By WinterE229 WinterforceMedia (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
Following his threat to relocate the Oilers to Seattle earlier in the week, Daryl Katz has apologized to Edmonton and to Oilers fans today. It turns out that he was just upset.
On Monday, in an effort to move arena negotiations forward and to milk the City for a few more taxpayer dollars, Daryl Katz played the only card he has, the relocation card. It was a ridiculous threat and it was seen that way by most fans. The Oilers moving from Edmonton to Seattle, or any other market looking for an NHL team, makes no sense. Put simply, it was blackmail and it was a blow to the public support that has gotten the arena project to where we find it today.
And so, Katz apologized for the move today saying that he was "upset" and was just "trying to send a message to City leaders that they should not take his support for a new arena for granted." His support I assume, since it's not coming in the form of money, is that he will gladly take our money to build a new arena and will then make piles and piles of money for himself with said arena. If I was in his shoes I would also support this project.
Also in the letter Katz says that he "underestimated the degree to which it would be up to him to make the case for public funding." He's asking for what amounts to, when all the costs for the development are factored in, more than a half a billion dollars of public money and he didn't think it would be this difficult. I've said all along that Mr. Katz is a smart business man, he's got us building an arena for him without showing he needs it after all, but if he didn't think this amount of effort would be required then I might have to re evaluate my opinion of him.
I don't know Mr. Katz so I can't say for certain that he doesn't mean what he says in this letter but it seems to me to be more than a little self serving. He knew what he was doing when he went to Seattle. And he knew what the reaction to that would be. To say now that he was just frustrated and didn't mean it is a very easy out for him. And one that will certainly see a flood of calls to City Hall calling on Council to get a deal done. Make no mistake the apology was a calculated as the threat to relocate was.