Head Equipment Manager Barrie Stafford surveys the Oilers bench at the tail end of the 2007-08 season. (Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)
“There is absolutely no question Kenny, Barrie and Sparky have done a remarkable job here over the past three decades and more”.
Those were the words of Oilers General Manager Steve Tambellini as he commented on yesterday’s news that Barrie Stafford, Ken Lowe and Lyle ‘Sparky’ Kulchisky were leaving their long-time posts in the Oilers dressing room.
He continued. “Our fans know what we all know. These three guys have been terrific contributors to this franchise through thick and thin. I use the words great people to describe all three, and that’s exactly what they are and all three will continue to contribute to the Oilers.
"However, at the end of the season and for some time now I have been communicating our plan for the future. Part of that plan is to change the culture in our dressing room, and this is the right moment to bring a fresh energy to the medical, training and equipment area and Ken, Barrie and Sparky understand that. This has nothing to do with their work, their effort, their passion, or their dedication. We all know you couldn’t find three more hard working, dedicated or passionate people in this industry. I know that because I was a part of Hockey Canada’s efforts when we won World Hockey Championships and an Olympic Medal together with Kenny and Barrie.”
Steve Tambellini also referred today to his recent media post-season briefing when he described his action plan of change.
“I understand that change is difficult, but change is required for us to reach our goal of returning the Oilers to the top of the NHL standings. As I have mentioned on many occasions, we will do what is necessary to build this franchise into a winner.
Yesterday, 29-year Oilers head equipment manager Barrie Stafford had this to say:
“The Oilers handled this situation with class and dignity and it’s a good thing. I’m looking forward to the opportunity in another capacity with the organization. I’m leaving my current position with no regrets.”
In closing, Steve Tambellini said, “One thing I’d like Oilers fans everywhere to know – and I’ve heard some concern about this – is that Joey Moss has a lifetime contract. Next year on day one, Joey will be at his post.”