KATZ GETS IT RIGHT

Daryl Katz got it right today, and I believe Edmonton Oiler fans will be very pleased with his latest action.

 

THE BACK STORY

Many of us who are pro-Katz just couldn’t understand the actions of recent weeks. Although it is understandable that frustration sets in, and it is reasonable to expect an empire builder to push for the best possible deal, the one thing I felt Katz would not do is threaten the fanbase. God knows he’s old enough to remember the past scares, and Edmonton does in fact have a fragile ego when it comes to keeping their beloved Oilers.

Earned or unearned, someone my age will always have the value of the Canadian dollar, the age of the rink, and the wealth of the owner in the back of our minds. It is a complete fact: we’re Edmonton, good and bad.

 

THE APOLOGY

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

I think it’s a huge step, but we’ll see in the coming days. Katz tells us his thought process and then perhaps gives us an idea about the next step. I keep wondering if the Oilers and the city will engage the fanbase ala the Saskatchewan Roughriders, who use community based fundraising on a large scale.

Could the Oilers and the city come up with a few ideas to help with the cost? How much would you pay to sit next to Gretzky while watching a Seahawks game? Personally, I’d plunk down enough coin to get my wife very upset in order to have lunch with Stu MacGregor.

Maybe that’s a silly idea, maybe it isn’t. However, the Katz letter gives us all an opportunity for a new start.

And once again to learn the freedom and power of forgiveness. I believe Daryl Katz will be shocked by the reaction.

So give me hope in the darkness that I will see the light
Cause oh that gave me such a fright
But I will hold on with all of my might
Just promise me that we’ll be alright
The ghosts that we knew will flicker from you
And we’ll live a long life

  • paul wodehouse

    Good cop. Bad cop? The guy or his pr firm are such losers.

    Pretty much the same way they run their franchise. That’s why Lowe et al are still there. LOL

  • Magnetman

    This is the first sign of ANYONE in the NHL community giving even a tiny tinkers damn about what Joe Fan thinks, wants and feels. I’m encouraged and such a move could cause me to rethink leaving the NHL and NHLPA out in the cold.

  • BK

    Very smart and humble move. I would suggest the media campaign will begin by giving perspective on how deals like this have and can work. His point of educating consumers is VERY important.

  • Well, Mr. Katz, I feel like you had a huge bonfire and burned up a lot of good will. Loyal fans have paid a lot of money (apparently the fourth highest prices in the league) to fill Rexall Place and watch, for the most part, a lot of disappointing hockey. Now, as the future finally starts to look more promising, you pull this stunt and hit us with a threat. I will reserve my judgement and watch with interest what you do in the next few months. You have my money again this year. In the past I have renewed without thinking twice. As of now, I have lost a hell of a lot of enthusiasm for the game and “your” team. My future financial support of “your” team will no longer be automatic. I will think through my decision much more critically when I get the renewal notice. By the way, I think City Council gave you a good deal last October.

    • Jenga

      Ditto. I even, stupidly, put down my money when the season looks in doubt. I hope I feel the 4% return was worth it. This was a small step. The next step would be to bring in some community builders as advisers instead of the a-hole yes men Katz has surrounded himself with. Robert Black was well known as being an ass in private practice and he is proving himself an ass in his role heading the arena group. These guys are too used to negotiating everything from the power position (franchisees tend to have limited bargaining strength) and are approaching the arena and the city as if this was just any other negotiation. Today was the first acknowledgment that there are other stakeholders and that maybe Katz needs to recognize and consider ALL of the interests in this deal, not only his.
      As for his apology for not being more out front, fine, that’s what you hire a good, respected, mouthpiece for. Not some guy that fires off threatening press releases in the middle of the night, but a guy that can stand out front and explain your position.
      Katz, the ball is in your court. A deal us there to be made but I question whether you have the guys in place to help you make it.

