Daryl Katz apologizes to Edmontonians, Oilers' fans over arena negotiations
Published Saturday, September 29, 2012 10:00AM MDT
Last Updated Saturday, September 29, 2012 6:34PM MDT
Oilers' owner Daryl Katz is apologizing to Edmontonians, Albertans and Oilers fans over arena negotiations.
In a letter dated Sept. 29, appearing in local newspapers on Saturday, Katz writes that he "owes you an explanation."
"I was upset when certain confidential information was leaked and by comments that I thought were unfair and called my integrity into question. I reacted by trying to send a message to City leaders that they should not take my support for a new arena for granted. In doing so, I took for granted your support and your love of the Oilers," Katz writes.
"That was wrong and I apologize."
Katz goes on say that he is fighting for a deal that will keep the Oilers in Edmonton.
"That's why I bought the Oilers in the first place," he writes.
"Because I want the NHL to be sustainable in Edmonton for the long-term, and because I saw the city's need for a new arena as an opportunity to transform our city for the better."
Katz apologizes for not making downtown arena dealings more public - saying "public communications is not in (his) nature. Chalk that up as a personal shortcoming."
"The simple fact is that the Oilers need Edmonton, and Edmonton needs the Oilers," he writes.
"We are continuing to work with city administration to forge a win-win partnership that will benefit our city and that we can all be proud of."
Katz ends the letter by asking for the public's support.
"I hope we can count on your support," he writes.
Earlier this month city council revealed that the Katz' group had asked for additional public funding for the downtown arena, which council had turned down.
Mayor Stephen Mandel had then invited the Katz Group to discuss the arena project in public, which the group turned down.
Speculation over whether Katz' would try to move the Oilers to another market soared when Katz, Patrick LaForge, Kevin Lowe and others were in Seattle for meetings earlier this week.
On Saturday, Coun. Kim Krushell said Katz’ apology is a good step to hopefully move the projec forward.
“I think that the apology was due,” she said. “I do think that it’s a positive step and now let’s work on getting a deal here.”
Krushell says Katz’ trip to Seattle this week did not sit well with Edmontonians.
“I thought it was not a good negotiating tactic,” she said.
“I think that what Katz has finally figured out is that it leaves a bad taste in the mouth of Edmontonians when they see him do these kinds of things and I think Seattle really did not hit a cord for Edmontonians.”
The mayor has set Oct. 17 as a hard deadline for the city and the Katz Group to come to an agreement over the downtown arena project.
Before the Katz Group had requested additional public funding for the arena earlier this month – the project had been estimated to cost $450 million.
The original framework agreed upon saw Katz contributing $100 million to that.
Another $125 million would come from a ticket tax and the city would contribute $125 million – but at this point it is still unclear where the remaining $100 million would come from.