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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  • WOW.

    Alberta NHL teams are knocking it out of the park this year huh?

    If you are going to issue an “apology” at least take the time to present a product worthy of the perceived transgression.

    World class……. meh.

    M I C….. K.E.Y>> MOU.SE

  • Zamboni Driver

    I think this is a totally fine apology.

    I use it all the time on my wife.

    If you took it the wrong way when I said your friend has great cans.

    THEN I’m sorry.”

    It is a perfectly reasonable apology, and works every time.

  • Sounds like most are more worried about Lowe being too intrusive , meddling and vetoeing MacT. moves . Lowe’s credibility among a lot of fans , is far worse than i imagined . Culture change artificial being it’s the boys club ? MacT. i hope will change that despite Lowe .

  • book¡e

    I’m good with the apology. Seems I’ve found myself with my foot in my mouth several times in emotional moments, leading to apologies to the people I love most. So, it’s cool.

    I live in Saskatchewan, and I don’t get to Rexall very often, so for sure, I understand that from a business perspective, I am not as valuable to the Oilers as a season-ticket holder who buys drinks and food at 41 games per season. That’s reality. All fans are equal, but some are more equal than others. Just like there are 23 spots on the roster, but some are more valuable to the team than others.

    On that note… I’ll be even happier when they fix the roster and win! Watching on TV or at Rexall, a good thumping of the Canucks or Flames makes me happy.

  • book¡e

    Nice office chair KLowe! I’m sitting in the exact same one, Costco is great isn’t it? Also, looks like your desk and shelving is from the Source Office Furniture. Man we could be like twins!

    Oh, were you saying something Kevin? I don’t bother with what you say until your face turns beat red and you give a death stare.

    If that’s ever a concern, that is.

  • paul wodehouse

    …all this gnashing of teeth…chrikey he only said there are two types of fans … one type that spends big money and another that spends huge money…wtf boys and that odd girl out there … i’m with book!e…(and how do you make that exclamation mark go upside down)…why play being the victim ???

    dithers is gone…MacT is here to save the day

  • james_dean

    i slammed kevin lowe pretty hard for his comments the other day. so i’d lito say thanks for manning up kevin, apology accepted, now it’s time to let it go. look guys lowe, howsen and mact all know they screwed up in the past, do you honestly belive they want this team to fail? like it or not this is the managment team were stuck with for the forseeable future. kevin, craig and scott try and keep us in the loop spend time giving detailed explanations of time lines, why your doing the thinfs your doing and why your not doing other things, i understand you can’t talk about players under contract, but you can do a beter job of keeping your fans in the loop.

  • The Soup Fascist

    Cheers to Lowe for the apology. It’s something I don’t recall ever hearing from the Oiler organization before.

    I think I get what he was trying to communicate and there was no insult there. Season ticket holders that kick in thousands of dollars are very important in keep the Edmonton franchise viable. I appreciate that and they do deserve some recognition the team. Particular since there hasn’t been much for hockey to watch these past few years.

    I was great to hear the question from McKinnon. I hope he doesn’t get blackballed by the Oilers, and that he gets recognition. We need more reporters asking these questions.

    Lowe, MacT and Howson – I hope they’ve learned from their mistakes in the past and we see a turn around in the near future.

    Some of the slate has been cleaned going forward.

  • book¡e

    I’m surprised anyone is making this into a big deal.

    In a business, paying customers will be treated differently than non-paying customers… Duh?!

    Would you like Lowe to speak his mind and speak with emotion (in which case you’ll have to take his words with a grain of salt) – or would you like him to talk like a public relations robot?

    (PS. I’m in the non-paying customer category. My contribution is in my cable bill and maybe 2 games a year at Rexall)

    • 5 Cups

      COMPLETELY agree. For 5 years we complained about Tambo and his pointless blathering about nothing in response to every question (if we were lucky enough to even hear from him at all).

      We get a bit of emotion and fire and people are upset. Personally I like it. I wish Lowe had starting throwing things and gone totally WWE. Better to see someone get fired up and maybe say something dumb (gasp) than get the same old ramblings about patience.

      GET OVER IT already.

      In MacT we trust.

  • _Bubba

    Hmmm.
    First let me say i like mac t….
    However, . Kevin should know better than to throw fans under the bus and even suggest there are two types of fans.. I guess i am second class. Here’s what kind of fani am. I work 5 days a week. I watch every game on tv. I buy oilers merchandise and sip my morning coffee from an oilers mug while making toast in my oilers toaster and looking at the oilers jersey hanging on my wAll.
    Once or twice a season i can afford the time to cough up a few hundred to take my wife or son to a game.
    Apparently, i am a second class fan?
    Tv viewing and merchandise counts for nothing?
    I would guess that occasional attendence slobs like me have done lots to sell out every game for the last 6 losing seasons. I would also guess that without the revenues generated by the rest of us watching games on tv the oilers would be in a grim position. But hey. Thanks for the half assed apology…
    Ill still be watching next year….but maybe with zome skepticism..

  • Quicksilver ballet

    The appology is fine and all for those who needed it. What i’m worried about is, still, after almost 15 yrs, is his inability to separate his emotions while doing his job. How much longer is he going to let it get in the way of helping make his team a better hockey club. I hope MacT is smart enough to push Lowe to the backburner without Kevin even knowing it. He still struggles with the straight forward issues in dealing with the media.

