I’m not sure what’s going to come out of the keys over the next paragraph or two, so bear with me.
I’ve kept quiet about the arena shenanigans for a while, but here my hand is forced.
Here’s what I know for certain:
- John MacKinnon wrote this article in yesterday’s Journal. It depicts a couple of unfavourable situations for the Oilers. In the piece, MacKinnon strongly suggests that the arena get built. This isn’t the first of this sort of story I’ve read, and it probably won’t be the last. He brings out a valid point that the current lease deal expires in June of 2014, and that’s something that we all should keep in our minds. I respect MacKinnon and his opinion, even though it might be different from mine. So far, so good.
- MacKinnon posts that story to his Twitter account. Ten different people might have ten different opinions about how this new arena will get funded. Most agree that a new arena is in order. Getting to that bridge the tough part. MacKinnon is one opinion out of many. Again, so far, so good.
Then on Saturday night, this.
— Edmonton Oilers (@NHL_Oilers) September 22, 2012
I’d like to think that this could be one of those moments like when someone might have hacked into the Calgary Flames’ Twitter account and sent that tweet about Ales Hemsky’s recent contract extension. It’s been nearly three hours after this masterpiece came over the Oilers’ official Twitter account, and there’s no retraction in site.
Is this a tacit endorsement of MacKinnon’s article? It looks that way more than not.
Yes, *I* have retweeted things that I haven’t necessarily endorsed. I’ve always argued that it’s a healthy part of discourse to engage in conversation with people who have ideas that aren’t the same as mine. But, I don’t think that’s what the Oilers were going for here. I believe this to be a less than tacit endorsement of what John MacKinnon wrote, and that is (to put it bluntly) if the Oilers don’t get the new arena, it’s a real threat they could skip town.
BEFORE WE GO ANY FURTHER
I don’t think the Oilers are going anywhere. I’m hard pressed to think that there are many cities in the US that are going to pony up the dough that Oiler fans pony up every game to see what they’ve seen as of late. I mean, seriously. Think about it. This team is six years and counting from seeing a playoff game, there are thousands and thousands of people on a waiting list for season tickets, and I can’t think of the last time the team didn’t sell out a home game.
Is it impossible for the Oilers to move away? No, very little is impossible. It’s highly improbable, however. This organization has done nothing but make money in recent years, and I can’t think that Katz (or anyone else) would gamble that on unproven dollars in the US or elsewhere.
Why would the Oilers retweet something that they didn’t endorse? It wasn’t even prefaced with a “Here’s another opinion…” type of tweet. This entire thing leaves a foul taste in most everyone’s mouth, as well it should. I mean, I don’t want to see that sort of thing, and I happen to write a website about a team that’s missed the playoffs for the last six years. Imagine how a message like the one sent from the club on Saturday night has got to resonate with people who have put their hard earned cash (and time) into this team for nearly 40 years.
It’s a threat.
It’s an empty threat, made to tug at the hearts of fans- fans that have continued to pour their time, their entertainment dollars, and their emotions into a team that has continually been bad since 2006.
And, it stinks.
UPDATE: It appears the tweet in question has been removed. Only about 19 hours overdue.
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