Long-time Hockey Canada President and CEO Bob Nicholson was announced as Vice-Chairman of the Oilers Entertainment Group on Friday.
Nicholson has a hearty resume in the hockey world and a 14-year relationship with Edmonton Oilers President of Hockey Operations Kevin Lowe, who will also serve as Vice Chairman of OEG.
Lowe answered a question at the press conference pertaining to Nicholson’s role with hockey decisions. Lowe said he has great respect and a great relationship with Nicholson and that the new addition to the executive team is “As passionate in fixing the Oilers as we are.”
The team will be welcoming Nicholson’s input and help in decision making in that department.
Lowe says Nicholson sat in on the Oilers pro scout meetings and he, “will be as involved as much as we can get him and I know that will be a massive addition to our organization.”
The Katz Group launched the Oilers Entertainment Group, which is a new sports and entertainment company that will manage the Katz Group’s “growing family of sports and entertainment assets.”
The corporate structure announced today includes Daryl Katz serving as Chairmen, with Kevin Lowe and Bob Nicholson serving in the role of Vice-Chairmen. Patrick LaForge becomes the President and COO.
Nicholson’s responsibilities will include fulfilling OEG’s “exciting vision” and growing the business. Lowe will continue to oversee hockey operations for the Oilers but will assist Nicholson in his role. LaForge will work with Lowe and Nicholson while being responsible for OEG’s business operations.
Newly launched sports and entertainment company, Oilers Entertainment Group, will have a solid leadership core that includes newly-appointed Bob Nicholson.
Nicholson, who recently retired as President and CEO of Hockey Canada, will assume the role of Vice-Chairman of OEG.
"Bob Nicholson is an exceptional talent with a world-class reputation and deep relationships across the hockey world, from junior player development to world-scale events and large corporate sponsors," said Daryl Katz in a press release. "He has been an innovator in driving new sport-based revenue models and we feel very fortunate he has chosen to move to Edmonton and become part of our team as we build a leading Canadian sports and entertainment company."
Nicholson brings a wealth of experience to OEG, serving as President and CEO of Hockey Canada since 1998 and Senior Vice President of the Canadian Hockey Association for the previous six years.
With Hockey Canada, Nicholson oversaw all operations from competitions that Canada participates in internationally. Under his watch, Canada has won 76 medals, with 44 of those being gold medals.
Stay tuned for more coverage today.
The Katz Group made a major announcement on Friday morning at the Westin Downtown in Edmonton.
Bob Nicholson, the long-time President and CEO of Hockey Canada, has been named as Vice-Chairman of Oilers Entertainment Group (OEG). OEG is a new sports and entertainment company that will manage the Katz Group’s “growing family of sports and entertainment assets.”
Oilers President of Hockey Operations Kevin Lowe has also been named Vice-Chairman of OEG. Oilers President and COO Patrick LaForge will assume the same title with OEG and will “be responsible for the group’s business operations.
Lowe will maintain a “leadership role with the organization’s Hockey Operations.”
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The Edmonton Oilers announced they have agreed to terms with centre Steve Pinizzotto on a one-year contract.
Pinizzotto, 30, appeared in six games with the Oilers last season, recording two assists and 15 penalty minutes. He posted his first career National Hockey League point and first multi-point game (2A) on April 12th against the Vancouver Canucks.
The 6’1”, 200-pound centre split the 2013-14 season between the American Hockey League’s San Antonio Rampage and Oklahoma City Barons, posting 25 points (12G, 13A) and 183 penalty minutes in 51 games.
A native of Mississauga, Ontario, Pinizzotto has appeared in 18 career National Hockey League games with the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers.
The Edmonton Oilers are hoping to utilize the young talent they’ve got on their roster to end a playoff drought that’s lasted since 2006. With that, they’ve also added an experienced Assistant Coach in Craig Ramssay.
Ramsay commented on coming to Edmonton and helping the team become competitive again in a phone interview shortly following the announcement.
“We all know there’s been tough times. But they’ve developed some nice hockey players and some good kids. They had a great feeling about where they were as an organization and they believed that there’s a good, strong future. I’ve had to rebuild a few places and it’s a challenge, it’s hard and you’ve got to keep a strong mental attitude, you’ve got to stay positive, you’ve got to keep convincing the kids that they’re going to be successful and that it might not happen tomorrow. It doesn’t happen because you just suddenly want it. It happens because you’re committed to it.
