Fresh oilers owner wants new arena to be a centrepiece
The new owner of the Edmonton Oilers wants to build a downtown arena as soon as possible, making it a "centrepiece" for the city and hockey fans.
Daryl Katz, 46, spoke to the media in a conference call for the first time yesterday, a day after the team’s owners handed him 100 per cent of their shares for roughly $200 million.
Katz says he will consider the merits of a city report on the feasibility of building a new facility, due in March, but is partial to choosing a downtown site over renovating the existing Rexall Place.
"My preference would be to have the Oilers at the heart of the community, in the centre of downtown, in an effort to revitalize downtown," he said.
The local pharmacy tycoon is also promising to sign a written commitment to keep the team in Edmonton, calling concerns over shipping the team elsewhere nothing more than "ridiculous speculation."
His fondness for keeping a low profile, however, has drawn the curiosity of Oilers fans who have created a facebook group, comparing the local billionaire to Batman. Members have posted photos of his mansion while pointing out that his initials, D. K., are the same as the "Dark Knight."
He declined to speculate on what changes he will make in Oiler management at this time, but stated that he bought the franchise because he loves the team and wants what’s best for the city.
"I’m one of those who’s old enough to go through the five Stanley Cups," he said. "I lived and died by the Oilers for a lot of those years so, from my point of view, this couldn’t be better."