Watch above: A well-known name in the hockey world is joining the Katz Group. But the move is not about the Oilers, instead what’s seen as future business opportunities. Vinesh Pratap explains.
EDMONTON – Bob Nicholson has been hired as the vice-chairman of the Oilers Entertainment Group, a new sports and entertainment company that will manage the Katz Group’s sports and entertainment assets, and operate Rogers Place.
“I think I’m going to really enjoy this. We’re going to build this into the best job and the best sport and entertainment organization,” said Nicholson.
Nicholson recently retired as president and CEO of Hockey Canada, although he will remain vice-president of the International Ice Hockey Federation until 2016.
Nicholson has made it clear his relationship with Oilers management – particularly Kevin Lowe, who’s helped Hockey Canada pick the past four Olympic teams – is a major reason why he accepted the position.
“It was the main reason that I’m sitting here today. It’s been a long and special relationship with Kevin over 14 years.”
“I have a great deal of respect for Bob, that goes without saying. We’ve got a great relationship, and he’s as passionate about fixing the Oilers as we all are,” said Kevin Lowe, Oilers President of Hockey Operations.
WATCH: Bob Nicholson is introduced as the new vice-chairman of the Oilers Entertainment Group
Nicholson’s relationship with Oilers Owner Daryl Katz also played a factor in accepting the job.
“I got to know him through Kevin and Wayne Gretzky, and I’ve been in touch with Daryl ever since.”
Nicholson’s duties will include securing major sponsorships and events, but he says his primary initial responsibility will be operating the new downtown arena.
“There’s a big vision coming. I get excited when I drove down here today and you see the big hole in the middle of the city. How we’re going to change this city, and there’s going to be more on top of that,” said Nicholson.
Lowe says he’ll also lean on Nicholson for input about hockey related issues.
“He’ll be as involved as much as we can get him, and I know that’ll be a massive addition to this organization.”
Rexall Sports also owns the Edmonton Oil Kings, the Oklahoma City Barons (AHL) and the Bakersfield Condors (ECHL).
WATCH: Kevin Karius has more on the impact the hiring of Bob Nicholson could have on the Edmonton Oilers’ hockey operations
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