Oilers owner to Edmonton on arena deadline: Drop dead

Today, as you may recall, is the deadline set by Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel for Oilers owner Daryl Katz to meet with city officials and publicly state just how much public money he wants for a new arena. Last night, Katz responded with an open letter to the city council that seems to have been written with both middle fingers firmly raised:

“We have gone backwards,” said Katz in a letter delivered late Tuesday to city council and the media.

“We and the city can’t even agree on basic assumptions relating to the financial aspects of operating a new arena.

“Perhaps with more time and political leadership this deal can still be saved. But as it stands we remain far apart both on substance and process.

“Mayor Mandel, this is an opportunity for Edmonton to be bold and forward-looking, and it warrants your support and leadership.”

In case you missed it, that’s a “No, we won’t meet with you. Also, you suck as a leader.”

Mandel didn’t immediately remind Katz that a deadline is a deadline, saying instead, “I’m not sure where we go from here. It’s frustrating. For whatever reason, he doesn’t want to come to city council to talk about whatever the issues are. Negotiations are not in good shape.” City councillor Dave Loken added, “I’m not going to call [the arena] dead right now,” but said there isn’t much appetite on the council for continuing negotiations if this is how Katz is going to be.

One possible option for the city, as suggested by the Edmonton Journal’s David Staples, is for the city to tell Katz that if he doesn’t want their arena deal, they’ll just find another NHL team that will. Which probably isn’t going to happen for a dozen reasons, but it’s still nice to see someone recognizing that cities have something that teams need, and not just the other way around.

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6 comments on “Oilers owner to Edmonton on arena deadline: Drop dead

  1. An interesting part of the negotiations here has been a constant reference by the team to Edmonton ‘small market’s status and the special consideration they think that deserves. However, the hockey fan base here is much bigger than any other perspective market with the exception of the Toronto area. The club has sold out the last few years despite terrible finishes.

    The continued financing gap is another issue that isn’t being discussed either. The team, city and media remain convinced that either the provincial or federal government will help fund the project even though both have repeatedly said no and continue to run large deficits.

  2. I am pretty sure they could fit an NHL sized rink and seating for a couple thousand inside Daryl Katz’s house (if he wanted house guests a few times a week in winter). That guy gives tone-deaf, greedy billionaires a bad name.

  3. The best part of this gong show is the fact Katz’s original “100 million” for building it in turned into a $5million / 20 year mortgage payment. And then he wants $6million / year + $2million /year to operate the stadium paid with for public dollars and “city advertising” That guy probably gets that in internest per month for his chequing account. (So basically he’d get $3 million straight from the city, negating whatever $5million mortgage payment he promised)
    Luckily our city council found a calculator and a piece of paper and decided this wasn’t a good business plan or deal for the city.

    “Hey guys, I’ll give you $100 million dollars but you have to compensate me by making my mortgage payment and giving me some extra cash for a rainy day fund.. owning the last place NHL team is a tough job”

  4. City of Edmonton putting in a motion to cease all negotiations with Katz and planning with arena.

  5. I have heard:

    1) he’s getting a divorce
    2) taking a beating on his US investments
    3) doesn’t have the cash himself for this project

    I love how even if he gets his hearts desire in this negotiation that he’s pissed off his teams fan base with such impunity that unless this team is good and on its way to being great right after this lockout ends (it’s fun to be a hockey fan these days) there will be so much ill will that I see ticket sales suffering.

    Personally, I’m an inch (or 2.5cm for other Canadian folk) away from being dumb with the stupidest league going.

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