Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz made some rare public comments on Thursday in the midst of one of the franchise's worst seasons in the franchise's history.
The normally reclusive Katz, who hasn't spoken publicly since taking over ownership of the Oilers in July of 2008, joined Bob Stauffer on 630 CHED Radio and discussed the state of the club.
"I've been an Oilers fan for a lot longer than I've owned the team, and I'm not at all happy with how the team has performed," said Katz. "It's no fun for anybody. But most of all though, this experience has been no fun for our fans. I know it, our management knows it and our players know it. Last place is somewhere I never thought we would be, and it's completely unacceptable."
The Oilers are currently tied for last in the NHL in wins (19, with Toronto) and sit alone in last for points (44). Katz stated that general manager Steve Tambellini has full authority to make any changes to the team that he feels are necessary.
"Yes, there's absolutely no question," said Katz. "Tamby has the absolute green light to do whatever he needs to do to rebuild the hockey club. Notwithstanding the injuries, what we have to date is not working. That's clear. I expect, and we should all expect, to see some changes."
"Clearly we'll be opportunistic if we have a chance to upgrade our talent but there's no question that draft and development are absolutely a focus under our ownership," added Katz.
Katz also provided an update on his goal of building Edmonton a new arena. He reiterated his plan to contribute $100 million personally, alongside an investment by the city.
"The funding model that we advanced sees the city owning the arena. Our contribution in that regard can best be leveraged by facilitating a tax base that can assist the city in paying for the arena over a long period of time."
As the Oilers are set to miss the playoffs for a fourth straight season, Katz had some final comments to the team's fanbase.
"I know it has been frustrating, but I want to assure everybody that we did not get into this to fail. We got into this to return the Oilers to an elite status in the NHL. We are going to be absolutely relentless in pursuit of that goal."