Bob Nicholson, former president and CEO of Hockey Canada, was announced Friday as the vice chairman of Oilers Entertainment Group, a new company that will manage the sports and entertainment assets for the Katz Group, including the Edmonton Oilers.
"This was an opportunity for me to stay connected to the game I love, work with a hugely promising franchise and be part of an organization that fully understands the power of sports and entertainment to build brands, strengthen communities and inspire young people to excellence," Nicholson said. "I am very excited to be joining Darryl [Katz, Oilers owner], Patrick [LaForge], Kevin [Lowe] and the rest of the team, and look forward to saying more about our plans once I get my feet on the ground."
LaForge, president of the Oilers, was named president and chief operating officer of OEG and will head up the company's business operations. Lowe, Oilers president of hockey operations, has been named a vice chairman of the new company in addition to his duties with the hockey team.
Nicholson will work with Katz, LaForge and Lowe to expand the group's sports and entertainment offerings as well as oversee the construction and operation of Rogers Place, the new home for the hockey team that is expected to open in September 2016. Nicholson will hold the title of alternate governor for the Oilers on the NHL Board of Governors.
"Bob Nicholson is an exceptional talent with a world-class reputation and deep relationships across the hockey world, from junior player development to world-scale events and large corporate sponsors," Katz said. "He has been an innovator in driving new sport-based revenue models and we feel very fortunate he has chosen to move to Edmonton and become part of our team as we build a leading Canadian sports and entertainment company."
Nicholson resigned last month after running Hockey Canada since June 1998.
"He's the best free agent in the business," LaForge said.