notes on government, sports and popular culture
.......Carolina Hurricanes vs. Houston Oilers for the Stanley Cup.....NYT profile
on the Edmonton Oilers
The Oilers, unlike the former Harford Whalers, resisted the Southern hockey migration, in the process weathering tough times north of the border before Cal Nichols stepped in:
"Fans in Edmonton knew what was happening. In 1995, the Quebec Nordiques became the Colorado Avalanche. In 1996, the Winnipeg Jets became the Phoenix Coyotes. Edmonton appeared to be next, and the season-ticket base fell to a low of 6,200.
"The league tried to prop up the remaining Canadian teams by offering millions of dollars of assistance if franchises could increase season-ticket sales to 13,000, among other requirements. That is when Nichols, a plain-talking, self-made millionaire from Saskatchewan, who had founded a chain of gas stations called Gasland, threw his business acumen, and part of his fortune, behind the franchise. He steered the successful ticket drive......
"Still, the Oilers were a tough sell, at least until a Houston businessman made an offer to buy the team and move it to Texas. That provided the necessary urgency....."