56

Culture

As the 2018/19 season ends for the Edmonton Oilers it might be worth taking a moment and discussing something that has been talked about a lot of late — the culture of the Edmonton Oilers and what it means to be an Oiler.

Well actually, Nation Dan told me in no uncertain terms to “write an article version of the last podcast about culture” and I am not going to say no to Nation Dan.

The Podcast version of this rant can be heard here:

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WHAT IS/WHO CARES ABOUT CULTURE?

Anyone who has come within earshot of a business will hear people drone on and on about culture. In some organizations it doesn’t necessarily mean much — the culture of an accounting firm may not have much to do with their ability to file your taxes on time — but it is the goal of management everywhere to get staff and partners to “buy into the program” and the larger idea of what they are trying to do. There is no company more important than the Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club and therefore no culture more important to define and enforce.

In professional sports, the culture of an organization has a massive amount of impact on overall performance on and off the ice/field/diamond. Getting everyone, from players and executives to the business and off ice staff, to buy into the concept that they are playing for something larger than themselves is key to success in the long run.

All 31 NHL teams have the same maximum amount of money to spend and we have clearly seen that “spending to the cap” does not equate to “winning on a regular basis.” Intangibles then come into play — getting the most out of players and getting them to buy into a program and being part of a larger cause.

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In an era where there is a lot of talk about how millennials need to be managed differently than players of yore, what it means to be an Oiler means more than ever before.

It drove me past the point of insanity that Bob Nicholson, CEO of a 600 million dollar Oilers Entertainment Group, had TWO separate opportunities to explain the culture of the team and completely flubbed it on both occasions. He seems like a nice enough guy by all accounts but if you are in charge and you can’t define what it means to be an Oiler you certainly can’t inspire anyone to buy into the program. And if you can’t define what it means to be an Oiler you can’t lead the search to wade through the hundreds of draft picks and active players to find the “Oilers” like needles in haystacks.

It might be worth writing a fan fiction piece about what being an Oiler is and what it should mean.

I am the fan. Here is the fiction.

THE CULTURE OF THE EDMONTON OILERS

Being an Edmonton Oiler means four things and each are discussed in turn. I also included bullet point wild ideas of how to implement the different cornerstones so these concepts aren’t just words painted on the dressing room wall. Everything the organization does on or off the ice should tie back to these four points.

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HARD WORK

The most important part about “what it means to be an Oiler” is hard motherfucking work, full stop. A player doesn’t need to be Gretzky or McDavid to be a great Oiler. In fact many players come into Edmonton long on heart and hard work and become legends in their own right. Jason Smith, Ryan Smyth, Igor Ulanov, Bryan Marchment, Fernando Pisani and Todd Marchant spring to mind as hard working Oilers from the 00s.

In more recent memory, players like Matt Hendricks, Brandon Davidson and Mark Letestu have filled similar roles and exemplified what it means to be an Oiler. Hard working guys who leave it all on the ice at the end of every shift and have the bruises and broken bones to prove it. These are prototypical Oilers that we should want to clone and graft their DNA onto new players in the organization.

If you are going to draw a pay cheque from the Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club, you had better be prepared to work hard each and every day you are here or in the system. Because unlike other teams that are filling seats on corporate expense accounts, Oilers fans pay for their tickets with blood and sweat. We want to know that Oilers are working equally hard on their end and holding up their end of the bargain. The fans and the Organization alike should hold everyone to account on this point and those who aren’t willing to work hard given their particular set of skills will be shown the door.

WILD IDEAS

  • Bring back Oilers in an advisory capacity who are closer in age to the active roster and who exemplified the spirit of what being an Oiler means. This will show the current Oilers the way and can’t help but improve the spirit of the team.
  • Create a series of “players only” documentaries in their native languages showing highlights of the team throughout its 40-year history and feature interviews with Oilers of excellent character. This will show current Oilers what they are playing for and the legacy of all the Oilers who have gone before them. We made a DVD for bloody Dany Heatley once upon a time — surely current Oilers deserve to see something to give them an Edmonton Oilers 101 with snazzy background music.

