Tag Archives: oilers

Northlands: October 6, 1990

My favourite Northlands moment came on Saturday October 6, 1990.  It was my first Oiler game.  The home-building company my father worked for had season tickets.  He must have had a good month, because that Saturday night was the home opener.

The Oilers had just won their 5th Stanley Cup, and during the pre-game ceremony team officials rolled the trophy in question onto the ice.  Even from high in the stands, The Cup looked massive and sparkled like a ten-foot diamond on a Christmas tree.

The home team was announced and Mark Messier was given the loudest ovation.  There was a smoke-machine (!) and what would now pass as the appropriate lighting production for a 6 year old’s birthday party. Hey, it was 1990!

Then it happened.  Just as the visiting Winnipeg Jets were announced, something I had never witnessed in person before began to happen.

Grown men started boo’ing.  Children began jeering.  Women were cussing.  It was the most unruly thing I had ever seen or heard as an 11 year-old!  Confused, and perhaps caught in the moment, I began to boo too!  “Boooooooooooo!”, I hollered.  I managed only one “mini-boo” before my Mother let me know that it was not polite and I was to stop immediately!  I’m guessing she was thinking, “Phil Housley, Thomas Steen and Ed Olczyk seem to be decent guys.  My child should not be calling them down at work.”

I don’t remember a single goal in the 3-3 tie (but I do remember going to Boston Pizza for dinner, delicious).  Thanks for the memory and the lesson in sportsmanship, Mom!




Zack Kassian owes Taylor Hall an apology.

Oilers center Sam Gagner was whacked in the face by Canuck Zack Kassian Saturday night (in a PRESEASON game) and will need surgery to repair his broken jaw. Gagner is out indefinitely.  Zack is really sorry.  Who are we kidding; Kassian a repeat offender and likely won’t lose a wink of sleep.  This heaps more bad news onto a team so thin at center; Oiler fans wish Shawn Horcoff was still on the roster. But that wasn’t all the bad news  from Saturday.  

In the same game, Vancouver forward Dale Weise (who?  EXACTLY!) missed decapitating Taylor Hall with the kind of elbow that would have made the Macho Man proud.  I believe both Weise and Kassian will be disciplined by the league.  The trickle down from these 2 events, by these 2 knuckle heads, should be noted.  But before we do that, let’s look at the financial ramifications:

Weise + Kassian = $1,56M in salary.

Hall + Gagner = $10.8M in salary.

This is the equivalent of Chevy Cavalier rear-ending a Ferrari while texting-and-driving. Think about that for a second.

Back to the point:

With Gagner out until who-knows-when, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on the shelf until at least November recovering from shoulder surgery, the Taylor Hall at Center Experiment is all but assured.  Taylor will be challenged play and excel at a new position out of necessity.  To add personal insult to the team pain, Hall’s chances of making Team Canada are all but squashed.

As an Oiler fan, I can admit it.  Taylor Hall was a bit of a long-shot to make Team Canada on left-wing.  Now he can forget about it.  Even if he only plays 15 games at center he will then only have 15-25 games to prove he’s got what it takes to represent Canada on the wing.  If playing at an elite level in multiple positions was “easy”, players would do it all the time.  But they don’t ’cause it ain’t.

Clearly, I’m an Oiler fan.  Obviously, I’m upset.  Yes, my opinion may be a little slanted.  But what if a repeat offender (Kassian), and a career minor leaguer (Weise) put your team’s already-slim-playoff-hopes on the brink and came 5 inches away from killing one of your best players and an Olympic hopeful?   I think you’d be hot under the collar too.  What dumps gas on this fire is the fact that it’s PRESEASON.

The league needs to send out a memo to owners and General Managers.  The gist of it needs to be this:  It’s bad for the league to have yahoos running around trying to “play intense” or “show that they have edge”, etc. in the preseason.  If your player does something that warrants a suspension in the preseason, the franchise will be penalized with draft picks.  I’m not saying do this in the regular season (although I might say that a few years from now) but it’s just down-right ridiculous in the preseason to have this level of injury and violence.  How GM’s and Coaches deliver this message to their franchise is up to them.

How to Be a Sports Fan

It’s difficult to believe that a handbook on this is even necessary; but yesterday I saw a full-grown man wearing a San Jose Sharks jersey in downtown Edmonton.  This man was not Joe Thornton.  Clearly, it’s necessary.

To set this up, the following is a loose transcript of a conversation I had with a woman wearing a Red Wings jersey on the LRT leaving a hockey game in Edmonton this season:

Dave Sawchuk:   I see you’re wearing a Red Wings Jersey, when did you get into town?  Are you enjoying your Canadian visit?  

Random Woman: Visit?  I’m not from Detroit.  I’m from Edmonton.

DS: Oh, I assumed you were visiting since you’re not cheering for your home-team.  Is your family from Detroit or the greater Detroit Area?

RW: No

DS: Have you ever been to Detroit?

RW: No

DS: Do you have a personal or professional connection to anybody who currently, or used to, play for the Detroit Red Wings?  Is Henrik Zetterberg your boyfriend?

RW: No, no and I wish!!!!

*My face goes blank and I quietly ride the LRT to the Corona station*

Effective immediately  these are the never-to-be-broken rules on how to properly select and cheer for a sports franchise.  It’s a 2 step process.

1.  Examine your drivers licence.  You’ll notice an address on it.  Take note of the city.

2.  Cheer for the sports franchise that corresponds with the city listed.

I wish it were more complex; but it ain’t.  There are a few rare exceptions:

a) You are from another city, or used to live in another city where you developed a personal connection with another team.  Did you do a tour of duty in St.Louis?  Did you become a Blues fan in the process?  Sure, you can have it.  Even if you move back to Edmonton.  You wanna be a Blues fan for life?  I can understand (and I’m sorry).

b) You’re OLDER than the franchise in your city.  My dad is an Oiler fan, but he has every right to choose any Original Six team he likes.  Why?  Because those were the only teams playing when he was a kid; he couldn’t very well cheer for a team that didn’t exist.  This condition is grandfathered in.

c) Your brother, high school buddy, boyfriend, dental hygienist’s kid, (this is a real stretch) plays on the team.  I met a 12 year old boy at an Oiler game once wearing an LA Kings jersey with “Clifford” on the back.  Turns out Kyle Clifford is a family friend.  It’s all yours kid; you get a pass.

Am I missing any reasonable exceptions?  I considered adding a “father figure” clause, but balked.  True Story: I know this guy who cheers for the Calgary Flames because he hates his father.  As an adolescent, he developed a love for the Flames (specifically the thing opposite to his father’s passion), while living in Edmonton during the “dynasty days”.  There’s an Oedipus Rex joke in there somewhere.