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Cal Nichols

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Cal Nichols spearheaded the group which would later become the Edmonton Investors Group which owns the National Hockey League's Edmonton Oilers.[1]

Business & Personal BioEdit

Born in Paradise Hill, Saskatchewan, Cal started his business career in 1962 as the Imperial Esso Agent in St. Walburg, Saskatchewan. In 1969, Cal and his wife Edna moved to Edmonton. Over the next thirteen years Cal would pursue various business and career opportunities with Imperial Oil. He was the commission bulk agent for Esso in Edmonton from 1972 through 1981, and served as Chairman of the Esso Agents Prairie Region Advisory Board. During his tenure, this became the largest Esso Agency in Canada. In 1983, anticipating the de-regulation of the crude oil and natural gas markets, Cal and two associates founded Northridge Canada Inc. which became Canada's largest, privately-held, crude oil and natural gas trading company. Northridge was ultimately sold to TransCanada Pipelines. In 1985, Cal created Gasland Oil, with its head office in Edmonton. Gasland grew to have over 50 branded petroleum outlets in Western Canada, many with convenience stores and other customer facilities. Cal sold substantially all of Gasland's petroleum marketing business in 1996 to Husky Energy, but retained Gasland Properties Ltd., he has therefore shifted his focus to developing that company's various holdings. In May 2002, Cal was inducted into the Alberta Business Hall of Fame.[2]

Edmonton Investors GroupEdit

Cal is best known locally for his desire to retain NHL hockey in Edmonton.[3] In 1996, Cal co-chaired the Friends of the Oilers ticket drive campaign. Starting with a meager 6,200 in season ticket sales Nichols orchestrated more than doubling that number to over 13,000, thus averting the risk of the team moving. In 1997, when the franchise was put up for sale, Nichols spearheaded the bid from a local ownership group by co-ordinating raising the $60 million in equity required to purchase the team. His motivation for this was to see Edmonton remain as a "Major League City." Cal started his tenure as chairman of the Edmonton Investors Group board in 1998.[4]

In the 2006–07 NHL season the Oilers sold out every home game for the first time, despite missing the playoffs by a substantial margin. The ownership group then reportedly received a C$145 million offer from local billionaire Daryl Katz for the franchise, although Nichols subsequently said the team was not for sale[5]. Daryl Katz upped the offer to $150 million, but was turned down again.

On August 7, Daryl Katz made a 3rd offer for the team of $185 million. Cal Nichols, chairman of the board for the Edmonton Investors Group, said the attempts to buy the team have caused "collateral damage" and he hoped the outright refusal brings closure to a vocal debate that has divided the group and the wider community since Katz's first offer. Nichols was quoted as saying "This is not about dollars. This is about Edmonton. An ownership group is best-suited for Edmonton and the Oilers."[6].

On December 13, 2007 Daryl Katz submitted a 4th formal offer to the Edmonton Investors Group to buy the franchise. The offer was $188 million to the EIG shareholders, plus another $100 million towards the building of a new arena in downtown Edmonton, as well as a new state of the art training facility located at the University of Alberta.[7] Cal Nichols indicated that he would accept the offer for his share of the team, but that the EIG had to have the owners of 2/3 of the shares agree to the proposal. Cal Nichols resigned as chairman of the board of directors for the EIG on December 13, 2007.[8] Assuming the position of chairman of the board was Bill Butler, a minority shareholder & real estate developer.[9] The EIG will be meeting to decide on the bid in January, 21st 2008.[10]

ReferencesEdit

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