Although the announcement has yet to be made official, the Edmonton Oilers appear to have added Hockey Canada President and CEO to its front office, according to Ken Campbell of The Hockey News. After the hiring of Craig Ramsay earlier this week, the Oilers have begun to make some aggressive moves both behind the bench and up top.
Speculation is rampant that Kevin Lowe may be stepping aside, a reality that would bring a smile to a large contingent of Oilers faithful. It’s more likely that he retains an advisory role, in much the same fashion as Kelly Buchburger is under the guise of player development. This could also have an impact on the fortunes of Patrick Laforge as well. A press conference has been called for tomorrow.
The hiring of Bob Nicholson is impressive. According to NHL.com,during his time as President and CEO of Hockey Canada, he has led the top hockey organization to winning 44 gold medals at various tournaments and championships including the last two Olympic teams. He has an intimate knowledge of the youth in Canadian hockey, and will bring valuable skills fostering successful rosters to the Oilers. Nicholson turned down offers from Vancouver and Washington.
Additionally, he will bring with him strong business acumen, as CEO of a major hockey organization. As previously mentioned, Lowe or Laforge or both could be gone tomorrow. Alternatively, they could both stay and Nicholson could oversee their activities. It makes sense to move Lowe to another area, but Laforge has a good track record.
We won’t know more until tomorrow afternoon, once the Oilers hold their press conference. Oiler fans ought to be excited. Nicholson knows how to assemble and run a successful organization, and his time with Hockey Canada familiarized himself with the likes of Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Daryl Katz has proven to be a successful business man but chances are he is hiring Nicholson to operate the day-to-day of the team from personnel to business matters.
Whether Lowe stays or goes, this is great for the organization and shows a willingness to move forward into a new era.