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.

  • Rob...

    Saying Bob tip-toes around the possibility that Edmonton may lose the team was hopefully meant as a joke. I’ve flipped radio stations in disgust at least 10 times in the last month when Bob’s gone into fire and brimstone mode regarding that ‘possibility’.

    In my opinion, Bob’s approach to this issue is turning more people against Katz and he needs to have his choke-chain yanked hard.

    I do want a new arena deal done. I do want it to make sense for both sides and am of the opinion that if both sides are unhappy with final deal when they sign off on it, then it’s likely a fair deal instead of a one-sided theft. Right now, the latest Katz demands seems to be a total screwing of the taxpayer. That is unacceptable considering whose money is at stake.

    On a related note, when Katz bought the team I swear there was a promise of a Hockey Centre of Excellence or some such thing? Did I dream that or was something actually mentioned? I haven’t heard anything since that first month on the subject.

  • wiseguy

    I have come to the conclusion after reading blogs about this whole arena thing the past 41/2 years that there are a lot of people in Edmonton that are border line retarded. I don’t think they would be happy if Katz wrote them a cheque. They have no idea of the benefits of a professional hockey team in the city, all they care about is that not 1 cent of their tax money goes towards building this. Yet they don’t seem to mind that there tax dollars build libraries, museums, fund the arts, build roads and bridges, the government subsidizes Oil companies to the tune of billions of dollars, and pays for Healthcare, and education. Now how many of those things that are funded are really necessary or up front? You don’t think someone is making a pile of cash in those venues? So when Katz takes his Oilers and his 30 or more millionaires and leaves town, you can bitch about how big of a crap hole Edmonton has become, and trust me everyone living outside of the city won’t have a problem reminding you of it either.

    • wiseguy

      Oh very true, many things are subsidized and worth it.

      You’ve nailed it though, for too many, we just can’t lose the Oilers at any cost, I could use your label here to describe that but I’ll leave that for you

      I’m sorry I don’t think Edmonton will be a crap hole without NHL hockey, did you think that last lock out? Are you thinking about Edmonton in this lockout?

      So without the OILERS Edmonton is a craphole?

      Well, heck geez we better build it at all costs then LMAO

      • longbottom/P.Biglow

        Actually I am thinking if they move… to another city. The present arena is a crap hole all ready… my lord could they have put the seats any closer together? That and it is not in the nicest area of the city… even the area where they plan to put the new arena is not all the nice… so anything would help. My point is as a City Edmonton needs to be progressive, and the time they have taken to hammer this thing out is really embarrassing not only to the city administrators, but to the city itself. You have council members who really are in conflict of interest because they are on the Northlands board, so my question is are they really there for what is best for Edmonton or Northlands? This argument I keep hearing (none of my tax dollars for Katz) blows me away. Edmonton has to do something to improve downtown anyways (because at present it is a crap hole) So it is going to cost the taxpayers money to do something regardless. Edmonton direly needs a new arena (yes that one is a crap hole too!) so they can build a new one and get rid of 2 crap holes, or they can keep the crap holes, loose the Oilers, and then spend a whole bunch of tax payer money improving the down town area, subsidize Northlands with tax payer money and complain some more! Trust me Edmonton needs Katz more the Katz needs Edmonton. But thanks for your reply and have a great day!

        • First, yes, North lands area is a crap hole, always will be, but so are many stadiums in north america, they are in crap hole areas, it’s not pretty but it is what it is

          Rexall concourse could be widened, put in new seats for $250 mill a lot less than the city spending 400 mill +

          Yes, the negotiation is embarrassing, but assuming if one side is unreasonable, how do you negotiate?

          Yes, a couple of Councillors were in conflict of interest, I think that’s why Caterina left the board. But, Leibovici who supports this is in conflict of interest, her husband is a VP for Rexall, it goes both ways for both sides.

          Downtown is already building all over the place, just take a look, many, many projects are happening, and are too happen without the Arena, and the biggest ones are happening without the arena,

          And, No Edmonton doesn’t need Katz, period

          • Magnus

            You say that the existing concourse “could be widened” like that is a simple task.

            Do you have any idea how difficult that would be (before you ask me the same thing, yes, I actually do as a structural engineer)?

            Do you for one second think it could be accomplished between NHL seasons? Where are the Oilers going to play while this simple renovation is being constructed?

