Kevin Lowe: Edmonton Oilers “appreciate each and every fan”

After drawing some fire for heated comments made during the announcement of Criag MacTavish as general manager of the Oilers, club president Kevin Lowe issued a statement on Tuesday to clarify his remarks.

The key line:

First of all, we appreciate and are grateful to every one of our fans who cheer for us, through good times and bad. We understand that we see many of our fans at Rexall Place, but we have hundreds of thousands of fans that never get to Rexall Place. We appreciate each and every fan. I did not make that clear yesterday, and if I offended anyone, I apologize.

Lowe’s statement is undoubtedly intended to address the answer he made to a question from Edmonton Journal reporter John MacKinnon, where he appeared to differentiate fans into two types based on whether they attended the games at Rexall:

We have two types of fans: we have paying customers and we have people that watch the game that we still care about but certainly the people that go to the games and support we spend a lot of time talking to them, delivering our message.

Making the clarification is a good move by an organization that in recent years has sorely tested its fanbase – both with poor performances off the ice and contentious arena negotiations that saw the owner issue an apology for his bargaining tactics. 

This clarification doesn’t come close to the same tone as the letter – it’s an ‘if you were offended, I’m sorry’ semi-apology, but it’s also worth keeping in perspective what Lowe said originally. Naturally, any business will value the customer who pays more to a greater extent than the customer who pays less, and Lowe didn’t even go that far – he simply stated that the two types existed and they communicate more with one than the other.

I suspect, because of the tone and language used, that some won’t view Lowe or the team any more charitably now than they did immediately after the press conference. The problem is that the Oilers have been losing for a long time with Lowe, first in his latter years as general manager and over the entirety of his run as president, and because of that the team simply doesn’t get the same amount of slack that a winning organization would. The clarification was a good thing to do, even if it was a little lacking in execution, but ultimately what will make things right with the fanbase is capable leadership from the new general manager and wins on the ice.  

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  • Too bad that he doesn’t have any emotion in that clip.
    I didn’t think his comment was as bad as it sounds but this kind of forced apology doesn’t improve my opinion of him. He just needs to know when to keep his mouth shut.

  • Deep Oil

    Wow, great script – apology that Steve Hogle wrote for the foot in mouth media disaster.

    Jonathon, could you please explain me to how Kevin Lowe via his owner can ask for taxpayer money in regards to the new arena, then ignorantly discount the taxpayers investment into the team. Also, 60% of the revenue or more is generated via television, radio, sponsorship which banks on non paying fans watch the brand – ads on the medium.

    Sportsnet is taking KLOWE to task on his elitist attitude. I think his 6 cups as a player a blurring his judgement in management – what has he done for us off the ice ?

    So how can Kevin Lowe treat most of Edmonton like 4th class passengers on the Titanic ?

    As Mark Cuban has stated on other issues – MORE MEDIA TRAINING.

  • The Soup Fascist

    Not to pick nits, but do we really need to see a NY Rangers picture prominently displayed during an apology to Oilers fans?

    Look I have ZERO background in public relations and don’t pretend to be part of a “world class management team”. But you took heat for three things, Kevin:

    1) Alientating 99% of the fans of the Oilers

    2) Playing the “I have 6 Stanley Cup rings” card

    3) Bringing in more members of the Old boys club

    Do you REALLY need a picture of a rival NHL team, where you won YOUR 6th cup, playing on a team that included your new GM MacT in the background?

    Nitpicking – maybe. But, seriously shouldn’t a professional PR person or member of a “world class management team” be able to buy a clue?

  • In Lowe’s original comments, it seems he was trying to say that the Oilers are able to communicate more with season seat holders about the rebuild process, so those fans generally have more patience with that process.

    Of course he completely bungled it, but it seems like no one has tried to decode the bungling.

    • DSF

      Of course, the organization has the means to communicate with ALL fans as much as it decides it wants to.

      But having the means apparently doesn’t seem to have triggered the will to do so.

      Considering the team owner is currently asking its fans of all stripes and non-fans to buck up for a new arena, Lowe’s comments were much more than inappropriate and “passionate”.

    • book¡e

      I highly doubt that they have more patience. It’s just easier to rag on someone when you aren’t face to face with them. How often do we all talk trash about co-workers or “friends” behind their backs but once we’re face to face with them it’s all “everything’s okay, we all get along!”. It’s incredibly difficult to tell a bunch of guys in suits who you know are at a high management level how you really feel. I’d imagine it’s about as intimidating as telling your boss/manager how you actually feel about your company right to his face. Confrontation is uncomfortable as proven by Monday’s press conference when the Edmonton media actually pressed Lowe on some pressure point issues. I’d imagine the fans in the seats at Rexall feel the same as us. It’s just so easy for the rest of us to tear something down from in front of our keyboards or calling into the 630 CHED to complain, not so much with your mouth in a face to face.

