Archive for November, 2009

Mission Statement

Posted: November 19, 2009 in General, NHL, Oilers, Uncategorized

The Edmonton Oilers are a business.  As a businessman myself, there is always a hierarchy in any corporate structure.  The strange thing about corporate structure is that you generally will have a clearly defined Mission Statement.

Personally, I don’t know what the Oilers’ Mission Statement is, or how they conduct their business, but let’s try to examine what it could be, and what the team is and see if we can find a correlation within. (A nice big shout out to Lowetide, whose Letter to Katz was the inspiration to this blog entry)

A good mission statement indicates what the purpose of the organization is.  What is the Oilers’ reason for being?  Historically what was it?  How has present ownership changed the mission statement from the previous organization.

In the Pocklingtonian Era, there was only one part of the mission statement that mattered.  “The Edmonton Oilers organization will be built to win the Stanley Cup, as soon and as often as possible.”  Thus within a short five years, and then five times by 1990, the team had fulfilled their mission statement and was a model franchise, although some levels of complacency and other factors exhibited pressure on the organization to change this fact.

Backlash against Pocklington, and escalating salaries turned the Mission Statement into.  “A team looking to continue our legacy in spite of economic and social factors to the contrary.”   Economically the team couldn’t continue as the preeminent franchise in the league due to a saggy Canadian Dollar, escalating salaries, and partial failure of the team to replenish after their first group of young stars were long traded away.  Complacency be thy name.

By the late 90s, the Mission Statement must have been “A team looking to survive in the NHL and poor ownership.”  Cal Nichols and the EIG took over in 1998.

Executing a survival plan to keep the team in Edmonton, Nichols and the large consortium would have probably considered something to the effect of “An organization ingrained in the fabric of the city designed to provide entertainment, prestige, and partnership in the community.”  The Oilers were “saved” so that Edmonton could still have an NHL team, and the community could still have one of the shiniest jewels in their history.  Dealing with too many owners, team patriarch Glen Sather left to Broadway, and Kevin Lowe, tied to the team’s history forever took over.  For the few seasons that Sather was still around after Pocklington, the team wasn’t successful, but for a short period, many in the community were likely just happy to have a team.

Since the Lowe era began in 2000, the Mission of “Competitive while surviving economically.” would be the primary thought.  Just make it to the CBA, and maybe we can get a league wide economic system that would stop the team from barely being competitive, to competitve, and gosh darn it, maybe champion again.  Who knows, maybe the “rush” of the new economic order excited the franchise to have one season of “Infuse talent into the team to be as competitive as possible.”  Adding Pronger, Peca, and later Spacek and Samsonov to a team that provided a great run although unlikely since the Oilers were actually fortunate that they could back into the playoffs due to Canuck ineptitude.

Since Prongergate and the plentiful nicknames heaped on the gap toothed one, the team has been struggling for identity.  The Mission Statement perpetually blurred.  Is this team rebuilding?  Are we competitive?  Does the team continually look to land a big fish but end up hungry because of its own blindness?  It seems lately the team has pursued and pursued the highest of talents and come away empty.  The Mission Statement “To acheive success by acquiring elite talent either by free agency or trade.” would be more apropos.

The funny thing is, that regardless, we cheer, we follow, we watch, we buy PPV, and attend games for a team without clear and concise leadership and identity.  With our new owner, the team was supposed to have new found direction and leadership and a Mission Statement that we can all believe in.  The team economically is a license to print money, so unless Katz is one of those meddling owners with a play thing, the fan base wants the Mantra to become “To build a successful franchise worthy of their storied history.”  The disappointing part is that since Darryl Katz took over, there seems to be no steps taken in this regard.