Today, we are gathered to mark the passing occupation of dear friend, comedic icon, and Stanley Cup winner Peter Chiarelli.
Even though we are Flames fans, we want to assure everyone that this eulogy is delivered from a place of love. The logo he represented certainly stirred bile in all of us, but the true mark of a genius is the respect and admiration of your enemies, and we are proud to count ourselves among Chiarelli’s fanbase.
Peter was a generous man, always giving others everything he could and asking for little in return. The NHL, Western Conference, Pacific Division, and especially Southern Alberta (also New York City, we can’t forget them during this trying time) will miss him dearly.
We will likely remember Pete best as a man of action. I think back to the GMs of Oilers in years past who had neglected to take action on the struggling Oilers defence. Well, Peter had barely been introduced before he nabbed top prospect Griffin Reinhart from the New York Islanders. Almost a year to the day later, he went and acquired Adam Larsson, an important top four defenceman. What he traded for Larsson isn’t that important, because it would only distract from Peter’s quality as a go-getter. He was a man who took what he wanted, tuned out those who didn’t share his ambition, and did what he thought was best for the people he served.
This included tough decisions, which Peter never tried to avoid. His tenacity certainly divided opinions, something he would always acknowledge, but he never held back out of fear of public scorn. Trading a future MVP for an okay defenceman? Had to do it. Flipping a loyal winger for a depth centerman, and then flipping him for another depth winger? Not a sexy move, but it had to be done. Breaking up a friendship to acquire a sworn enemy? Only Pete.
Peter provided hope and security for those who were close to him. NHLers facing the uncertainty of old age and declining market interest could always turn to Chiarelli, a lighthouse for stormy seas. Under Chiarelli, players could not only find the financial security to provide for their grandchildren’s grandchildren, but also the added and underrated security of having a place to call home. He handed out No Trade and No Movement Clauses like candy, and created a buyout-proof contract to ensure that the commitment the players had to his organization was reciprocated, even if that first condition was never going to be met. It was just the caring GM he was.
Peter will live on through the legacy he created and cemented in Edmonton. It won’t just be through the good memories and accomplishments, such as [ed note: can’t think of any, will fill in later], but the little things that pervade life in Edmonton. Whenever Edmontonians hear the names Milan, Kris, Taylor, or Adam, they’ll have no choice but to think back to the glory years of 2015 to 2019. Whenever they hop into their 4×4 trucks, they’ll think of Peter. And whenever that familiar only-in-Edmonton moment of helplessly watching promise and potential get slowly suffocated until it is just a sad reminder of what could’ve been strikes, they can only be thinking of Peter Chiarelli.
In closing, let’s be reminded of the circle of life. Where there is an end, there is also a new beginning. For the Edmonton Oilers, they can take this tragic opportunity and grow from it, become better, open up a new chapter in the history of the Oilers.
If Chiarelli is fired, there are lots of former GM's working for Oilers–Kevin Lowe, Craig MacTavish and Scott Howson.
— Jim Matheson (@NHLbyMatty) January 23, 2019
Oops, sorry, I mixed up my cliches. I actually meant to say that time is a flat circle. Everything we have done or will do we will do over and over and over again – forever.