ACCOUNTABILITY + TRANSPARENCY

How many sports teams have we seen that have written apology or explanation letters to their fans in the past few years? Management explaining that they understand the team has fallen short of expectations and outlining the plan to get back into competitive play may not win you games but it often gets the fans onside with short term sacrifice. Sometimes I like to print these letters off and photoshop Oilers letterhead on to the message and read them before I go to bed, but I digress. The blueprint of how to address your fan base if you have had a disappointing season is out there for anyone looking to emulate it.

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The current Oilers are really shooting themselves in the foot in this department and I would argue it is the lack of accountability that is really driving a wedge between the fans and the team, more than anything that is happening on the ice. We Oilers fans are an unforgiving bunch at the best of times and in 2019 there are more and more people tuning out and dropping off than at any point since the mid-1990s.

Had Nicholson come out in his recent pressers and said, “We have made some serious mistakes and this has been compounded by injuries this season and you can count on me to lead the organization back to the playoffs,” I think more people would have given them more of the benefit of the doubt. Had the OEG been holding accountability press conferences annually throughout the decade of darkness the bridge with the Tier One and Tier Two fans might have held up better and they would not have seen the exodus of fans that they are seeing at the moment.

What Oilers fans want more than anything from the OEG is to be looked directly in the eye — not spoken down to from Mount Olympus — and know that someone is actually in charge of The Program and is going to make damn sure things are fixed. This lack of accountability and propensity to throw straw men under the bus — firing Coaches on Skype, blaming outgoing GMs for decisions that most certainly were made by committee or naming bit players as the reason things aren’t going to plan — enrages Oilers fans even further and draws rolled eyes from players behind closed doors. Nicholson blaming Toby Reider for missing the playoffs most definitely burned up a lot of credibility in the dressing room. You could hear the teeth grinding and eyes rolling in the dressing room at Rogers Place for miles.

This OEG idea that “We have a plan but can’t share the plan” would be laughable were it not so comically sad. Any genius plan that would have actually moved the needle on the organization would have started to show itself by now by way of wins and losses. This audit of the team that is now in year four with no results shared publicly is looking more and more like a bunch of business doublespeak that is just for show and has no real teeth.

Accountability + Transparency = Credibility with players, fans and sponsors alike, and I do believe our pals at the OEG have the tank on empty with many in all three groups.

WILD IDEAS

  • Regular town hall meetings with unfiltered questions from Oilers fans, from luxury suite owners to people who have bought a single Oilers piece of merchandise. Getting everyone at all price points to be heard is paramount.
  • Online Q+As with us “tier two fans” to ensure that fans all around the world feel connected to the team and their voices are being heard.
  • Outline the short term plans at the start of the season and readdress these points at season’s end with specific information about what went wrong and what went right. “We wanted to develop our D core in the AHL this season and felt we made great strides with the play of Ethan Bear etc.” This shows that there is, in fact, a plan and regular review of specific points will show progress towards the ultimate goal even if there are setbacks in the short term.

ONCE AN OILER ALWAYS AN OILER

This should not be mistaken for “Once a 1984 Oiler always an Oiler.”

If I was laying down what it means to be an Oiler and what the Organization values going forward I would draw a line in the sand and say “We are going to treat every Oiler past and present — from multimillion dollar free agent signings to seventh round draft picks — better than any team in any sport.”

Then I would mine all good sports teams around the world for best practices and implement them in a hot minute. Treating players like gold might seem like a fairly obvious move and though the current Oilers do a great job in terms of team jets, training staff and whatno, the softer side of the thing — ensuring Jesse Puljujarvi has someone taking him for groceries or Nail Yakupov has a friend in the world who can give him support — has not been managed well at all. Care for Oilers after their retirement is thin — although it is improving — but showing current and future Oilers “We got your back till the end of days” would immediately start to shift perception of the organization among players. This is crucial.