    • Romanus

      I am hopefull for Mac t as well. He is a smart man. He has already said more in 2 days than tambo did his whole tenure. Tambo spoke a lot of words but never actually said anything.

  • The Real Scuba Steve

    Sensitivity is at an all-time high amongst Oilers fans right now. I am fed up and I know that a lot of other fans are sick and tired of losing. Lowe has been there the whole time so he won’t get any slack from most fans, nor should he. It’s a results oriented business and as Mactavish said, actions will speak louder than words could ever hope to. Lowe should leave the talking to Mactavish from now on.

  • Bucknuck

    Good of Lowe to Man up. I think his comments were taken differently than he intended, but as public speaker you should never generalize ANY kind of people into “types”. It invariably pisses people off. It was a dumb move, and I am sure he took heat over it. Good.

    Now lets please move on.

  • Micbilly99

    I strongly believe that Kevin Lowe showed his true colors during the press conference. He doesn’t like getting questioned on his record as a General Manager or as the President. So when he does get questioned, he turns to what made him a tough hockey player to play against…a bully. He tried unsuccessfully to bully the reporter that asked the question every Edmontonian wanted asked, “you caused the problem, why should Oiler fans believe you can fix the problem?” Lowe reacted by getting angry and pulling out the fact that he won 6 Stanely Cups as a player. The fact remains, that under Lowes leadership the Oilers have not made the playoff in 7 years regardless of how many Cups he won as a player. Good players, even great players fail as executives. Just look at Michael Jordan’s record and he is the best basketball player to ever play the game.

  • D'oh-ilers

    If Lowe was trying to offend me on Monday, he failed miserably. Maybe if he’d said something about the mothers of non-ticket holders being barnyard animals, followed by him grabbing his crotch, staring deep into the cameras screaming “Suck it!” it may have ruffled my feathers.

    His detractors got from it what they wanted to hear. Personally, I’m more annoyed by the people who tried making it into a bigger deal than it was, especially the ones still going on about it 2 days later. Your two hobbies are watching sports, and whining, duly noted.

  • Cost of the numerous Oiler Jerseys and other paraphenalia for me and my kids = $1000’s

    Cost of TVs, Cable, NHL package to watch the Oilers = $1000’s

    Cost of the occaisional Oiler game with my kids (not season tickets) = $500 per game

    Kevin Lowe calling me a second tier fan = PRICELESS

  • Keep KLowe away from an open mic. Keep him away from managing anything. Great defenceman but a lousy hockey manager. Let him be the conduit to Katz as he said his job is but for Gods sake, keep him out of the “kitchen”.

    Let MacT do his job.

  • Supernova

    As I said yesterday before this apology.

    When public figures make statements the rule of thumb is the first statement is the truth, the apology is politics.

    Lowe your not fooling anyone, well maybe yourself.

  • The Soup Fascist

    Sorry Mr.Lowe. I haven’t made it down to Rexall this season. I’ve been in Afghanistan fighting for your freedom. No hard feelings. I’ll stop wearing my Oilers jersey around the barracks so that no one confuses me with a “REAL” Oilers fan. Oh… and by the way that was some of the most heartfelt sincere reading I’ve ever seen!

  • The Soup Fascist

    I’m not sure if you work for the organization or not but quite frankly the fans do have a say in this. Without people the teams and players would be playing in front of empty arenas and it would be beer league hockey because without fans sponsors and advertising would all fade away. Fans pay for tickets to provide revenue for the club, and food/drinks to provide revenue for the arenas so they can continue operation. Not to mention the so called whiners/women which is offensive in itself because you are using the fairer sex as an insult ,which means they probably won’t come near you with a ten foot pole, pay for concert tickets and event tickets like for curling and the rodeos etc. that also provides all the revenue for the arenas so the players have a nice facility to play in. Without fans pro sports don’t exist and these lucky and very hardworking athletes don’t have the ability to play a game for millions of dollars. We are all allowed to express our disappointment and if you don’t want to hear it don’t come on these sites. No one is forcing you to read these posts. I’m aware some statements made out there and on 630CHED are at times hasty remarks and not well thought out but that’s because of pure frustration with a team we love and a game we eat and breathe.

    Furthermore the questions asked by MacKinnon were valid. This trio was in a different paradigm from 2001-2009 but they were responsible for the futility of the franchise outside of one season. It’s entirely valid to question the hiring of an inexperienced GM when the team is in a critical juncture. Don’t get me wrong they managed to cobble a team together and MacT was a good coach, but in the case of management when you don’t win and don’t make the playoffs for the majority of your tenure you quite frankly deserve to be questioned and shouldn’t be allowed to continue cart blanche.

    Also the way Kevin Lowe came across sounded arrogant and he immediately expressed anger when the press began asking tough questions. For a person in such a position to lose control isn’t okay. He’s in a position that when he has had as little success as he’s had he should have a tougher skin and should expect these remarks. Especially if he’s piped into the fan base and communicates with them. Either on the internet or in any phone interviews he’s done with local media. However he seemed completely oblivious to this when the media questioned him.

    Sorry this post is so long but Eddie Edmonton’s comments really bother me.

  • The Soup Fascist

    Hey Kevin Lowe, looking for a big high scoring forward thats hard to play against with lots of heart? Remember Curtis Glencross. oh ya, he is untouchable down in Calgary