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Katz promises to continue Oilers' legacy

Ryan Rishaug

2/6/2008 10:36:54 AM

His pharmaceutical empire includes more than 1,800 stores and his net worth is pegged at over $2 billion.

But aside from those facts, what do we know about Edmonton billionaire Daryl Katz? We know he desperately wants to own the Edmonton Oilers and with that in mind, Katz and his PR staff created a booklet entitled, 'Building on the Legacy.'

The book outlines who Katz is, why he wants to buy the team and what his long-term intentions are. It was intended to be presented to individuals who could potentially be selling the team, namely members of the Edmonton Investors Group.

That was supposed to happen in a meeting earlier this month, but as it turns out, Katz was never officially invited to that meeting and the book never got into their hands.

The 13-page book is filled with great photos of the Oilers from past and present, including a shot of the team at the bench celebrating their third Stanley Cup in 1987. Just three rows up is a 28-year-old Katz cheering them on.

Katz, who grew up in Edmonton, attended law school at the University of Alberta and built his family's local business into a multi-billion dollar empire in less than a decade.

As for his reasons for wanting to buy the Oilers, Katz says in the book, "I was born in Edmonton, I live in Edmonton and I grew up here with the Oilers during the glory years. I want to own the Oilers because they are Edmonton's hockey team and because I think there is an opportunity, through the Oilers, to do great things for the city."

Part of that plan is to build a new arena for the team, which Katz has pledged $100 million of his own money into.

Important figures such as Edmonton mayor Stephen Mandel and former Oilers Mark Messier and Wayne Gretzky are also quoted in the book.

"Daryl Katz is a wonderful Edmontonian," Gretzky is quoted as saying in the release. "I know he cares about the city and I think he would be a tremendous owner for the Edmonton Oilers."

"With Daryl, you are getting a guy that knows what it means to be an Oiler," added Messier. "That can't be taken lightly. He was there when it was at its best and he saw what it's supposed to look like."

Another important part of Katz's vision is the Rexall Place founders' lounge in the new arena. It is Katz's way of pay tribute to the individuals who kept the Oilers in Edmonton and rescued from its financial peril in the 1990s.

It's clear from Katz's presentation that this move is more than just business sense. He knows the Oilers are intensely personal to the men that own it, and the book was an attempt to prove to them that it is just as personal to him.

Ryan Rishaug covers the Oilers and Eskimos from Edmonton for TSN. His reports can be seen nightly on SportsCentre and TSN.ca.