Power Play

Professional Hockey and the Politics of Urban Development

Table des matières

Foreword | Richard Gruneau xi
Preface xv
Acknowledgements xxi
Important Terms xxiii
1 Introduction 1
2 Boosting Edmonton 15
Hockey and the Promotion of the City, 1894–1977
3 The Blue Line and the Bottom Line 43
Peter Pocklington, the EIGLP, and the Business of Hockey in Edmonton,
4 Preparing the Political Terrain 67
5 Making the Team 89
6 Power Plays 119
7 Shut Out 139
8 Show Me the Money 167
9 End Game? 191
10 The Beat Goes On 213
11 Head Games 235
12 Lobbying the Province, Slamming Northlands 257
13 The Art of the Deal? 283
14 Conclusion 307
Epilogue 337
The Oilers Get a New Arena, So the Flames Want One, Too
Notes 357
Bibliography 409
Index 419

La description

Power Play tells a dramatic story about clashing priorities where sports, money, and municipal power meet. When the Rogers Place arena opened in downtown Edmonton, no amount of buzz could drown out the rumours of manipulation, secret deals, and corporate greed. Working with documentary evidence and original interviews, the authors present an absorbing account of the machinations that got the arena and the adjacent Ice District built, with a price tag of more than $600 million. The arena deal, they argue, established a costly public financing precedent that citizens should watch closely.


  • Short-listed, Scholarly and Academic Book of the Year | Alberta Book Awards, Book Publishers Association of Alberta 2020
  • Winner, Trade Non-Fiction Book of the Year | Alberta Book Awards, Book Publishers Association of Alberta 2020


# 7 on Edmonton's Bestselling Books list; Non-fiction, December 01, 2019

# 7 on Edmonton Non-Fiction Bestsellers list, November 24, 2019

- Edmonton Non-Fiction Bestsellers

# 8 on Glass Bookshop's Top 10 list, November 11, 2019

# 10 on Edmonton's Bestselling Books list; Non-fiction, February 09, 2020

- Edmonton's Bestselling Books

# 2 on Edmonton Non-Fiction Bestsellers list, November 03, 2019

- Edmonton Non-Fiction Bestsellers

Ten of the year's best books by local authors to look out for. Many sports fans may not be aware of the true costs behind one of Canada’s most beloved sports. Diving into the politics behind the Rogers Place deal, this book illuminates the facts previously shrouded in secrecy around the manipulation and machination that got the $600-million arena built.

- Fish Griwkowsky

# 8 on Glass Bookshop's Top 10 list, November 18, 2019

# 8 on Edmonton's Bestselling Books list; Non-fiction, December 08, 2019

# 2 on Edmonton's Bestselling Books list; Non-fiction, February 02, 2020

- Edmonton's Bestselling Books

"[The arena deal] was viewed by some as a catalyst for invigorating Edmonton’s downtown core and a way to lock in the city’s storied Oilers franchise. Others argued it was a gift to a billionaire businessman and the presumed result of backroom deals and public threats to move the team. Now, a new book sheds light on how Edmonton City Council reached the arena deal. "

- Jennifer Crosby

". ..a lot of things that a lot of political parties and governments do should be examined carefully. One informative way to look at them is to read the newly published Power Play. The book examines events leading to the City of Edmonton’s decision to provide most of the funding for the Edmonton Oilers’ new arena. ... The book’s real value lies in detailed recounting of how a big political battle was fought. Proponents of the arena deal were operating on articles of faith. ... The book outlines constant appeals to conventional wisdom. It implicitly raises the question of whether politicians act on a strong information base in such cases, or whether they make decisions on gut instinct and a strong pull toward going along with a crowd. "

- Mark Lisac

"Ultimately, Power Play asserts that the city was the biggest loser when it came to building the arena. The city financed a majority of the new arena at an enormous cost. ... While it agrees the arena has made positive contributions to Edmonton, it cautions future cities and arena developments to think critically about spending public dollars on private ventures. "

- Adam Lachacz

"Power Play: Professional Hockey and the Politics of Urban Development is an absolute masterpiece of civic journalism. "

