Joni Mitchell’s “River” is a haunting, mournful song that deals with alienation, regret and missed opportunity.

Here we are…a few days before Christmas and this song could really be the anthem of the Edmonton Oilers.

I’ve long believed the Oilers have the most loyal fan base in the league, supporting the team through thin and thinner for the past 20 odd years and, while teams like Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary, appear to have a similar fan base…they really don’t. Their arenas are packed with corporate season ticket holders while, to a much larger degree, the Oilers fan base  consists of individuals and families who have supported the team for many years.

I was one of them once…becoming a fan of the team when it entered the WHA and holding season tickets for many years and that love of the team has been passed down to my two sons who remain hopeful they will one day have a team they can feel good cheering about.

Devotion to the Oilers runs deep throughout my extended family too. My brother-in-law Pete passed away suddenly from a heart attack more than a year ago. This is a photo I took at his wake.



Kevin Lowe and his henchmen perhaps know how passionate the teams’ fans are but knowing it and appreciating it are entirely different things and I don’t think they appreciate it one little bit, instead seeing fans as wallets who pay for their continuing failures.

Lowe started to lose me when he got into that trade dispute with Mike Comrie over returning his bonus and it has been death by papercut ever since.

When he took his most popular player to the wall over $100,000 (remember Ryan Smyth offered to buy a suite for the $100,000 and Lowe rejected it), I was pretty much done. He has done nothing since to redeem himself in my eyes but I really don’t want to hash over another laundry list of his failures since that time.

What I want to impart is how sad I think it is that Lowe is presiding over an era in history of the team that is seeing it start to lose the hearts of its fan base.

Even the most optimistic of followers of the team have begun to abandon their ways and I can only speculate on why it took them so long but it is real and it’s growing.

There’s a pall cast over the team and a fresh, spring breeze is needed to blow the stench away.

If Kevin Lowe cares even one whit for the team and the city he needs to resign and take his entire regime with him.

If he won’t, Daryl Katz needs to help him with his decision.





6 thoughts on “Blue

  1. Well done. I have been a fan of this team since I saw the Edmonton Journal picture of Jim Harrison wheeling a shopping cart of cash down the street (after signing a $50 000 contract). That was 1972. But I just can’t get interested anymore. I was shocked the other day when my brother-in-law, who inherited his season tickets from his father, told me that he doesn’t even bother to turn on the T.V. to watch the games anymore. It is so much easier to just not care about this pathetic team and the clown management that “leads” them.


    1. Thanks for the kind words.

      I think Katz is playing a very dangerous game here.

      Eakins, while heading for his “timeout” in the corner, indicated the “plan” was to be competitive when the new arena opens.

      Unfortunately, you can’t just flip a switch and make up massive ground on a dozen other teams who are all working feverishly to improve their rosters.

      At some point, the team will have used up all its fan “capital” and that may happen before the new arena.

      But, to be honest, I’m not sure Katz gives a shit since I think his play in buying the team was the real estate action around the new arena and, of course, the value of the franchise has soared since he bought the team through no effort on the part of the Oilers or Katz himself.

      As I used to tell my journalism students, always follow the money.


  2. Well said, excellent article.

    My experiences with the Oilers differ a bit. I was a kid when the Oilers became “the” team.
    Fast forward and this is the first year in 8 years I never renewed my tickets, lost my place in line and I feel good about it.

    I can spend that money going to watch a couple games in L.A or Arz now, throw in a couple rounds of golf and I’m better off for it.

    I see MacTavish & Lowe as the same person now, there almost indistinguishable in my opinion, and I honestly think MacTavish may be a worse GM then Tambellini.

    I’ll watch hockey, but mostly for the enjoyment of the game, it’s like the NFL, I love the game and it really doesn’t matter who’s playing except when J.J Watt plays.


  3. Remember the article “Why Didn’t the Dog Bark ”

    If you ever want to reference a game for that article tonight was the night.

    Gagner with a 4 point night & D.D with a win………….good Lord!

    That’s as ugly as you could get, yet not even close to rock bottom………

    A team that was playing B2B games and 3 in 4 nights……Unacceptable & inexcusable

    Well, I’m off to enjoy some Springbank and who knows…..maybe John Daniels will stop by before the year is out. 🙂

    Merry Christmas all, enjoy the break, see ya next year.


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