  • mr_nihilism

    Glad to see that the calls by myself and others that he publically apologize have been acted upon.

    That said, the toothpaste is out of the tube. It’s pretty clear that what mr Lowe said at the GM announcement is what he really thinks, and that he is now towing the politically correct (and truly correct) line.

  • Spydyr

    Damage control.

    If the Oilers have a PR director they should follow Tambo out the door.

    If they don’t have a PR director, why not.

    Between Lowe and Katz someone is always saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.

  • #94 sized hole where my heart used to be...

    I would have liked more of an apology in his video, all he said was basically, “i screwed.. my bad.. but hey look at our shiny new managemanet regime” he could have easily cleared up his mistake by refrencing how they reach out to season seat holders via email to let them know the state of the franchise when they feel necessary and thats what he meant by “the fans that go to games” and that the heat of the moment made what he said come across differently.. not the best way to try to clear it up but i think thats better than the 2min he did give.. I just think that video isnt much of an apology.. just feels like an apology a parent forces out of their kid

  • DSF

    Good. Done. Now, steal a pg from Tamb and Katz and let MacT do the talking for you. Aside from Neely in Boston, how often do you hear Team Presidents talk, of 30 teams?
    Love Lowe, he just needs to check his emotion once in a while – it’s what got him into trouble as GM – telling the media (and thus other GMs) what the Oilers were looking for in trades and thus making it impossible for him to acquire lest he overpay.
    I don’t think for a second the interpretations of what he’s said are a reflection of what he’s really said. But he delivered them the way he did, and it’s time to lay low(e).

  • Eddie Edmonton

    I don’t blame Kevin Lowe for losing his cool. 90% of Oilers fans are dumb sheep. The sheep do not get their opinions and conclusions from watching the game or following the team. They get most of their opinions from following MSM and feminine men like MacKinnon and Spector.

    I thought opinions were like a$$holes and everybody had one, Not the case for the Oilers fan base.

    • This might be the stupidest comment I’ve ever seen on the site.

      I may disagree with 90% of the fanbase at some point in time, but “dumb sheep” is grossly unfair.

      I don’t particularly like Mark Spector, and I think he does a lot of bad work, but “feminine man”? Seriously?

      Also: if you don’t think there’s a range of opinion here, you clearly don’t spend enough time in the comments sections of sites like this one.

      • book¡e

        I agree with your critique of the style of the comment, but there is truth in the notion that the majority of the fans simply follow along with the common media theme of the day. Oilers Nation commentators are not representative of the masses. I am sometimes amazed at how many of the ‘fans’ I know simply repeat whatever the media fed them the week before.

      • Eddie Edmonton

        You and I know that was not the stupidest comment you’ve ever seen on the site.

        You communicated with 90% of the fanbase? Amazing. But, if they are not “dumb sheep”: what kind of sheep are they?

        90 might of been an exaggeration, but I wouldn’t go less than 40 for sure.

        Seriously. Spector spreads gossip in a negative whinny manner, I find that to be very feminine.

        I never said nothing about the range of opinion of the fans on this site.

          • Eddie Edmonton

            If anyone is to whine it should only be women.

            Many of those posters would probably agree and see things Spector’s way.

            MacKinnon was being a goo# and asking stupid questions to make a story out of. He mentioned on more than one occasion that he is asking on behalf of fans. I believe that is why Lowe drew the line between the fans. I believe he was throwing a jab at MacKinnon and the knowitall fans MacKinnon was representing: the ones who don’t attend or watch the game properly, they just Monday Morning Quarterback on blog sites.

          • If anyone is to whine it should only be women.

            You’re going to stick with that line after all? Nice.

            I believe he was throwing a jab at MacKinnon and the knowitall fans MacKinnon was representing: the ones who don’t attend or watch the game properly, they just Monday Morning Quarterback on blog sites.

            Funniest thing I’ve read in weeks. The idea of MacKinnon as the representative of the bloggers made me spit up the Delicious Dr. Popper I was drinking. That’s not a typo, I prefer my soft drinks imported and fake.

