If you're an Oilers fan and haven't been living in a cave for the last week, chances are you've heard of a facebook page that's been gaining traction in the Edmonton media recently. Titled "Kevin Lowe has to go", the page has been steadily gaining likes and is currently poised to reach 8000 of them.
The pages creator, known as "John", was quoted by the Edmonton Sun regarding his reasons for starting the FB page:
“In the end, this thing should run like a business and your president is responsible for anything that goes on underneath him,” said John. “If I owned a company and my president fires five key employees in six years, there’s something wrong with policy not the employee.”
Personally, I couldn't agree more with "John" and have been calling for a total overhaul of upper management since Ryan Smyth was first traded over 100k. Agree or disagree with him, someone who can garner that kind of attention in such a short amount of time for a cause they are passionate about at least deserves a little respect.
Not if your the Edmonton Oilers, however. Last Friday, "John" and some of his supporters were handing out stickers to support their cause outside of Rexall place when they were kicked off the property by security. While I understand Northlands is well within their legal rights, what followed is absolutely disgraceful.
After leaving the premises and handing out stickers at the adjacent LRT station, one of the group returned to Rexall Place to retrieve his/her car and was promptly slapped with a ticket and a one year ban to Rexall Place.
What does it say about an organization that is so out of touch with their fanbase that they are willing to ban them for an entire year for the simple act of protest? From confiscating paper bags which were to be worn as symbols of shame at the door, alienating fans by categorizing them as "tier 1 and tier 2", to banning someone for an act of protest, it is clear that the goodship Oiler is in troubled waters and there is nobody in the wheelhouse.
Further evidence of high strangeness in Oilerville could be seen today on an Edmonton Sun article detailing these events. A poll listed below the article itself asked fans: "Does Kevin Lowe got to go?". At one point, The votes were 1338 for yes, and a meager 67 for no. A mere 20 minutes later, the "no" votes tallied well over 2600. One can only surmise that everyone working for the oilers in any capacity were summarily threatened with termination from Lowe himself if they didn't promptly vote in his favor.
It seems strange that an organization that was once so proud and well respected in the league has come to this. The pressure is mounting however, and it is only a matter of time until Daryl Katz will have little recourse but to respond. In the meantime, it is sadly surreal to see Kevin Lowe reduced to such a pariah in the city that once adored him. From his career with the birth of the Oilers, Lowe has earned his rightful place in Oilers history. Sadly, his career in management has not shone nearly as bright, and it would be better for everyone involved if he kept what dignity he has left and resigned.
UPDATE, Jan 14th, 2014:
It would seem the fire lowe campaign has gained so much traction that the top brass of the oilers front office have taken notice and have issued a directive to censor anything having to do with Kevin Lowe from the official oilers message boards. Multiple threads have been deleted as well as status updates, and long time members are leaving in droves as a result.
The last desperate death rattle of a dying tyrant or the tightening of his grip?