#107 – The Cult(ure) of Hockey, Special Edition: The Katz Group of Companies

Next up, a Canadian family business!

Let’s back up. The Edmonton Oilers are owned by Rexall Sports, which is itself a part of the Katz Group of Companies. This explains why the Oilers play in Rexall Place rather than, say, Sloppy Gooey Sandshit Place. The Oilers are at least well-connected to the morphine, given that the Oilers have lost more games than they have won for the last five seasons in a row. But that’s okay because they once had THE GREAT ONE, He who can only be spoken of in hushed whispers, He who knows all from wine to politics. That’s right – His Gretzkyness himself once played here.

How much does CEO Daryl Katz love hockey? Well, he once bought the multi-million dollar house next door to his own so as to demolish it and build a practice hockey rink for his children. This is akin to Will Smith’s After Earth – you cannot simply fund your children into attaining your dreams for you. But he needs your help, Edmonton! He has a glorious vision of condos and entertainment in the legendarily buzzing Edmonton. All it will cost to make his dreams come true is the sale of your downtown space to a private interest and blind faith in a design scheme that places housing right next to a sports stadium. Because really – who likes sleep anyways? Why sleep when you can drink with your buddies whooo!!!

Amateur hour is okay for some things, but designing a downtown core is probably not one of those things. Even though Edmonton is a blighted concrete eyesore like the rest of Canada’s major cities, contextless development is rarely a good idea. Remember urban renewal and how well that turned out? Now put that in the hands of an English-Canadian businessman who is impulsive enough to demolish a neighbor’s house for the sake of hockey. That will never end badly! But Katz can’t do it alone – like I said, he needs your money to make his fantasy come true.

This is probably a bit dangerous, isn’t it? Letting the thought of a hockey team deflect what is in reality an incredibly rich man playing LEGO with real building and asking for your money and permission to do it is a profoundly dangerous thing to do, especially when a first-blush look at the design shows a major potential flaw for the poor suckers living there. The intersection between Canadian business culture, hockey, and urban space is not a thing I want to see.

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