    • geoilersgist

      You realize that MacKinnon was the one who whipped out his pair and straight up asked KLowe how this management group was going to do more than the one that put the team in this position in the first place right?

      BAAAAAAAAA

  • Rob...

    It’s your move Mr. Katz. You can make this PR disaster go away by springing for the missing money in the Arena deal. We all know you’ve got the money, and that you’ll get the investment money back in profits over the next 30 years.

  • outdoorzguy

    i think kevin lowes definition of world class management team might be slightly different than mine. unless of course his definition is a group of men who fail at their job repeatedly.

    stay down lowe. every time you make a move you put your idiocy on display.

  • reaperfunkss

    Apology rejected you arrogant pompous ass. This apology seemed more intent on selling us on a failed regime. We may now officially be the Islanders. Saddest era in Oiler management history?

  • Isn’t the real problem with Lowe’s comment that he implies that fans who are not season ticket holders don’t understand what the team is doing–and that he uses that idea to defend his decisions against criticism? His point seemed to be that all the people who are fed up with the boys on the bus just don’t know what they’re talking about. It demonstrates just how delusional the team really is in terms of it’s self-assessment and its understanding of its image.

  • Someone at Rexall sports msust have recognized that Lowe is making a fool of himself and Katz’ corporation. He has to go. I think he will be forced to retire quietly. They won’t want to fire him fearing some splashback. But in my view no one is buying this ham-handed approach to Lowe’s continual blunders and gaffes.

    Note to Katz: hire a president who has more than a high school education next time.

  • book¡e

    The Edmonton Oilers have two types of fans.

    1. Those who don’t sweat the small stuff and who don’t have comprehension problems.

    2. Those who yearn to be victims, who twist statements to enhance their sense of victimization, and who obsess over the hidden meaning of pictures on the wall.

    Don’t cry for me Argentina!

    • The Soup Fascist

      Not sure why you assume I am a victim because I think it is poor form and plain old dumb to address customers with a portrait depicting a direct competitor in the background. PR and common sense 101.

      In actuality, I am a “Class A” patron ( Masters was great this year) who thought his publicly placing season ticket holders above others was also dumb. Especially when I make up the vast minority of his fan base. But I am curious about your business acumen that would lead you to believe any of his performance on Monday exuded calm, competent leadership.

      • book¡e

        Sorry, I forgot you were easily offended. I should have gentler in pointing out how easily offended you are.

        More seriously, where did I say anything about calm, competent leadership? What I mentioned was how offended some fans are about the ‘two types of fans’ comment which was pretty innocuous.

        • The Soup Fascist

          Ok. Taking personalities out of it – here is the issue, IMO. The emotional comments by KLowe ( misconstrued or not ) on Monday are a microcosm of his problems as a leader.

          As a player, the bulk of us liked KLowe. Why? Primarily because of his emotion and passion. Why was he viewed as a “bright young coach” in his brief tenure as a head coach? Emotion and passion. What makes him a poor GM / president? His inability to control his emotion and passion.

          The minute you are unable to make business decisions free of emotion – you are dead. The Handling of the Pronger / Souray departures – emotional. Holding out for a petty cash payback that quashed the Comrie for Perry deal – emotion. The spat with Burke – emotion.

          What made Lowe a great player is his biggest handicap as a manager / leader of a business. Mondays missteps were a symptom of this missplaced emotion. I am sorry you can’t see that.

          • book¡e

            I agree with everything you said with the exception of your last sentance.

            It is possible to understand that Lowe is a bad manager and that the meaning of his statement regarding two types of fans was not a slam on those without seasons tickets. He said they care about all of their fans but make an extra effort to communicate with season ticket holders. Now half Edmonton are running around as though they were just martyred.

          • book¡e

            But for every season ticket holder, there 10 or 20 fans that do not have season tickets.

            I am a season ticket holder and quite honestly my opinion shouldn’t matter anymore or anyless than someone who doesn’t have season tickets.

            And another thing to consider about season ticket holders is that a large portion of them are corporate businesses that may not necessarily gives a rats ass about the success of the team.

          • StHenriOilBomb

            Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does. Everyone in Montreal is important to my business (a little pool hall / bar), and those who live in the area are even more important. I will do my best to keep those folks happy, but really, the people who come and pay for table time, buy beers, and create an atmosphere that I can market are the ones who’s opinion really matters to me. EVEN within those folks, the regulars who are there five times every week pay my rent and my salary, and for them I will do just about anything.

            Maybe their opinion shouldn’t mean more, but it certainly does.

