September 25, 2012
Daryl Katz tour of Seattle arena should spur Edmonton arena deal
By TERRY JONES, QMI Agency
EDMONTON - Twice Daryl Katz has faked right.
Now, it appears, he's faked left.
Monday a radio station in Seattle reported a sighting of Edmonton Oilers' owner Daryl Katz and a group of Oiler executives, including Kevin Lowe and Patrick LaForge, on the same day City Council approved Seattle arena legislation.
As confirmation of Katz & Co. taking a tour of Key Arena with Chris Hanson, who is hoping to find an NHL tenant for his new building, broke in Edmonton, predictably the "Oh my gawd he's gonna move the Oilers" heebie-jeebies syndrome kicked in.
Daryl Katz is nothing if he isn't consistent.
The Edmonton Oilers owner has the same two moves in just about every dealing he does.
Veiled Threat No. 1.
Katz went to Hamilton and received unanimous approval of Hamilton city council to enter into a non-binding memorandum of understanding to obtaining lease control to the Copps Coliseum.
Then it was Quebec City.
Remember Quebec City?
Veiled Threat No. 2.
After showing up in Quebec City to meet with the mayor, holding exit interviews which fueled the fire of the Quebec media to believe the Oilers were looking at relocation, seven hours later it was declared "preposterous."
Katz doesn't have to come out and shout it out that he's going to move the team. He doesn't even have to whisper it.
All he has to do is show up somewhere with a delegation, have a look around, make sure he gets noticed, and away he goes.
The idea of Katz moving the Oilers to Seattle is ludicrous.
He's not a stupid man. He'd be paying rent there. He wouldn't have concession rights, pouring rights, building naming rights. Hockey would be the No. 4 or No. 5 entity on the local sports scene behind the Seahawks, Mariners, return of the Sonics with the new building, and quite possibly the MLS Sounders. Try selling out every night in Seattle, while finishing 30th, 30th and 29th.
It's the usual approach.
And you know what? It will work.
Katz took a little three-hour tour south of his Vancouver residence and just reminded Edmonton city council that at the end of the same day that Mayor Stephen Mandel incidentally listed October 17 as the deadline date for Katz to explain what he wants, that the bottom line here is that it's his puck and if he takes it home the game is over.
The bottom line on Edmonton's downtown arena deal has always been that in the end the members of council who want to believe this really involves a negotiation are going to have to give Katz what he wants.
And in the end, say five years from now, you know what?
With a beautiful, iconic, state-of-the-art, image-changing downtown arena with an Edmonton Oilers team playing in it and going deep into the playoffs and perhaps winning another Stanley Cup, those city councillors who will have their names on the plaque outside the building will be proud as punch.
But I fear when that day comes it won't be an image-changer for Daryl Katz.