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.
“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.
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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