of the first EIG members to be brought on board when Katz made the unsolicited offer to purchase the team. They were counted on to convince and pressure the other less willing members to sell the team to Katz. This is not a conspiracy theory, just putting 2 and 2 together for what are common corporate tactics. The flip side is that Saville truly believes that there are much better markets for a hockey team even though the NHL just reluctantly moved a team to Winnipeg with an undersized arena and a much weaker economy and smaller population.

    • Anyone find it convenient to criticize the Oilers and Katz every chance they get. The Oilers have been criticized since Katz took over because he didn’t do what fans wanted him to do. Fans wanted Katz to fire Lowe when he bought the team. Since Katz didn’t do it, he is now hated.

    • Karth

      Is there at point in that rant anything close to something resembling a fact? This isn’t a conspiracy theory but your very close to slander and deffemation. It’s bad when even when you use idle speculation your post was filled with words like ‘could’ and ‘may’. Go crawl back under your rock

      • wiseguy

        On a site for discussion, I would contend that my contribution closer resembles intelligent comment than you screaming out insults from the rafters. Is “deffemation” where you get out of your dress and pretend to be a man? You should try going under my rock sometime if that’s where you may learn af few things about civilized behaviour. I thought name calling and belittleling were things that we outgrew when we left junior high.

  • First off, this city needs a new arena. If you think that Rexall can be beautified with a makeover, you simply haven’t been to any other “major” arena in N. America. Add more seats, put in new tile, and a new coat of paint, and that concourse is still as wide as some CHL rinks. Never mind the “extras”. Having said that, I don’t believe Katz will move this team, if anything the EIG will reconvene and buy the team. You’d think that with the $60 SRO seats they’d be able to assemble a team that didn’t finish dead last.

  • wiseguy

    I wonder, if Katz got control over current Rexall and Northlands was ousted … would Katz care so much to build that Arena? Seems to me he just wants the control of an NHL arena more than anything.