Players, although rich, are still human beings and aren’t immune to personal crises — Larsson and Lucic have both lost their fathers in the past few years as a horrible example. This is an awful thing to happen to anyone ever, but adding in the immense pressure of being a professional athlete and living in the fishbowl of Edmonton with our unforgiving fan base can be enough to push someone from “doing well” to “in his own head and spiralling.”

Rolling out a battery of mental health and life services for players and equally important for their families will have an immediate impact on the ice. Keeping these services available to players even after they retire will reinforce that “once an Oiler always an Oiler” attitude to everyone that wasn’t a boy on the bus. If Igor Kravchuk is having a bad day in 2019 he has earned the right to call a Life Coach back in Edmonton and talk through things. This is the least we can do for the thousands of players that have bled for the Oil over the years on so many winter nights.

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There are many things like this one off idea that the OEG can control off the ice that will have a long term impact on the ice.

WILD IDEAS

  • Professional billets that meet with players and their families when they arrive each season to ensure they have help with navigating the logistics of life in Edmonton and ensuring they aren’t isolated in the community. Something as simple as a regular home cooked meal and a family dynamic outside of current Oilers families can go a long way.
  • Access to mental health services and life coaches for players and their families that meet with everyone regularly throughout the calendar year and into retirement regardless of where a player ends up. Once an Oiler always an Oiler can be put into practice here and a real impact can be made on their lives in the short term and the long run.
  • Access to life coaches/non sports psychologists who speak the players’ native language who can help navigate general life stuff and the cultural and language barriers that come with moving to a foreign land. This isn’t someone who is going to talk about being a hockey player but rather focus on them as human beings.
  • Access to long term financial planners that will help players set up custom programs to ensure that they are not running wild in the streets with a garage full of Lambos while they play and then are dead broke in retirement. This is a massive issue with players in all pro sports and these planners should be made available to all Oilers past present at future for as long as they would like.
  • Access to “retirement coaches,” which is a thing I just made up, where professional coaches work with retired players to help them get an education, get a meaningful job in the market of their choosing and help them with the transition into their golden years which often begin in their early 30s. These coaches should be made available to all Oilers past present at future for as long as they like.The budget for the roles outlined above will be significant but if you can squeeze 5% more output from an $83 million dollar payroll by focusing on players mental health and family harmony the return on the investment will be immediate and well worth the cost.

COMMUNITY

Here is another opportunity to draw a line in the sand and say “going forward the Oilers are going to be the most impactful sports team in their community and the most charitable team in the Pro sports.” It might not have an immediate impact in terms of wins and losses but it can be controlled starting tomorrow and will ultimately improve the relationship with the City of Edmonton and Oilers fans around the world.

Not getting Oilers out into the community regularly does a disservice to the City and the Oilers themselves at the same time. Getting player families involved in community initiatives is critical too — sitting in a rented mansion on the edge of town throughout the dark Edmonton winter can be an isolating experience for the best of them. Interacting with Edmontonians — Oilers fans and non-Oilers fans alike – enriches the lives of the players and their families and the people that they meet does a world of good for both sides.

Players have a short window of time here and if the only time players and their families see Oilers fans is at games or in restaurants — this creates a massive level of disconnect. Creating genuine relationships with us normal people grounds players and their families and inspires us normal folks. This is a win-win situation for all involved.

This idea of Community can be extended to improving the communities of Oilers home towns as well not just organizations in Edmonton and area. Oilers come to Edmonton from far flung places all over the world and there is often a cultural and language barrier that is taken for granted. Taking an interest in their home towns and lives outside of hockey will come as a shock to many players and their families at first but it will combat the idea that you “come to Edmonton to play for 6 months then book it back home as fast as possible.” And it doesn’t involve changing the weather, which is possible but prohibitively expensive at this time.

WILD IDEAS

All players should be mandated to pick from prescreened charities and organizations in town and two appearances should be made per month during the season. Their families should be encouraged to get involved as well and over time long term relationships will develop that enrich the lives of all involved.

