Jump to content

Potential owner for Edmonton W-League

Recommended Posts

I know this sounds like a joke, but I really hope that other possible investors step forward rather than Mel Kowalchuk. If this thing comes through, quite likely that Mel may revive the old Edmonton Drillers name. However, many investors are affraid of investing money on the men's team.

Another kick for Mel?

26 Jul 2004


Mel Kowalchuk is toying with the idea of getting back into the business of soccer. The former GM of both the Edmonton Brickmen and Edmonton Drillers indoor team will consider the possibility of pursuing a purchase of the Aviators W-League women's club - but only if all of his pressing baseball business is cleared up soon.

Kowalchuk - the GM and president of the Northern League expansion ball club set to start next spring - wants to first settle the issue of the baseball team's lease agreement for Telus Field with the City first.

"When I feel confident that the lease is in place, I will look into it - but only on the women's side," said Kowalchuk, who will operate the baseball team for owner Dan Orlich. "And we'll only do it if no one else steps up. We might take a serious look at it because people tell me there is potential there for the women's team."


Exactly who Kowalchuk and Orlich, or any other party for that matter, would pitch an offer to is somewhat of a tangle.

The ownership group that relinquished its rights to the men's A-League team last week, said at the time that it would welcome an offer for the women's team. But indications from the United Soccer Leagues are that the 19 investors defaulted on the rights to the women's team as well.

The USL and A-League team owners are footing the bill for the men's team - now known as Edmonton FC - for the rest of the 2004 campaign.

Kowalchuk said he would likely look at either Clarke Park or Foote Field as the venue, figuring on an operating budget of about $200,000 Cdn, with a target of 1,500 fans per game.

Kowalchuk also confirmed that Edmonton FC boss Joe Petrone received a call from an interested party last week.

"I think pro teams are good for the community, but I am puzzled - with all the kids and people who are in organized soccer in this city - why a pro men's side has not succeeded," said Kowalchuk.

Bruce Saville, one of the investors in the Edmonton Oilers, isn't overly optimistic about soccer's future here.

"I think it will be tough to find somebody now. It might take a couple of years for the bad taste to go away," said Saville, who figured Edmonton's best bet at soccer success was to continue the tradition of major events, such as the FIFA under-19 girls tournament and matches for the men's national team.

"It was a tough job because they had a small number of investors who probably didn't have as much skin in it. When the cash call came, it was probably for 50 or 60 per cent of what they'd already put into it ... the answer is going to be 'No way.'

"It looks like they had really ridiculous expectations. I don't know where they got their business plan from, whether it was out of the blue or not or where they got their research from, but, boy oh boy, it's hard to be that wrong."


One of the city's most ardent soccer supporters believes it'll take an investor with Grand Canyon-deep pockets to make a pro game work here.

"They say running a restaurant is a tough business so I don't want to get involved in an even tougher one," chuckled Carmello Rago, owner of the Sorrentino's chain whose son, Carmello Jr., is on the Edmonton FC roster. "It might take someone who can afford to lose $1 million a year to make it work."

GAME ON: Tonight Edmonton FC begins a run of six games that will wrap its home schedule for the season against the Toronto Lynx (7:30, Foote Field). Two of its remaining home games (Aug. 2 and Aug. 7) will be played at Coronation Park. Four others (July 26, Aug. 10, Aug. 15 and Aug. 23) all held at Foote Field.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...