            Your final sentence is just one more reason that the Oilers can lose forever and be okay. The curse of a Canadian hockey city.

          • Supernova

            It does matter, what position where the Oilers in when the could only fill the barn to 60 or 70 percent capacity in the late 90’s.

            Paying Customers matter immensely, especially in the NHL model of seat sales. Should it have been said or even implied absolutely not. It also sucks hearing that you are less important then someone else.

            This is also where the NHL and the Oilers struggle. There is huge value in terms of reaching out to the non-season ticker holder. The NFL is a prime example of this. Well we all know that their season and set-up is entirely different, the other biggest difference is how they market to the non-ticket holder fan.

            Whether it be through Paraphernalia or Website sales or Tailgating, there marketing blows away the other leagues. The Oilers have learned this to some degree but they need to do a better job of getting these non-ticker holders to “own” and then “buy” being a fan.

          • The Soup Fascist

            Ok. So two last things. I have met Kevin Lowe several times. He does not have horns, is a nice guy and genuinely cares for the team and community.

            That notwithstanding two things you see as trivial concern me. As a shareholder of GM if I see the CEO videoconferencing a bunch of shareholders with a picture of a Mustang on the wall, I question his decision making. Also, as manager in my job there are people who work for me whose opinions I value more than others for various reasons. I don’t tell the others that their opinions mean less – even though in my mind they really do at times. It would demotivating and dumb.

            My point was not that anyone should feel victimized but it is fair ball to question Lowe’s decision making. Feel free to disagree.

          • As a shareholder of GM if I see the CEO videoconferencing a bunch of shareholders with a picture of a Mustang on the wall, I question his decision making.

            Try again. This one is not analogous.

            there are people who work for me whose opinions I value more than others for various reasons. I don’t tell the others that their opinions mean less – even though in my mind they really do at times. It would demotivating and dumb.

            Also not remotely analogous. I’d also question how you made the leap from “makes extra affort to communicate with A” to “B has opinions that don’t matter”. It doesn’t follow.

          • The Soup Fascist

            Because you say it isn’t ? If Lowe is representing the Oilers brand, addressing customers of the Oilers, I think it could be considered disrespectful to fly the brand of a competitor. You don’t. Fine.

            Lowe’s clear message on Monday was all fans are equal, just some are more equal than others. I agree that in practical terms he has the right to believe this and act on it. My point is why in a self-admitted emotional time would you stress that point, when it alienates many you are addressing?

            In either case, I just question the decision making employed. Despite any misgivings I have about the teams current state or Lowes performance I will continue to support the team and buy season tickets.

            I have my views on his professionalism and intent. You have yours. Clearly this is a somewhat polarizing issue. You don’t like my thought processes. No problem. Apply your own, such as they are.

            I understand there are a lot of raw nerves given the collapse we have witnessed as fans this year and the long absence from the post-season. If there is some uber-sensitivities among the masses, I think it is understandable. This management is under the microscope and they should be IMO. At the end of the day I hope MacT is very successful and makes Lowe’s decision look brilliant. Nothing would make me happier.

          • No. Because logic says so. Your comments were not analogous. My saying so is irrelevant.

            I also never addressed whether or not it was or was not respectful (nor if that even matters), I merely pointed out that your analogies did not fit.

            I have no idea how you presume to have determined my opinion on ANY matter based on my response to your comments.

            I will, however, point out that he did not say, nor even imply, there are some fans “more equal”, he said there are some fans with whom they communicate regularly.

            What is your idea for communicating with ALL Oilers fans regularly? A nationwide referendum with local radio ads in every jurisdiction announcing local polling stations before major decisions? Perhaps they can send out mailers to anyone wearing a jersey? What do you have in mind?

          • The Soup Fascist

            You are missing the point totally. If you don’t care for my analogies I will live with that burden.

            My only expectation of communications from the Oilers is to tell me how much I owe and how they are getting the tickets to me. Everyone else’s expectation is their own business and they can pass them on to the organization as they see fit. .

            My whole point is I thought it was dumb to publicly segregate fans. Some would give a rat’s ass and some would be offended. Clearly that is the case. If you think there was a value to Lowe making the statement – wonderful. That would indicate that you are clearly more plugged into the management strategy of the gentleman than I. Kudos.

          • The Soup Fascist

            Ok TUG all BS aside. Answer one question and I will shut up. What was the purpose of Lowe’s statement noted above in the article? The “We have two types of fans ……” quote.

            I just want to know one positive aspect that came out or could have expected to have resulted from making that statement?