Imagine the Oilers had put some money into a minor hockey facility in Nail Yakupov’s home town? Imagine they put a plaque up on some renovated remote minor hockey rink that said “thanking Nail Yakupov and his family for their contributions to Oilers Hockey and the City of Edmonton?” Imagine the generations of Russian Hockey players that would come through that facility and declare “I too want to be an Oiler” That’s propagating the Culture of the Edmonton Oilers beyond the City borders and with each project would build a team of legend in the minds of future players to come.

AND IN CONCLUSION

This is what the Oilers culture should be based on the ramblings of a man who not only cuts his own hair but also refuses to wear socks ever under any circumstances. I have not played the game beyond Pee Wee Tier 15 (actual career resume) and I do not think this list is exhaustive.

Let me know in the comments what else it means to be an Oiler and what they can do to improve the organization. If the OEG itself isn’t interested in discussing culture or revealing their grand plan we can entertain ourselves until the Oilers pick eighth in the entry draft while Connor’s platinum bones heal stronger than ever.


  • Heschultzhescores

    You make a lot of excellent points, though I might be concerned all the coddling will create adult babies. I’d like to see us create men who become responsible adults, and add to the community all on their own. On a side note, isn’t it hilarious how KG said he had a plan too, but isnt gonna tell anybody now…coffee spitting laughable. Oh the great mystery plans and planners continue to think they can dupe the smartest hockey city on the planet.

    • Obcfan

      The initial offer of services and support to new and/or young players I don’t see as coddling. I think some of those things will do as you suggest and help them become responsible adults who get to see and be involved in good examples of how to live and interact outside of hockey.

      I can agree that having all these services available for life could create the occasional man baby who never gets weaned and depends on them to survive but my guess is the majority of players would use them as the occasional support tools they are.

      Either way, if it made the players love the team and the city and we do get 5% more performance it’s worth it (on the caveat that it comes out of the playoff run profits and not increased ticket/merch/BN Burger prices)

  • Derian Hatcher

    I really enjoyed this article. It shows you care …. a lot. I have been wrestling with being an Oiler fan and I have lived long enough to realize that my anger is really fear in disguise. Fear that things will not get better with the people in charge. Fear that we are wasting 97 & 29 to the point they will want out. Fear that the pride I once had in this team is now replaced by embarrassment. Most of all the fear that I have had in the pit of my stomach for 2 years is the the exact same fear a person has when you know that a relationship is not going to work out but you stay together anyway, going through the motions.
    Fear that the magic that envelopes the city and towns across Northern Alberta around playoff time will not ever happen while 97 is still here. Fear that the incompetence will continue and that, at times, I allow this to affect my mood and outlook on life. Fear that Katz will continue to be one of the worst owners in all of sports in that he does not seem to want to step up and be a true leader and acknowledge the frustration of the fans frustration who have lined his pockets. Insead, he hides behind one of his incompetent minions to deliver a “secret plan” that all intelligent fans see through as nothing more than biding time towards….nothing.

    The core players deserve better, the fans deserve better. It is just so darn sad and disappointing.

  • rnj

    I’ve worked with a fair amount of players, agents, and scouts in my practice. Most of what they need psychologically is help with their relationship or work on their inner dialogue. At the top level of many professions people tend to have perfectionist tendencies and obsessive behaviour.

    Almost all athletes I’ve worked with have avoidant attachment issues. They’ve spent so many formative years with responsibilities and high pressure lives that they don’t process emotion well. They suppress well, but there are limits and when you run into those your performance nose dives.

    This happens with fighters a lot. One loss can shatter a guy. If you don’t know how to process and restructure under massive stress you simply will not be able to function at the level you need to be at.

    There are so many other things to focus on aside from those, but another big one is group related functioning. Think of the vibe Vegas has – there’s a reason for that. There are well established cause and effect connections that lead to organization unity, and therapists can play an active role in fostering these things.

