The Sunday night crowd in Fort McMurray was large for Team Canada’s second consecutive night of split squad action. The newly renovated Casman Cenre was unsurprisingly sold out. Not many hockey fans can pass up a live game of this caliber on an August night. The city of Fort McMurray currently hosts an AJHL team, the Oil Barons and I often wonder if they might support a WHL team some day.
Fan favourite Ryan Smyth is beloved by many hockey fans throughout the world, but especially throughout the nation of Canada. Smyth not only played for Team Canada on many occasions, but also captained Canada’s World Championship team for a record six years Smyth has won several gold medals playing for his country including an Olympic gold in 2002. The nickname Captain Canada is fitting for the man who has left it all on the ice; blood, sweat, teeth and tears.
“Today is the best day of my life!” Proclaimed Noah, a young Edmonton Journal contest winner. His prize, a chance to watch the Team Canada U20 game from the pressbox, a behind the scenes tour and memories to last a lifetime. “We got to meet Ryan Smyth!” The contest winner, with his youthful smile and energy went on. There were two winners of this contest, and thankfully only one broke my heart when he told me that he was not an Oilers fan. The list of teams he does cheer for was long, and one team pains me too much to even type. Each winner was dressed in a team Canada hockey sweater signed by the players at this camp, one red and the other white.These of course were far from the only youths in attendance at this event and it is wonderful to see so many who still dream of playing hockey at it’s highest levels and not for the contracts, but for the sheer love of the game.
It’s a rainy, muggy morning in the City of Champions, and hockey fans were arriving long before the 9:30am start time to team white’s practice. The Oilers’ faithful, the friends the family, and general supporters of the nation’s favourite pass-time, are all in attendance.
The reason of course for the draw to a practise is likely to do the free sneak preview of Oiler’s prospects Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Tyler Bunz. Surely a name like Sean Couturier doesn’t exactly make fans shy away. To have this opportunity to see such high profile, top picked prospects is an excellent use of a Saturday morning in August, in the hockey crazed city of Edmonton, Alberta. Days like this, I truly feel like an Edmontonian, let alone a Canadian.
Swedish defenseman Oscar Klefbom, selected 19th overall at this year’s NHL Entry Draft, missed the Oilers development camp held early in July due to a schedule conflict. The conflict was with the team he is currently under contract with, Farjestad of the Swedish Elite League.
NHL.com writer Adam Kimelman reported Wednesday that Oscar Klefbom, Adam Larsson and Gabriel Landeskog will all miss Sweden’s junior camp which takes place next week at Lake Placid, NY.
It has been common to just use the word gate behind any misunderstanding or wrongdoing. In this case, I don’t believe that the Oilers set out to pull the wool over the heads of the Kings. So, I hereby propose this subject be called the Fraser Feud.
I was in St. Paul at the NHL entry draft amidst all of the Ryan Smyth trade talk, and everyone was excited about it, no matter what team they were there representing or covering. TSN cameramen were telling me how wonderful they felt the move would be for Edmonton. The heart of the matter seemed to be at what cost.
On Saturday July 30th, the Swedish Elite team Timrå had a farewell match for Edmonton Oilers prospect Anton Lander and Vancouver Canuck’s prospect Sebastian Erixon. As mentioned previously, these sorts of games are not uncommon in European sports, but are an excellent opportunity to learn more about your team’s prospects and just how beloved they are by their countrymen.
Once again with thanks to Yngve Elverhøi of Finland, we have a translation of the game and its results.
The return of Henrik Zetterberg for such a match speaks to his love for his country, and perhaps even the ties he feels to the other players and his old team. This loyalty may go a long way even with Anton Lander and Magnus Pääjärvi, ex-teammates, soon to be reunited. At the draft, Oscar Klefbom was extremely excited at the prospect of playing for a team with so many fellow Swedes.
As Oilers’ fans, some of us have that uncanny ability to get a little ahead of ourselves; I may in fact lead the pack in this regard. When I think of a close knit group of players, I think about winning. I don’t even want to tell you what I picture after winning. Not yet.
The Edmonton Oilers have definitely tapped into the Swedish hockey market with exciting players such as Linus Omark, Magnus Pääjärvi, Anton Lander and 2011 NHL Entry draft selection Oscar Kelfbom. Fans of the Swedish elite league are happy to see their countrymen move on to pursue their dreams, but they are of course sad to see them leave their local rinks.
About Oil Patch
Lisa McRitchie is a fairly new writer, online at least, but makes up for inexperience with passion for the game of hockey and memories of Mrs. Leskiw’s English AP class; who knew they would pay off one day.
Oil Patch focuses on the Edmonton Oilers, the Edmonton Oil Kings, The Oklahoma City Barons and Team Canada Hockey with game coverage, news updates, speculation and interviews.
Although the Oilers have had a difficult past decade… or three, here at Oil Patch, the future looks bright.
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