LaForge likes concept of having one owner

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:45 AM ET

The building is full every night. And the demand for tickets is at an all-time high.

Daryl Katz did not purchase a team in peril.

On the contrary, the Oilers are one of the healthiest franchises in the National Hockey League operating under a strong business plan. It's a plan that won't change too drastically with Katz at the helm.

"The business operates in the black and we already play to the cap," said Oilers president and CEO Patrick LaForge. "(Katz) is more strategic and more competitive in the sense that he's always asking 'What else could we do'? And I really enjoy that."

LaForge will remain as the Oilers president and CEO under Katz. Former chairman of the Edmonton Investors Group Cal Nichols will stay on board and act as the alternate governor. General manager Kevin Lowe and head coach Craig MacTavish will retain their positions also.

"Things are good, but we need to win," LaForge said. "Everybody is locked on to that, we're working on it and trying to figure it out, as we have been all along.

"And as Kevin (Lowe) said, winning is about confidence and competitiveness. We're more competitive and, as a result, more confident. As a result, I think it'll bring championships, not just playoff entries."

If anything, having one owner will speed up the decision-making process, although there were some advantages with the board system.

"The board aspect was good in a sense that decisions were tumbled around and rationalized," LaForge said. "It puts a delay in the system. But if we ever wanted to do something there was never a big stop or anything like that. This is different in terms that it's anticipating.

"If I tell Daryl I'm working on an idea, long before I have to have a presentation ready, he'll give me the go ahead to keep going. All it takes is one phone call."


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