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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  • 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.

    • 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

    • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

  • 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).

  • #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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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”.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.