    I don’t know if OEG has an official provider of services but they should. Consistency and specific expertise goes a long way when it comes to addressing these issues.

  • Dark Knight Returns

    What about instead of all this mambo-jambo (I’m sure no team has in their culture: lazy, unaccountable …. oh wait the Oilers had Jordan Eberle for a long time!) why not just the culture of “winning”.
    The Oilers don’t behave like winners. Full stop.

    #FreeMcDavid

  • Gary

    Mental help? Home cooked meals? Being given a ride to the grocery store? Retirement coaches? Financial planners? Holy smokes this is more of an article about people that cant take of themselves than pro hockey players making damn good money. Reeks of sarcasm. Baggedmilk.

    • rnj

      This is a prime example of avoidant attachment stuff I mentioned. You tell guys to man up, grow up, deal with it, etc. It’s toxic BS and needs to stop. These are young men, some still boys, and they need support. The money is there, it would be helpful, aside from being macho why would you not implement things that would improve quality of life for players and performance for the team?

    • BobbyCanuck

      Do you have children in the 18-24 yr range? I did not think so, a whole generation coddled beyond belief, and the coddling that potential pro athlete (meal tickets for the parents) is exponentially greater.

      This age group has an expectation of being the most important person in the world, and if not treated as such…

    • Battman

      It’s not about coddling people. Think about it. You take a new job in a new place as a young person around twenty, still trying to figure life out in general. Don’t know anybody there except for the people you work with. Add in for some cases a new language and a new country and something as simple as a friendly face who is just there to help you navigate the grocery store and maybe get a cup of coffee or lunch and take you mind away from the workplace can do so much good for a person.

      That’s what this post is about, to take care of the human side of the players so that they can get in a frame of mind to take care of the career side of their lives

  • jesse says yep

    Glad to see your out of prison Wayne! Next stint in the can, behave yourself so that you can have computer privileges and write a few more articles.
    Oh and maybe get in on the prison coding club so you can fix the edit button.
    Welcome home

  • Hand Banana

    nice article Wanye. You would think that most of these concepts would be fundamental and obvious to anyone who wants to run a successful organization. Sadly, it’s quite clear that Oilers management does not share your views.

  • Towers-of-dub

    It probably isn’t a surprise that there was an awful lot more goodwill towards the team when it was community owned, by hard working and mostly self made people, who lived in the city and cared enough about the oilers to buy the team because of what it means to the city, not so they can be friends with HHOF’ers. The world is different now, I suppose. We have drunk douches chirping McDavid, and i doubt we had that 30 years ago.

  • Rick Stroppel

    This article is FULL of great ideas. There is more good stuff here than I have heard from ANYONE in the Oilers organization in the 12 years since Katz bought the team. Part of the problem is that that no-one in the Oilers brain trust has the guts to talk about the hockey team in public anymore, they have decided that Nicholson is literally the only one who is smart enough to be a “spokesman”. And what do we get from him? Pablum like “something in the water” and “we are doing a deep dive.” (I guess that beats a “shallow dive”, it’s nothing but a meaningless cliché, it does not make me feel any better.)

    Here’s another idea. The Canadian Women’s Hockey League just collapsed. There is still a professional league in the US with five teams. Katz is worth about 3 billion, Melnyk 1.2 billion, MLGSE has money coming out the ying-yang. What if they sponsored expansion teams in Edmonton, Ottawa and Toronto? So what if they lost money. These people and organizations have made millions from the sport, why don’t they put a little bit back in? Imagine the PR, goodwill value. But they never “imagine” anything. Darryl Katz is a lousy, do nothing, say nothing owner. I don’t care if he’s “shy”. If he didn’t want to deal with the public pressure of owning an NHL franchise in Canada, seriously, why didn’t he buy the Arizona Coyotes? I guess he realized that owning an NHL franchise in Canada will always be a license to print money.

