Happy Anniversary to the Edmonton Investors Group

On this day 21 years ago, a group of 38 local investors banded together to purchase the Edmonton Oilers and stop them from potentially moving to Houston. Happy Anniversary to the EIG! If not for you stepping up, the Oilers very likely wouldn’t exist right now.

In the mid-1990s, Peter Pocklington’s ownership of the Oilers was very clearly coming to an end. Alberta Treasury Branches demanded millions of dollars in repayments from loans Pocklington had taken out and the small-market Oilers struggled to keep up with larger markets due to an Albertan economy hindered by oil price crashes.

Pocklington, in dire financial straits, endeavoured to sell the team to an outside bidder, which would have resulted in the Oilers relocating like their WHA cousins from Winnipeg, Quebec, and Hartford had in previous years. Fortunately for Edmonton, his lease deal with Northlands Coliseum stipulated that he couldn’t move the team or sell it to somebody who had the intention of moving the team.

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Leslie Alexander, the Houston-based owner of the Rockets of the NBA, offered to buy the Oilers for $85 million. But another stipulation in the Coliseum lease was that there would be a six-week grace period in which an owner with the intention of keeping the team in Edmonton would be allowed to step up and purchase the team before selling it to the outside bidder.

Cal Nichols, a local businessman, had begun rounding up other local investors to save the team. Nichols eventually rounded up a group of 38 investors to purchase the Oilers, thus protecting the franchise from moving to Houston under Alexander’s ownership. While the NHL generally frowned upon large ownership groups, the league had already lost two other Canadian franchises in recent years and didn’t want to put their lucrative Canadian television deal in jeopardy.

Under the ownership of the Investors Group, the Oilers made the playoffs in five of nine seasons, including a run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2006. The EIG is also responsible for the famous Spawn jersey, which was designed by part-owner Todd McFarlane, a Calgary-born comic book creator.

Thank you to the Edmonton Investors Group, true Oilers legends.

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  • Scratch

    I recall with gratitude those people stepping up and saving the team however those who can recall we never had any money, bled players for salary reasons and still retained the old boys club. Katz may have warts but funding for the team is not one of them and I suspect he’s a lot more peed off at the results than we are. I have hope the new GM states the old boys club is gone before he signs anything..Howson, MacT and Lowe are past their due dates and need to be retired.

    • gr8haluschak

      Exactly, god some of you people are f’n stupid, it was not Katz who mothballed the AHL team and had next to no development or scouting and that is what has set this franchise back decades.

    • JuniorSplash

      You can hope all you want, Katz specifically protected Lowe and MacTavish when Chiarelli and Nicholson were replacing their management team. Somehow Katz is the only owner that promotes failure with raises. He thinks like an 80s boys on the bus fan, and not a businessman. If he ran Rexall like he did the Oilers that business would of bankrupted long before selling. It’s time he grew a set and released every piece of ineptitude from this organization…starting with Nicholson who’s in way over his head. Sadly, this will never happen.

      • gr8haluschak

        Tell me exactly how Nicholson is in over his head, I love when armchair bs’ers like this run their mouths, the guy turned Hockey Canada into a money making machine based off of the World Jrs alone, so I think he does have some knowledge.

  • Simba99

    Back when the team gave 110 percent and no matter if they won or lost the fans knew what they had and appreciated every game. Now present day to many overpaid kids running the league caring more about a pay check then playing as a team. Old saying no I in team