Edmonton Oilers confirm owner Daryl Katz dealing with life-threatening illness

EDMONTON — The Edmonton Oilers are confirming that team owner Daryl Katz has been dealing with a life-threatening illness.

Speculation arose Tuesday when Katz appeared at a news conference announcing the hiring of new general manager Ken Holland.

Katz rarely appears at media events and onlookers, and those on social media, noted his facial features had changed appreciably.

Afterward, Sportsnet hockey analyst John Shannon tweeted: “There’s been a lot made publicly today about how Daryl Katz looks. After asking a few questions, I can tell you he has been struggling with life threatening bacteria-resistant sinus infection over the past few years.”

Shannon said it goes back years, including last time the Oilers were in the playoffs, in the spring of 2017.

“(Katz) carried an IV bag 24/7 during the playoff run, 2 seasons ago. The infection has a 50-50 survival rate. He’s had 3 surgeries over the past 10 months with 1 more surgery to go. It is the primary reason why he hasn’t been around Edmonton and the team,” wrote Shannon.

Later Tuesday, Shannon tweeted that while Katz has one more operation, “he is through the worst of it and the long term prognosis is positive.”

Katz spoke to reporters at the news conference but did not speak about his health.

The Oilers administration did not issue an independent statement but confirmed that Shannon’s information was correct.

Katz, 57, is a billionaire pharmacy magnate known to shun the spotlight.

He bought the Oilers in the summer of 2008 and later, in a bruising and protracted round of negotiations with the City of Edmonton, struck a deal to jointly build the new Rogers Place along with surrounding office towers and businesses as part of a larger downtown revitalization.

Rogers Place opened in the fall of 2016.

Under Katz, the Oilers have fared poorly on the ice. They have missed the playoffs every year but one, when they advanced to second round in 2017.

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