“I know Dallas (Eakins) is committed. He was a committed player, he’s a committed coach and Kevin (Lowe) and Craig MacTavish are good, solid people and that’s the thing that really turned me on to this position.”
At the close of a difficult season for the Edmonton Oilers, Head Coach Dallas Eakins spoke to the players and made a promise to do everything in his power to improve the team. That includes a challenge to the players, while Eakins looks to improve himself and the staff around him.
The Oilers announced the hiring of the experienced Craig Ramsay as Assistant Coach on Tuesday.
“I really felt it was a necessity,” Eakins said on Oilers Now. “The one thing that I spoke to the players at the end of the season was I challenged them to find a way to come into this season to be better. How could they improve, how could they make the people next to them better, how could they make our organization better and I stood in front of them and told them that I will not leave any stone unturned this summer improving myself. If I thought there could be improvements to the staff or the way we would do things, I would do that. I’m upholding my end of the bargain. I think this will help our group.”
Craig Ramsay has been around the NHL block. After a long playing career with the Buffalo Sabres, Ramsay broke into the coaching ranks following retirement. He has made stops in seven cities in either an assistant, associate or head coaching capacity.
His next stop is Edmonton, where he was named as the team’s new assistant coach on Tuesday.
Even after a long career, Ramsay still brings a new-age approach to the game. It is one of the many reasons the Oilers wanted to bring him in.
“I think that’s why he’s so well-respected,” Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins said. “He’s up-to-date, he’s a sought after coach and when we got into the talks, the thing that really struck me with him was how aggressive he likes to see the game played. That is something that we want to take another step at. It fits right in with my philosophy and the way we’re going. A lot of times when you pick up a much older coach, it’s that same-old defensive way of playing and that’s not the case with Craig. Craig wants to play an extremely aggressive game, an exciting game and if you’re watching the NHL playoffs that’s what is going on now.”
In addition to his up-to-date philosophies, it is also his teaching abilities that are expected to make an impact in Edmonton.
“His teaching abilities are incredible,” Eakins said. “That’s something that with our group that we greatly need. His dealings with the players are very personal, a lot of one-on-one interaction which I think is extremely important. It turned into an easy decision with the other candidates that were out there.”
With the Edmonton Oilers announcing the hiring of Craig Ramsay as Assistant Coach on Tuesday, there will also be some shuffling of the previous staff. Kelly Buchberger’s transition into player personnel was announced along with the press release.
Head Coach Dallas Eakins was on Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer shortly following the announcement and provided an update on where the staff stands with Ramsay on board.
“Those are tough decisions,” Eakins said. “Not only for myself in trying to improve our team by adding somebody experienced like Craig Ramsay but it’s decisions too by Craig (MacTavish) and by Kelly. I believe I’m not speaking out of turn, that this is something that Kelly had been looking at before. It’s never an easy thing but when changes are made it turns into opportunity with new jobs and I believe that’s how Kelly is looking at this.”
Eakins also said that Steve Smith is someone who may be shifting roles.
"Steve is an excellent coach and he is somebody that we’re in discussions with now with a new role and it's something that he’s going to have to consider.”
The Edmonton #Oilers have hired Craig Ramsay as an Assistant Coach; Kelly Buchberger transitions into new role in Player Personnel.— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) June 10, 2014
Ramsay is a former player, drafted in the second round in 1971 by the Buffalo Sabres. He played 14 seasons in the NHL (1971-1985), all with the Sabres. He appeared in 776 consecutive games (1973-1983), which is the fourth longest consecutive games streak in NHL history.
He won the Frank J. Selke Trophy in 1985.
In 1987, Ramsay became an assistant on the Sabres staff and later served as interim head coach. He also served in a role as the team’s director of player personnel and assistant general manager.
After breaking into coaching with Buffalo, Ramsay moved on to stops with the Florida Panthers, Ottawa Senators, Philadelphia Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Boston Bruins, Atlanta Thrashers and back to the Florida Panthers.
He has been a head coach with the Sabres (interim), the Flyers, and most recently with the Thrashers in 2010-11.
Ramsay has nearly 40 years of NHL experience as a player and coach.