  • Now THAT is one hell of an owner. Loud, long, standing O for the man. THAT is integrity coming through after 4+ long years of dealing with ownership/shareholder level issues that have gotten him nowhere, leaving him likely questioning everything, and extremely frustrated – which is human. And this is why PLAYERS are not to ever be confused with owner/shareholders, much less partners – they simply don’t have to spend their time dealing with this level of detail just to provide a place for the game to be played in the first place. There are clear levels of responsibilities and accountabilities between shareholder, management, and employees, and this is why the players are not partners, they are employee/contractor level in the grand scheme.
    Congrats to Daryl. Let’s see if anyone on city council has that level of integrity (the Mayor does, certainly). More to the point, will everyone be able to show humility in order to better the city?

  • The Soup Fascist

    You had me at ” … Oilers fans Everywhere”, Daryl, you had me at “Oilers fans everywhere”.

    At the end of the day we need an arena deal. With all the CBA crap and the NHL’s / PA obvious disdain for the fan, I agree with Magnetman. We have been kicked to the curb so much lately any tidbit of acknowledgement, sincere or strategic, is welcomed.

    One thing is interesting, not a hint of an apology to mayor or council. Obviously, he still feels wronged by the leaks.

    Get a deal done!

    I like the fishnets better too. I am so shallow.

  • Get outta here, Katz. Edmonton doesn’t NEED any sports team. Do we like to have one? Yeah, sure. But the Oilers need Edmonton a lot more than we need the Oilers, the worst NHL team since the lockout.

    Beyond that, you aren’t just looking for a fair deal. You’re looking to be paid generously for the privilege of making tons of money downtown.

    And, in closing, there shouldn’t have been any confidential information. Public money should mean a public deal.

  • ubermiguel

    Apology accepted. It’s not easy for a private guy like Katz to publicly admit his errors and short-comings. He still lost a lot of trust and will need to earn it back.

    • Smyth94ever

      Yes it surely was, It was also both out of character for him and a necessary/overdue honesty at this point. I, like you, have always trusted and supported Katz’s loyalty to yeg and the Oilers, thus have kept my mouth shut on the recent going’s on. I STILL believe he will do everything in his power to ensure we have our beloved Oilers for my grandchildren to watch. Anything less is unthinkable to me. Having said that…

      “THIS is now where the rubber hits the road.”

      Get it done, boys. Get it done.

  • RexLibris

    I’ll agree with BK above.

    The NHL could learn something from at least an appearance of contrition.

    I’m old enough to know a public relations campaign when I see one. And certainly this sounds like the product of some committee consultation.

    Be that as it may, the fact that the letter was crafted and published at all speaks volumes about a group (Rexall Sports and the Katz Group) willing to eat a little crow.

    I think we are too quick to discount this type of letter as “merely a PR stunt”. Of course it is. It attempts to alter the public perception of a group because to a great degree that is their stock in trade.

    Just as we all behave a certain way in company or around those we like, admire, or wish to impress, so this too is in the same family of action.

    Our reputations are extremely important to all of us. While their interests are corporate and financial, we shouldn’t be entirely dismissive of the Katz group’s sentiments in this regard.

    I don’t blame Daryl Katz for being reclusive. Heck, I write under a pseudonym and am somewhat less publicly involved (and less wealthy) than he.

    He does need to engage the public more, and do it sincerely? Yes. But if we as a fan base are so willing to eviscerate Shawn Horcoff for perceived shortcomings I can only imagine what harsh words wait for an owner.

    If he pulls another stunt like this his reputation may never recover. I only hope that if one of his advisers suggested he go to Seattle, that that person is equally contrite.

    It was a really stupid move.

  • RexLibris

    Apology accepted. Mr. Katz, I would strongly recommend that you consider those folks who work for you in Katz Group to see if they are making your life better or worse. Like any corporation, much of the owner’s vision and values can be either enhanced or destroyed based on the management team’s philosophy. For example, who in their right mind would advise you to even hint that the Oilers could be leaving Edmonton in the middle of this lockout, given the mood of the NHL fan base??? Must be a someone with a shiny new degree and a license to “know-it-all” rather than someone who’s been around the block.

    • RexLibris

      When people’s families were being sent to gulags or executed in the Soviet Union, the people would write letters to Stalin, because Stalin was such a good guy and he was only misled by his advisors.