    • Serious Gord

      Pro women’s hockey is a money-losing dog. Always will be. People want to see the best at any age level and will only pay money to see that. That’s why there are no pro women’s leagues anywhere that make money.

      Having teams virtue-signal by propping up such a league is just more corporate Marxism. There are far better ways for teams to participate and contribute to the sport and their communities.

    • Derian Hatcher

      Katz certainly wasn’t “shy” when cameras were on him when he wanted taxpayers to help fund an arena or when cameras followed him to Seattle in his pathetic indirect threat to move the team. Funny how Katz is “shy” when the going is tough and accountability is required. My prediction is he’ll be a guest on Oilers Now where the host can lob muffin questions at him. What a terrible owner.

      • BobbyCanuck

        NO he is not, he is a very smart businessman, want to know whom is responsible for the sucky Oilers being the suckyest sucks for the last 20 odd years? Well that would be the season ticket holders, absolutely all their fault, bunch of more money than brains enablers

        • Derian Hatcher

          So the fans who support the team are the reason this organization is a laughing stock while the “smart businessman” keeps his childhood heros employed?

          I respectfully disagree.

  • Serious Gord

    First Here is what I agree with Wanye on:

    The “Culture” is indeed a muddled incoherent mess.

    Accountability + Transparency – are both non-existent – see “culture” above

    The org’s dealings with the community are abysmal. Anyone who has been to a tamps home game has seen just a snippet of how things should be. This org needs to embrace and immerse itself in Edmonton and its people. Having an owner who lives in Malibu and much of management having made relations so toxic they keep a low profile make a bad situation worse.

    That noted most of the Canadian franchises seem to be far weaker than the well-run American teams. Perhaps it’s because of the strong college alumni /sports community in the US where college games almost as much community events and reaffirmations as they are games on the field. The org should go and find an American from one of those orgs doing a good job at and put him in charge of it.

    What I disagree with:

    First, the history of this team except for the first 8 or 9 years of its existence has been almost unrelenting failure. Whatever cultural vestiges this team has – and there are no obvious ones other than nepotism, cronyism and cranky small-mindedness – they have perpetuated decades of league-leading failure.

    Hardwork was only a hallmark of the team for a brief period in the dark days when the team had almost no talent and no money to buy any. That Wanye cites players from that era plus a few very short-termers of late proves my point.

    The glory days of the oil were not about hard work unless you count banging chicks on pool tables and similar acts of debauchery hard work…

    Hard work is a cop-out in today’s pro sports.

    Being smart and targeting ones efforts is much more important nowadays. The Trevor Bauers, Belichicks, Mannings, Karlssons work harder on the mental aspects of their games as much as they do on the physical. And they don’t treat it as work. Gretzky, Chara, Woods, etc. never saw what they did as work – they loved doing it – wanted to do it – (desire/willingness to do the monotonous things is a key sign of talent IMO). They didn’t approach it as work. A team culture that expects, indeed revels, in spending hours upon hours on getting better, watching film, evolving technique is what this team is missing. Lunch bucket, coal-mining attitudes to this are a recipe for mediocrity and failure and will drive the striving talented players to leave. Wanye’s recipe is the last thing a player like RNH wants to hear.

    Bringing back old low talent pluggers from the old days is completely counterproductive. (the Sonnets ads illustrate that quite nicely)

    Which brings me to Wanye wanting to double-down on having even more old boys crowding around the team…

    I’m all for a strong alumni support system. I think it does indeed send a message to current players that the org and the community are something they can be a part of for the rest of their lives. But they should under no circumstances see themselves as being able to work FOR the org in any capacity. Positions in the org should be merit-based PERIOD. Wanye seems stuck in the same nostalgic world that the owner is.

    And so do a lot of the fanbase and readers on this site it seems…

    I have posited in the past (as have others) that the League and all of pro sports for that matter is undergoing a major disruption in almost aspects of how teams and players go about their business. From fan relations to organizational structure to analytics and team operations.

