Thursday, March 01, 2007


Ladies & Gentlemen, Your Edmonton Oilers

Via Covered in Oil, a horrific story about how the Edmonton Oilers treated a season ticket holder and his nephew on "Mark Messier Night."

Moments after he and his nephew walked into the main concourse, he says he was tapped on the shoulder by two men in suits. They identified themselves as representatives of the Oilers and asked Vaughan and his nephew to accompany them.

Vaughan says they were taken to a room where the men told him to rip off the duct tape. He said he refused and tried walking to the door, when one of the broad-shouldered men blocked it. “He bluntly said I was not going to leave with that written on my back,” said Vaughan. “I said, ‘Are you threatening me?’"

If this story is true (and the fact that the Oilers office won't return calls on it leads me to think that it is), Vaughan shouldn't just be re-considering buying season tickets again. He should be talking to a lawyer about suing the men who held him in the room. Last time I checked, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms says that we have "the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure" and "the right not to be arbitrarily detained or imprisoned."* Last time I checked, we have rights that prevent us from being arbitrarily seized, detained and prevented from expressing ourselves. That's especially true when you are talking about being held and detained aginst your will by two thugs of the Edmonton Oilers.

*My rudimentary understanding of Canadian law is exposed in the comments.

Oh, and just because I can:



I just had an old sentiment reoccur to me in a new context:

Am I ever glad it isn't the Stanley Cup Champions pulling this bullshit.

Last time I checked, the Charter doesn't apply to private businesses. There are common law torts for such a thing - false imprisonment springs to mind - but the Charter is inapplicable to this situation.

That said, I wouldn't object if someone took a run at this prohibition of free speech within the confines of the Rex. The only way I can see to do it is by arguing that Northlands is covered by the Charter, which may or may not be true. I have a feeling tonight's game might be a zoo.

Last time I checked, the Charter doesn't apply to private businesses.

I think that idea went by the wayside long ago, no?

Nope. Still well entrenched.

Nope. Still well entrenched.

I realize that this isn't a hockey convo, but I'm intrigued. What about the Vriend case?

Vriend was about whether or not the Alberta government could discriminate against gays and lesbians in its human rights legislation. Human rights legislation does apply to private actors but generally doesn't include any guarantees of freedom of speech or freedom from illegal search. As I mentioned, you've got tort remedies for the latter. I hope the guy sues, although it's an expensive way to make a point.

I hate agreeing with Tyler, but he's right. It's not a Charter case. (In Vriend, the plaintiff was employed in the public sector, I think? Uof A maybe?)

The Oilers, who I think control Rexall, can probably exclude anyone they want who is wearing attire they consider offensive.

Still, this seems a bit over the top. This message was not particularly offensive to anyone, except perhaps, one K. Lowe. It strikes me as a bit of a comical response to the events of the day and one would think the Oilers security would have treated it that way (it doesn't use curse words, it's not violent, what's the big deal?).

He might have a false imprisonment sort of claim. He's also a public relations problem now for an organization which does not need any more public relations problems. Pursuing his beef in the press is likely the most effective way for him to get some recourse.

Vriend was about whether or not the Alberta government could discriminate against gays and lesbians in its human rights legislation.

So Kings College wasn't sued?

You would think, if it wasn't obscene, they would leave it alone. Had they done so, he would have vented, gotten some high-fives from other fans, and that would have been it. Now they have called more attention to the situation and made it a bigger deal than it might have been by treating it as a bigger deal themselves.

Corporate gorillas will never learn.

Nope, he sued the government of Alberta. I think King's College was the only party in Alberta that didn't intervene though - check out the style of cause.

The only free speech that the Oilers will take seriously is the non-renewal of season tickets. If nothing else, the last few days have certainly shown how far the Oilers will push the loyalty and general good will of their fan base.

Right, that's how it worked. Vriend made a Human Rights complaint against his employer (the Human Rights Act applies to public and private bodies). The Act did not expressly protect him from discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation, and the SCC found that (the Act) violated the Charter. Kind of a roundabout way of getting there.

But this fellow does not have the same discrimination kind of case. And a false imprisonment claim is not worth much $$$.

But still, what a bonehead move for an organisation that needed to reach out to its fans, that night more than most.

How is this different from the Oilers confiscating anti-Pronger signs earlier this season? I don't agree with it, but it is their right. This upset season ticket holder: suck it up and quit being a baby.

This comment has been removed by the author.

I truly fail to see what the big deal is. It's a private business, after all. It's not like the two security guys whooped his ass or anything, so I'm surprised at all the indignant shock and awe at this story.

Would any team's arena accept a fan with a "[GM's name here] sucks!" sign or jersey? Doubtful.

oilers suck!!! GO FLAMES GO!!!!

To elaborate on Peter's explanation of Vriend,

1. Vriend tried to take King's College to the Alberta Human Rights Commission over wrongful dismissal. He was rebuffed since sexual orientation wasn't a grounds for wrongful discrimination complaints under the Alberta Human Rights Act.

2. Vriend then took the Alberta Government to court for not including sexual orientation as a grounds for wrongful discrimination complaints. He took the case all the way to the Supreme Court and won.

