Penticton’s Bob Nicholson is excited about his new challenge as vice-chairman of the Oilers Entertainment Group after stepping down from Hockey Canada.
“The sports side of it I have a real good handle of it, a big part of why they went after me,” said Nicholson, who was hired by the OEG on June 13, in a phone interview with the Western News. “I’m going to keep my vice-president of International Ice Hockey Federation. The entertainment side of that is totally new. A big learning curve for me and a good challenge. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Nicholson recently retired as president and CEO of Hockey Canada and will assume his new role following a transition period.
The Oilers website stated in his role as vice-chairman, Nicholson will work closely with owner Daryl Katz and his management group to expand the group’s sports and entertainment offerings, deliver outstanding fan experiences, secure major new sponsorships and events, and operate Rogers Place, which is currently under construction. Nicholson will also serve as an alternate governor for the Edmonton Oilers on the NHL Board of Governors.
The main reason Nicholson accepted his new position, which he described as “unique for sport and entertainment” was the chance to work with Lowe again, who he won two Olympic gold medals with in 2010 and 2014. Nicholson wanted to build on that.
“Bob Nicholson is an exceptional talent with a world-class reputation and deep relationships across the hockey world, from junior player development to world-scale events and large corporate sponsors,” said Daryl Katz on the Oilers website. “He has been an innovator in driving new sport-based revenue models and we feel very fortunate he has chosen to move to Edmonton and become part of our team as we build a leading Canadian sports and entertainment company.”
In addition to the Oilers, OEG owns the 2014 Memorial Cup Champion Edmonton Oil Kings, the Oklahoma City Barons and the Bakersfield Condors, as well as Aquila Productions, an award-winning producer of film and television, live events and broadcasts, and corporate and branded messaging services.
Nicholson joined OEG after having discussions with Katz, who he has known for several years. Nicholson said there are some good pieces in place and is excited about the new building, which he said is going to be the premiere one in the NHL.
“Daryl’s vision is to bring in as many sport and entertainment acts as he can,” said Nicholson. “On top of that is to purchase more sport organizations. Whether they be in Europe or other parts of North America. That part really excites me.”
As president and CEO of Hockey Canada, Nicholson oversaw all operations for competitions that Canada participated in internationally, including in the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship program and Olympic Winter Games. He was senior vice-president of the Canadian Hockey Association from 1992 to 1998 and vice-president of programs with the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association from 1990 to 1991.