            How much of that $250 million you say it will cost is Katz going to chip in? I thin know all know the answer to that one…

          • You do know that there is more to this project than an arena… right? You can build a brand new arena for $250 mill so why would you want to renovate Rexall? You would stil have a 40 year old building… And who would pay for it? And just because there are arenas in other cities that are in crap holes, that makes it okay to have yours there? That is a very sad statement, and reflects what I said in my first blog.

  • Spartacus

    If I don’t like the manner in which Katz has negotiated this arena deal, I must be jealous?

    And if I’m against the war in Iraq, I must not be a patriot? I’ve seen this act before, I think they call it Dixie Chick-ing.

    Stop talking to me like I’m an idiot and show me how this deal is fair to the City of Edmonton.

    You don’t even have to show that it’s a good deal. Just show that it’s somehow fair, that the person who will profit from this venture also invests in it and assumes some of the risk.

    Katz claims that he’s losing money running the Oilers. Meanwhile, Oilers fans have supported this P.O.S. team religiously, selling out every game since he’s owned the club. Somehow, he can’t make money. If that’s true, it should be pretty easy to show your losses – not to the public, but to the City with which you’re negotiating – yet he chooses not to prove this easily vefifiable claim while begging for more public money to finance an arena for his team to play in. The reason for that? He’s a liar. Just ask Forbes.

    I have to think that even a chimp could turn a profit with an NHL team in this city. Here’s a suggestion for you Mr. Katz; do a better job of running your business.

    • The Soup Fascist

      … Ahhh but where would that chimp have gotten the original $218 million to buy the team – that is the question.

      The best part of your whole diatribe is giving business suggestions to Katz. How about some hockey tips for one Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, if you have the time?

      Thanks for the laugh. You went from merely ridiculous to sublime in a couple of paragraphs. Well done.

  • Spartacus

    Can we just get this done, people are acting like building a new arena is bad for the city, how about not having a hockey team, isn’t that bad for the city?

    • The Soup Fascist

      Truer words were never spoken.

      The city as a whole -all of us- look like a bunch of rubes with this endless soap opera. Sit down and hammer out an agreement suitable to the city and the owner of the Oilers, already. It’s not like there are 29 other funding agreement templates between NHL teams and municipalities to choose from. FRAC! Pick one!

      The facts are 1) A major professional sports team is good for a city. 2) This particular pro team needs a new venue. PERIOD. Rexall is a 40 year old dump. 3) A downtown arena will accelerate or initiate development in that area. 4) Taxpayers don’t want to get screwed – fair enough.

      Why are all city projects not under this public scrutiny? I am way more outraged when I am stuck in traffic watching large parts of the Anthony Henday, that is less than two years old, being torn up and redone, than I am over whether there is tile or stone in the sh!tters of the new building. I wish I had spent more time bitching on “Edmonton Art Gallery Nation” asking about the overages on that white elephant, that I have yet to visit.

      I am just so tired of the victim mentality and this whole outcry that if Katz makes a dime on this its terrible. Why? When does Katz get cheques from the city when the word “Edmonton” is flashed across the bottom of ESPN, TSN, FoxSports, MSG and countless other sports networks world-wide 82 (or fewer this year) nights a year?

      I laugh at the suggestion made above, that billionaires are all these wonderful public speakers and PR mensches. Steven Jobs (RIP) was a world class knob, try reading about Oracle founder Larry Ellison, I recall very few stirring presentations from Howard Hughes. Look no further than NHL kook Charles Wang and his arena hijinx this summer. Who cares if Katz didn’t make it to Toastmasters Wednesday nights?

      Bottom line is there is a deal to be made. City council / Katz group – shut up and make it. As every day passes we look more and more like Bug Tussle.

  • wiseguy

    Sadly, too many Edmontonians would rather lose the team than see Darryl Katz make money that “he doesn’t deserve.”

    The spinoffs from a new arena would be enormous to Edmonton. Oilers leave town = 100s of lost jobs. New arena gets built = 1000s of new jobs.
    If the Oilers pack up & leave, we will never get a new arena in any form without an anchor tenant. And if we do, it will be 100% straight out of taxpayers wallets.

    This is a reason why players don’t want to come to Edmonton to enjoy our small-town mentality.
    This jealousy and hatred towards wealth and success absolutely astounds me.

    • Spartacus

      Hi Blue31

      First, opposing this has nothing to do with JEALOUSY

      It comes down to balance, subsidizing a billionaire and giving him all the profits, with city taking on all the risks, so we can subsidize this farce is the rationale

      It has everything to do with fearing this might be a big financial mistake a white elephant

      There are countless of examples.

      And countless examples that suggested such projects would be a financial boon, and in the weren’t

      That’s not jealousy!