      Nobody held a gun to Katz’s head and told him to sucker Gretzky into a meeting in Seattle while starting an “Oilers are gonna move” campaign online, on TV, and in print.

  • paul wodehouse

    good lord BlackJack…a little over the top with the Stalin/Gulag references no? … why not drop an ‘O.J. didn’t murder anyone’ blast while you’re at it…and the ‘sucker Gretzky’ vomit you keenly mention …Gretzky doesn’t get suckered by anyone, not Katz not Kevin not LeForge…this crew does NOT roll that way…the only one that’s getting suckered is you…stay calm big guy it’ll all get worked out …especially now that Katz has actually said he has a “personal shortcoming” and apologizes for it … at Lowtides’ blog you say you choose your words carefully …why don’t you do that here ?

    • Mike Modano's Dog

      I wasn’t comparing Katz to Stalin.

      I was pointing out that people tend to pin the blame on “advisors” when they’re emotionally invested in a situation where leadership is against them but they don’t want to see it.

  • Petr's Jofa

    Love the letter. He didn’t try and make excuses or blame the media for misrepresenting why he was in Seattle. He admitted he was trying to send a message and failed… Huge props for Batman

  • paul wodehouse

    There has already been a change of dynamic management within the Katz Group,and I believe it has happened directly because of Daryls sincere intentions being priorised over and above dealmaking dynamics represented by the Katz Group as an entity.

    I see a true leader stepping up to the plate,a side of Katz that reflects his personality not his business face,I see loyalty.I see a man who believes in this city and who plans on supporting this city by investing here through the Oilers and other conduits.

    I see a man who CARES what Edmontonians think and feel,there was no PR upside to that Apology,that was obviously catalysed by Daryl himself against the advice of a PR firm.That was called stepping up,not back,and this is what leaders do,and it is now seen to be a core value of Katzs personality,this is why he is where he is today,he is not afraid to put people before dollars which is exactly what he has done,he has made a statment that reflects his Personal feelings–that Edmontonians and Oilers fans are people first–not money machines.That was the Man talking—not the Businessman selling.I respect and support that.In fact I will defend that.
    When I heard Mark Messiers comments about him knowing Daryl here since they were kids I immediatly recognised the endorsment Mark was giving Katz.Messier doesnt sell out.He doesnt sell either,he simply STATES.
    I foresee an expedient pending action that will make everyone focus on Edmontons Growth and Economic health materialising very very soon,this City is Proud and very well represented civicly,and we WILL respond in the Proper manner to this definitive statment,we WILL galvanise as Edmonton and its leaders always have,at the right time which seems to be now.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    What is it with this guy. Billionaires don’t run their PR department on the back of a Denny’s napkin. Something’s wrong with this picture.

    If the city is going to get into bed with this guy, a credit check along with some references may be in order. This is the least that should be done if he’s coming to City Hall with his hands out. If he’s going to stall things and throw it back in the faces of council, then it’s time for Edmonton to make him jump through a few more hoops. Let him see how the real world works.

    How much of his 2.4 billion dollar net worth does he actually own? Maybe we’re only dealing with another millionaire here, not some actual billionaire. We best have Katz sign a prenup on this deal. Somethings wrong with this picture. Just another pre-scripted half arsed attempt to move things along. Is this guy even capable of a open forum nonscripted response?

    • Quicksilver ballet

      The wind just kinda pushed me in that direction Paul.

      Sandbagging a great deal (last Octobers) to get an even better one. With his 6 mill per operation compensation from the city, he won’t need to use a dime of his own money. How much risk is there really when he’s operating an NHL franchise in Canada.

      Doesn’t look like an appology to me. Looks like he’s just defending his actions to date.

  • paul wodehouse

    The Dark Knight Rises? Nice apology, completely unexpected and completely necessary. For those of you who have too much pride to ever apologize or admit fault, you will be the ones who don’t accept this letter and move on. Oh, and taking your season ticket holder ‘status’ for granted isn’t a good way to convince the rest of us that your attitude towards Katz is more valid.