- Fish Griwkowsky

"Readers interested in the business of sport will enjoy Power Play. But this book is really about how municipal politics can be hijacked. Themes of democracy, transparency and public participation in municipal politics run throughout the book. ... Power Play shows what can happen when local politics becomes enmeshed with local and international business interests. " [Full review at https://albertaviews. ca/power-play-professional-hockey-politics-urban-development/]

- Ryan Gauthier

# 1 on Edmonton Non-Fiction Bestsellers list, October 27, 2019

- Edmonton Non-Fiction Bestsellers

“The book adds significantly to literatures on the economics of sport, municipal government, and urban development by providing a detailed case study of the process and politics of sports facility construction, grounded in the distinct history and sporting experiences of a particular North American city…. Power Play provides a template for investigating and analyzing the political and economic issues that will be faced in the next decade or two by every North American city with a major professional sports franchise seeking public subsidies…. Power Play should go straight to the top of the reading list of anyone interested in the range of important issues illuminated by this carefully assembled and thought-provoking case study.” Stacy L. Lorenz, American Review of Canadian Studies, 51:4 [Full review at https://doi.org/10.1080/02722011.2021.1996932]

"Power Play delves into the dark world of billionaire club owners, weak mayors and unconscionable subsidies that litter the world of professional sports. The names and dollar values change, but these grinding sagas are all the same: One false move and the dummy gets it. Pay up or you lose the team. So, taxpayers pay and pay".

- Holly Doan

"Power Play is easy to understand, with a clear message: cities set to negotiate with professional sports teams must be aware there is a carefully-crafted playbook designed to attract maximum public dollars for sports facilities..."

- Liane Faulder

"Power Play is a book that needs to be out there, for the politicians, the protesters, the civic activists, the journalists, even the fans to read before the next power play by some rich owner, like, say Calgary or Ottawa.... As a reader, there's plenty to take away from Power Play, from the deep respect of all the research for the book to befuddlement at how public funds continue to fund rich people's toys." [Full review at https://www.sihrhockey.org/__a/public/column.cfm?cid=4]

- Greg Oliver, Society for International Hockey Research

"University of Alberta kinesiology professor Jay Scherer is one of the authors of the upcoming book Power Play: Professional Hockey and the Politics of Urban Development — a deep dive into Edmonton’s arena deal... 'Any time a city does a new deal, it does set a very powerful precedent that the city with the next-oldest arena is invited to meet, if not exceed, in terms of subsidy,' Scherer said."

- Madeline Smith, Toronto Star, 07/31/2019

# 3 on Edmonton Non-Fiction Bestsellers list, November 10, 2019

- Edmonton Non-Fiction Bestsellers

# 8 on Edmonton's Bestselling Books list; Non-fiction, January 5, 2020

# 5 on Edmonton's Bestselling Books list; Non-fiction, March 08, 2020

- Edmonton's Bestselling Books

"In Power Play, Jay Scherer, David Mills and Linda Sloan McCulloch not only clear the fog, they situate the whole ordeal as only the latest example of a long pattern of North American pro sports teams coercing public subsidies for new facilities.... No amount of massaging the messaging or shiny renderings will cover up the most fundamental divide in these debates: whether scarce public resources should be spent building something that will generate private profit, and which many citizens cannot reap the benefits of."

- Taylor Lambert

# 9 on Edmonton's Bestselling Books list; Non-fiction, December 15, 2019

"Part scholarly history, part muckraking exposé, part caution tale, the book tells the story of how the team’s owner, Darryl Katz, a millionaire drugstore chain magnate, enticed the City of Edmonton, its mayor and councillors, to rezone lands, relocate residents, and build the new facility so that the Oilers could leave their 'obsolete' digs in the Rexall Centre (once and now again the Northlands Coliseum) and inhabit a state-of-the-art, 'world-class' entertainment stage on par with those occupied by the NHL’s best-earning teams. Power Play explains an intricate deal in remarkably plain terms..." Andrew Holman, University of Toronto Quarterly, Summer 2021