PRESIDENT & CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER OEG
That leadership, in a large part, stems from Patrick LaForge. Founded on his prior experience with leading sports and entertainment organizations in hockey, ski racing, auto racing, horse racing and professional rodeo, Patrick has delivered significant highlights since joining the Oilers in 2000.
He created the concept and was the driving force behind The Heritage Classic, the first regular season outdoor NHL game, played November 22, 2003. More than 57,000 hockey fans braved bone-chilling temperatures to watch the Oilers play the Montreal Canadiens in Commonwealth Stadium. That one event became the template for the Winter Classic, now a marquee event in the NHL schedule.
Patrick guided the creation of the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation, which has gifted more than $25 million to charities across Oil Country since 2001. He secured the return of one of the most storied franchises in Canadian junior hockey, bringing the Oil Kings back to Edmonton. In 2012, he was proud to participate in the hosting of the World Junior Hockey Championships. Away from the rink, he oversaw a more recent addition to the portfolio: Aquila Productions, Canada’s leading full service, multi-media production company, which is currently most famous for producing Oil Change, the real life docudrama of life inside the Edmonton Oilers.
As the NHL lock-out was wrapping up it was Patrick’s idea to have the Oilers play shinny outdoors on the pond in Hawrelak Park, a return to the origins of the game and a delightful treat for Oilers faithful after months without their Oilers.
Patrick is responsible for strategically growing the sports and entertainment portfolio of Oilers Entertainment Group, while overseeing relations with fans, customers and commercial partners, and the remarkable growth of the brand has resulted in 343 consecutive Oilers sellouts at the 2013-14 NHL season end. Patrick’s responsibilities are shifting dramatically to include leadership of day-to-day operations of Rogers Place, Edmonton’s new iconic downtown arena, which will open its doors to the world in 2016.
LaForge’s life away from the office includes being an Alternate Governor of the NHL and a Governor of the WHL. Patrick is a Past Chair of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce and he was chosen as a Top 50 Most Influential Person in Alberta by Alberta Venture Magazine and recipient of the Consumer Choice Award as Edmonton Business Person of the year, both in 2008. He was named a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International in 2013 and he was selected as a Globe and Mail Top 25 Sports Leader in Canada in 2002 and 2003.
Patrick was born in Lac la Biche and raised in Edmonton. Prior to joining the Oilers, he held two Vice President positions with Molson Coors Breweries and was President and CEO of Alpine Canada, as well as serving on the Executive Board of the Canadian Olympic Committee.
He graduated from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and completed the Executive Management Program at the University of Michigan.