            For the life of me I can’t find one.

          • The Soup Fascist

            It was a simple question – but one that you either can’t or won’t answer. However, that is your prerogative.

            But I think we both know why you won’t address it – don’t we??

          • The Soup Fascist

            Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive ….and Dodge.

            You are finally right about something, this is stupid.

            Here you go …answer it / don’t answer it. I really don’t care anymore:

            Was it or was it not monumentally dumb for Lowe to make the statement he did on Monday, which clearly marginalized some fans?

            There you go Skippy. I can’t make it any simpler than that. The question is not whether or not YOU believe they should feel marginalized. Clearly, the guy in post 116 and many others feel shunned. That is not the debate. This will be my last post on the subject – Thank God.

            EDIT: No it wasn’t

          • Was it or was it not monumentally dumb for Lowe to make the statement he did on Monday, which clearly marginalized some fans?

            This is not even the same question you asked before, which was:

            I just want to know one positive aspect that came out or could have expected to have resulted from making that statement?

            and hilariously neither one has anything do do with the comments I responded to in the first place. You then followed up with:

            The question is not whether or not YOU believe they should feel marginalized.

            In this you are correct. This is not a question anyone has asked either. If nothing else you are consistent in your inconsistency.

            I keep wondering; if you go far enough off point will you eventually circle all the way back around to being on point? Don’t stop now or I’ll never know.

          • The Soup Fascist

            I kept asking the same question different ways in the hope you may eventually man up and answer it, should it be framed to your liking. Obviously this is not the case – as you still refuse to do so.

            Getting you to answer a direct question is like nailing jello to a wall.

            Good Luck in you career as an ambulance chaser or politician, I have not been able to discern which of the two careers you were forced to pursue after flunking out of barber college.

          • Those are not the same question asked differently. Those are distinct questions with distinct answers.

            You first question was essentially a demand I point out what was positive about the comments.

            Here was my response:

            Before asking me a question like that would you mind showing me where anyone said anything about a “positive aspect”?

            Why would you ask me to defend a position nobody has taken?

            Please explain how “nobody thinks it was positive” avoided the question.

            The problem is that your questions have nothing to do with your original comments or my response to them.

            You claimed that Tambo essentially claimed certain fans were more important, and I pointed out that what he actually said was that there were certain fans he communicated with regularly.

            If you can explain how this relates to “what was positive?” or how you claim to have gleaned anything about my opinion from this I would appreciate it.

            I really don’t understand this. NONE OF YOUR QUESTION ARE RELEVANT in the least. We were discussing the meaning of his statement and you want to question me about whether or not it was positive or smart or black or white and none of that has anything to do with what it was that he actually said.

    • wiseguy

      There is a 3rd type of fan, those who are not really offended by Lowe but have seen him as the reason this franchise has failed for many years. Finally, smelling blood, we are piling on to criticize every misstep by Lowe including what pictures he’s hanging on his wall, to see if we can finally push him off his pedestal.

      • wiseguy

        People complaining about Lowe are like those complaining about the snow in Edmonton. Get over it. Its part of life here.

        People need to get over it or move on. Move to a new city, pick a new team to cheer for, or just quit b1tching.

        The never ending Lowe talk is only marginally less annoying than streams of people complaining about Edmonton weather on Facebook.

        BRRR its cold. I hate the snow. This sucks. And my favorite… the people who then complain about it being too hot when it hits 29 degrees one day in July for 1 hour.

    • wiseguy

      There is a 3rd type of fan, those who are not really offended by Lowe but have seen him as the reason this franchise has failed for many years. Finally, smelling blood, we are piling on to criticize every misstep by Lowe including what pictures he’s hanging on his wall, to see if we can finally push him off his pedestal.

  • A big fail on the sincerity meter. Plus a bit more of” What I said was this.. What I meant to say was …..”

    He says he cares about all Oiler fans. A little elaboration on how that might be manifest or preceived, just so I can pay attention the next time “caring” happens.

    While I have been a vocal supporter of Tambellini’s rebuild plan, one of the places he had serious failures was communicating the stages of the rebuild and where in the rebuild he thought we were at. Quarterly reports would have been appropriate.

    Oh well back to the same old, same old.

  • Also that was hilarious from Lower. He looked like he was being held hostage by the ego police and forced to apologize for his d-baggery. Completely the opposite of his inflammatory comments in that they seemed 100% insincere, he actually showed tons of passion in his statement about his cups and being a “wiener”, sorry winner. Freudian slip.