    The Oil management (and Wanye et al) seem completely unable to change their attitudes and thus their methods. Bob Nicholson almost perfectly typifies this – a garbled mess of platitudes and mush. Directionless and without a philosophy other than being friends with the league’s elites. Even this essay by Wanye – doubling down on the past – proves the point.

    If anything the org by standing pat (mumbling a few words about things like analytics but really doing little while other teams literally spend millions) is falling further behind. The hope of winning a cup looks like taillights disappearing into the night..

    Cultures don’t go on forever – it’s survival of the fittest. The culture of the old boys needs to die.

  • VK63

    They really are the suckiest bunch of sucks that have ever sucked.

    I think the next piece should be about structure and within that, every paragraph should depict a visual of a new application of Elon Musks flamethrower.

    In all seriousness, I have no idea who or what they benchmark themselves to but their guidance system is beyond broken. They are so far removed from world class that is honestly defies rational thought.

    • Oilers70

      Organizations that have a poor culture, have bad leadership, also suffer from failure. Sounds like the Oilers to me.

      It all comes down to leadership and the Oilers haven’t had a true leader for years. Only a bunch of misfits who couldn’t run a lemonaid stand.

  • Oiler Al

    Boils down to a couple of issues.. missing ,reclusive owner and a “banana” for a CEO, who hasn’t a clue about bulding an NHL team.Culture and leadership start at the VERY top of the organization.They set the pace, vision and building blocks for success.Putting the right people in place at every level, and making them accountable.
    Oilers are set up as a 3 ring circus, with a lot of in fighting and disharmony.Thats why it looks like they need
    head doctor to sort them out.The problem is a lot deeper than”who should drive Poolparty for groceries”Dysfunctional takes on a whole new meaning in Oil town.

  • Randaman

    Hall said after he left that he wasn’t coachable in his early years in Edmonton. Was that because it was Horcoff or is this all on Hall? I would assume that the other young guys (Eberle, Schultz) followed suit. Leadership/mentorship has to be accepted at the other end to work but I like the direction here Wanye. Good article

  • Derzie

    About midway through reading this, it struck me how odd this is.
    All of this analysis and the suggestions are very well thought out and practical. Really good ideas. Here’s where it is ‘odd’. The subjects here are molly-coddled NHL hockey players. Most make more in one year than the people who buy tickets make in a lifetime. Literally, ideas mulled over by people getting little or no pay, to make the lives of millionaires better. Huh?

    Why not use these ideas for actual Edmonton citizens, rather than the players. Also, people railing against these ideas as for the ‘soft’ or the ‘weak’ are dinosaurs. Old stereotypes rooted in the prehistoric animal instinct in our DNA. Me man, me tough. Dollars to donuts, said people self medicate with booze or drugs to keep up their tough facade.

  • D-Redd

    This is the best thing writen on this site all year. Seriously.

    This should be printed out and framed and placed on every wall within Mr. Katz’s home, until he fully implements every point.

  • McPucker

    Lots here that I like. Many the Oiler’s should have implemented, if they’ve put any thought into it. Respect your employees, they’ll respect you and that’s how you develop a good culture. (We’ll that mixed in with some agar).

  • Time to Ride

    Here’s a story that I think demonstrates the type of character Wanye would like to see on the Oilers. Remember in Rexall Place that during each game a few kids were allowed to sit on the floor and watch the Oilers as they came on and off the ice between periods? During a game against the Panthers a few years ago I took my 5 and 8 year old grandsons downstairs and they were lucky enough to be chosen. They were super excited as they watched the team head out for the second period. Afterwards I asked them who they liked best. They both chimed in that Matt Hendricks had looked right at them and winked as he walked by. From then on they’ve been Matt Hendricks’ biggest fans, even after he was traded. BTW, Matt scored a goal, won a fight and was second star in that game.

  • bcoil

    Ok this is the perfect plan for pretty much any major organization .I have seen many of these programs in successful companies .If you have Katz’s email address I will be happy to send it to him as a starting blue print for him