      Now if you’re right, and this is going to be a financial boon for the city, then as much as I hate the subsidy, I’m on board.

      But there’s no guarantee that will happen, you don’t know that and i don’t that!

      As a result, I think it’s foolish for the city to take on all the risk, and all for what, to subsidize pro sports?

      If it doesn’t make financial sense, then why bother! If it does, then full steam ahead!

      Regardless,the project still is missing 100 mill, and despite Mandel suggesting that money will come from MSI, Councillor Henderson who supports the original deal, says MSI will not be funding this, so we’re still 100 mill short.

  • Spartacus

    First off Bob Stauffer is a loyal employee and has to be, and he is a shill like it or not

    He lost all credibility when he suggested overpass’ on the Henday were made so mothers in the Southwest could go shopping! He was trying to point out we have no problem spending millions on roads, but then squawk about arena funding, I wonder why? LOL It’s called transportation. We drive cars etc

    As for Katz, he’s disingenuine in my eyes, says one thing does another, much like a politician

    Vor commenting on a story called “grace” at lowetide has an excellent breakdown of potential arena costs revenues, etc

    I used to think Katz purchase price was meaningless, but if he doesn’t move the team it really isn’t meaningless, he should expect a return on his investment, 5% per an um seems reasonable

    So, based on Vor’s calculations, assuming them to be accurate, Katz could make 28 mill in a good year or lose 10 mill in a year, depending on value of Canadian dollar, attendance etc

    My problem is when you consider what the City is paying for this project almost 400 mill or more TSN article: 320 mill + pedway 25 mill + transit station

    The city’s deal hinges on CRL working and we’re still missing a 100 mill!

    It seems Katz wants a guarantee ROI but what about the city, there’s no guarantee, we’ll even get province to pass CRL or that the CRL will pay off

    Now Katz wants more!

    The deal seems to rich already and frankly, I’d let the Oilers leave, there’s already a lockout and we whould all practice getting on with our lives than subsidize a billionaire and unproven millionaire hockey players

    Or the CRL is a boon and subsidizing these clowns is worth it, I pick the former

  • Spartacus

    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.

    This excerpt is particularly insulting. If you don’t like the deal, you’re just jealous. Really? That’s how you’re going to address that issue? What grade are you in, Mr. Saville.

    How can a billionaire owner not understand public relations? If you have the personality of a stone, hire someone to speak for you. Have that person speak your message clearly and without being insulting to the public.

    Daryl Katz saying, “My wife thinks I’m crazy, OK?” regarding money he’s allegedly spent on this project doesn’t suddenly make me think, “Oh, his wife thinks he’s crazy? Well, good enough for me. Give him everything he wants.”

    How about Daryl Katz actually contributes something to this deal? From what I’ve seen the man is every bit as much a liar as was Pocklington. Where’s your 100 million? Oh, it’s coming from future revenue from the building the City of Edmonton is going to build for you? Wonderful.

  • @ wiseguy

    I don’t know Katz, but I do have several friends and acquaintances who have ties to Saville and Nichols and I have never heard anything but positives about their character. Look at what these guys have done for our city so far and how they have put their money where their mouth is time and time again.

    To paint them as as greedy is plain silly. I was good friends with one of the EIG and believe me that at the time the $80 million purchase price was not a low risk investment for these individuals. There was every possibility (back when the canadian dollar was near 60 cents) that the Oilers could have turned into the Coyotes – a perennial money pit.

    Bruce Saville is as plugged in as anyone in this town and I think that he has earned the right to have his word taken at face value, so when he talks – we all would be wise to listen.

    Stauffer on the other hand, whether he’s right or wrong, is starting to sound like a carnival barker…

    • wiseguy


      I am certainly not painting anyone as greedy. I think very highly of Mr. Saville and Mr. Nicols. They are businessmen trying to build something they think is worthwhile for the city. Unfortunately for taxpayers, their project requires an arena as a centerpiece for development to differentiate it from the airport lands which will have an equally impressive development to compete with. This is all a land and development project, not an arena project. The city will benefit because of the increased tax revenues that the area will bring in. However, you have to be very careful with projected tax levies as the recent downsizing and postponement of the Century Park project has shown.

  • At the moment Katz has three areas that are interested in an NHL team.Seattle,Kansas city or Quebec City.
    In all three areas there is a building either being built or already there.The only problem is in every case the building is owned by another party and he would just be a tenant..
    If he really wants to run/own the building his best opportunity is Edmonton.

  • 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.

  • 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

    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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

    • 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”?

    • 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?)