by Lisa McRitchie on 12/18/11 at 11:00 PM ET
The Edmonton Oil Kings have very quietly been stringing together a great 11 game winning streak this season. The reason I say quietly is because from my perspective, the Oil Kings have been receiving very little media attention and I cannot figure out why.
This year the Calgary Hitmen and the Edmonton Oil Kings will be co-hosting the IIHF World Juniors Tournament. That alone should be enough to pique the interest in the teams, especially since both cities are hockey crazy. For whatever reason however, the Oil Kings continue to see low attendance numbers and little to no coverage in either newspaper.
Saturday December 17th the Oil Kings held their annual Teddy Bear toss. Much to the delight of Santa’s Anonymous, the charity receiving the donations, and the Oil Kings themselves, the Oil Kings saw their highest attendance numbers of the season with over 10,000 fans in attendance. The team also collected just under $20, 000 and 6,600 toys.
The unfortunate part is that there was not a single article in the online edition of neither the Edmonton Journal nor the Edmonton Sun. There were two blog articles in the Edmonton Journal, both by Cam Tait who covers the Oil Kings but there are still a lot of people who turn to online newspapers for news but without reading the blog section. I’m not suggesting that the Oil Kings attendance and popularity is completely dependent upon the mainstream media attention but it certainly wouldn’t hurt.
The same night as the Teddy Bear toss, the Edmonton Oilers added another loss to their recent record; the Oilers have won just 5 of their last 18 games. Why wouldn’t either newspaper want to include some positive stories about an Edmonton sports team, especially a team that is hosting the World Juniors and has won 11 games in a row. The streak did end at 11 when the team lost 6-5 this afternoon to the Regina Pats. None the less, this Oil Kings team has been extremely impressive to watch.
If wins weren’t enough, the team has also taken some time for fun before the WHL Christmas break and thanks to Dean Milard of Coming Down the Pipe many of us have been able to see the Oil Kings Christmas sing-along.
I know that I am not involved in any high or low level meetings with any major news source in Edmonton and that I can compare to the attention that the Calgary Hitmen receive from the Calgary Herald and the Calgary Sun, but I must admit the Hitmen are a regular news source. In fact, the Oil Kings have been written about more times in the Calgary Herald than the Edmonton Journal. I think that with the help of the local media, the Hitmen are the success that they are. And so, I can only hope that the Edmonton media can one day find room in their sports coverage to give their WHL team more attention. After all, it’s a great story, it’s excellent hockey and starting the conversation about the team can only help. At this point however, the Oil Kings are in their 5th season and it shouldn’t be out of the question to expect to hear something about them.
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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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