(June 13, 2014) EDMONTON - Katz Group announced today that Bob Nicholson will join the organization as Vice-Chairman of Oilers Entertainment Group (OEG), a new sports and entertainment company that will manage the Katz Group’s growing family of sports and entertainment assets, and operate Rogers Place, the new home of the Edmonton Oilers.
Mr. Nicholson recently retired as President and CEO of Hockey Canada and will assume his new role following a brief transition period. He will continue to serve as Vice-President of the International Ice Hockey Federation.
In his role as Vice-Chairman, Mr. Nicholson will work closely with Daryl Katz, Kevin Lowe and Patrick LaForge to expand the group’s sports and entertainment offerings, deliver outstanding fan experiences, secure major new sponsorships and events, and operate Rogers Place. Currently under construction, Rogers Place will be North America’s leading sports and entertainment venue when it opens its doors in September 2016. Mr. Nicholson will also serve as an Alternate Governor for the Edmonton Oilers on the NHL Board of Governors.
Kevin Lowe has been named Vice-Chairman of the new organization, and will continue to play a leadership role with the organization’s Hockey Operations. Patrick LaForge has been named President and Chief Operating Officer of OEG and will be responsible for the group’s business operations.
“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,” said Daryl Katz. “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.”
“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,” said Mr. Nicholson. “I am very excited to be joining Daryl, Patrick, Kevin and the rest of the team, and look forward to saying more about our plans once I get my feet on the ground.”
In addition to the Edmonton Oilers, OEG owns the 2014 Memorial Cup Champion Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL), the Oklahoma City Barons (AHL) and the Bakersfield Condors (ECHL), as well as Aquila Productions, an award-winning producer of film and television, live events and broadcasts, and corporate and branded messaging services.
As President and CEO of Hockey Canada, Mr. Nicholson has overseen all operations for competitions that Canada participates in internationally, including in the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship program and Olympic Winter Games. He was senior vice-president of the Canadian Hockey Association from 1992 to 1998 and vice-president of programs with the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association from 1990 to 1991.
Before joining the national body, Nicholson was technical director with the British Columbia Amateur Hockey Association from 1979 to 1989. He was inducted into the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004. He played minor hockey and Junior A hockey in Penticton, helped the Penticton Broncos win the BCJHL and B.C.-Alberta championships and played NCAA hockey at Providence College.