3. Vriend now needed to refile a complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission. However, he never did. Speculation is that his lawyers felt there was a good chance he wouldn't win, and they didn't want to go out on a losing note. They won at the Supreme Court, and the media, who don't understand the first thing about the law, were saying he'd won over wrongful dismissal (which he hadn't yet)—if he now lost over wrongful dismissal he'd look a little stupid and everything would be confused.

I recommend you blame the media for not having a clue about the law. In general, when the media starts to comment on legal rulings or judges, I find they're wrong more than 50% of the time. It's pretty unfortunate for the public's understanding of the law since most people aren't going to read court rulings to find out the real story.

Also, on the issue of the fans being "detained", I'm pretty sure that the Oilers include in their terms of sale of tickets that they can prevent customers from doing/saying thing which they disagree with. If not, the Oilers' lawyers are idiots.

Note, however, that even with such a disclaimer, the Oilers aren't necessarily free to do as they will. A court would have to make that determination under torts law, but the disclaimer would make winning very difficult for the fans. Real lawyers could give a more precise explanation of all this.

Interesting to listen to Lowe this evening on McCowan's TV/radio show on Sportsnet: basically he defended the deal on hockey terms. I believe paraphrasing, Lowe explained that Smyth was a very good player but not an elite one. And that Smyth was a career 25 goal scorer. In fairness to KLo he did answer some tough questions about the day of the trade and whether he got full value, and also about the sequence of signings last summer and the possiblity of signing Ryan sooner. The biggest factor for me though, was when he admitted that if the Oilers were a playoff club, they probably would've accepted Smyth's offer.

Oh and by the way, MAB has a goal and Smyth has an assist as NYI are leading 2-0 over the blues in the third.

I think the Islanders just got Stempniaked.

If I recall correctly King's College wasn't actually discriminating against Vriend on the basis of sexual orientation. Vriend was dismissed because of a morals clause in his contract. The morals clause allowed the employer to terminate an employee in the event of an extramarital affair. The clause was no doubt intended to cover heterosexual employees but was applicable to Vriend a he admitted to an extramarital (homosexual) affair. As I understand it Vriend had no case against Kings but the situation was used by the gay rights movement to challenge the Alberta government in court over gay rights.


Suddenly Matt Greene is our best player...

C'mon Oilers, I know you took one in the gonads, but 1 goal in 3 games?! If you're going to lay down for NW teams you better do the same for the Flames.

I believe paraphrasing, Lowe explained that Smyth was a very good player but not an elite one. And that Smyth was a career 25 goal scorer.

I'm not surprised he said that at all. The re-writing of Smyth's value will continue, until half the people in Edmonton are convinced he had the skills of Kelly Buchberger.

You know guys, the real villian here is still Chris Pronger.

He doesn't leave, and the Oilers and in the playoffs this year. That happens, and Smyth is still an oiler.

Yet again, Fuck Chris Pronger.

hey, at least we screwed the Flamers tonight!

One word: FANTANK

Here's a thought. The first guy who is gonna become a start to finish Oiler for his entire career is probably going to be Fernando Pisani. Think about it.

Anybody go to the game tonight? How was the crowd?

Go here:

Ya, I'd like to know about the crowd, too. Anyone?

At the end of the third Smid had two short shifts and then didn't play for the last 5 minutes. God Forbid, did anyone see if anything happened to him?

And good on MacT for finally reigning in Lupul. The stupid twat only took 7 shifts that were longer than a minutes and only two longer than a hundred seconds. Something must be getting through.

i think i cried more in the smyth conference than ryan did. if it seriously was a total 500,000 then i think i'm going to haul out that original issue oil kings jersey. i can afford tickets to their games on a regular basis. the whl is a great league, with great hockey. i'm passionate about hockey because i grew up playing it in the streets, on the rink my dad built every year under the barn flood lights, in my basement. i dont need light shows and gimmicks. i need players with heart, people who care about the game, owners who care more about the heart and skill the player possesses than million dollar contracts. maybe i'm just jaded.

And Boogard took out another one of our players? Thank goodness we got rid of Laraque.


Unfortunately not everybody has bothered to print Smyth's flat denial that the two sides were that close.

"Smyth denied reports he and the Oilers split because of a difference of $100,000 per season. 'That's not right. There is more to it than that. If that was true I would've...' he said before catching himself."

It doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to deduce how that sentence was going to finish.

Torres is an absolute tool. He causes more problems than he solves.

Lowe is on BT this morning, and hinted at a farm team deal happening soon.

Flames fans, the word for what you are feeling is Schadenfreude.

Flames fans, the word for what you are feeling is Schadenfreude.

No, Schadenfreude was the Pronger fiasco. This is just pilling on.

Regardless if its a Charter case or not, if they are not an officer of the law, you cannot be detained by them.

But would Sherlock Holmes kindly figure out what "more to it than that" means? That lends credibility to Lowe's statement that it was not a financial decision. I've already read his double-talk and painted Lowe (and those above him) as the bad guy in my mind, I'm not ready to believe him.

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