Today, on behalf of the Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club, we want to share a few key messages.
First, we want to acknowledge your disappointment and that of the entire Oilers organization. Yes, our ultimate responsibility is to always compete at the upper echelons of the NHL and, regrettably, from
January to March, we just didn’t live up to our expectations, or yours.
From unplanned roster changes to start the season,to a bulging sick-bay, to a spring schedule with extended road trips, somehow the cards we were being dealt were not aces this year even after holding first place in the North West Division in late December. The Oilers roster for many games was manned by talented but inexperienced prospects from the farm system - fresh out of college or junior hockey. This will certainly turn into a great development opportunity for future Oilers teams but as for this season, we were unable to win with these challenges.
Knowledgeable hockey fans and observers know the rest. Core players never got on track until late in the season and some just didn’t get it going at all. We know they gave it their best effort but there are still many long faces in our locker room. Our coaches and hockey management have publicly accepted responsibility for a season that didn’t produce the desired result as planned under their leadership. Every Oilers employee and player wants you to know they share your frustration about our results this past year.
Still we have a business to run – so we move on – as professionals. At this moment we are scouting the amateur and professional hockey world for those player assets that will strengthen our team. At the same time our walking wounded are getting healthy again; ready and willing to restore your expectations of us as a competitive, world-class hockey organization.
We also want to share our feelings about the criticism our hometown has taken lately. Edmonton Oilers fans and citizens of Oil Country should make no apologies that Edmonton can be a tough place to play hockey. It is. When you play here the passion runs full strength.
The fact is – there are over one million people living in Edmonton now, and hundreds of thousands more in Oil Country. Let’s face it, we like it here and by and large the robust economic energy where we live is treating us very well. People are thriving here. They are proud to call it home. Corporations are also proud of sustaining and being sustained by the energy here and Canadians are moving here from places like Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and other regions.
Sure you need a warm coat and snow tires – but to listen to some – you’d think we were the only city where winter happens every year. You and I both know that’s not the case and all of us should be offended by that kind of ‘drive by’ criticism. This is a great city. A terrific hockey market where the game is sacred. That is exactly what makes Edmonton a great place to play and a fine place to live.
This time last year we were all gearing up for one of the most thrilling Stanley Cup runs in the history of our franchise. That time crystallized the passion of our fans and defined Oil Country for all to see.
Oil Country is about hard work, grit, and passion. We signed on to play in the NHL – a league whereyou will get nowhere without those same qualities. The competition is fierce on and off the ice. Edmonton’s NHL team is prepared to meet that competition on both fronts.
President and CEO, Edmonton Oilers