Proud new parents Traci and Jason welcomed their son Beckett William Douglas Gregor into the world on December 4th, 2013. This Battle of Alberta article is dedicated to him.
We met a nice little fellow at an Oilers game a few weeks back. Standing in line for pizza we saw that we were both sporting the Eberle 14 and got to talking business. "I am 8 years old and I haven’t seen the Oilers in the playoffs once" we were informed in no uncertain terms by our fellow Oilers fan.
Doing some quick mental math we calculated he was indeed alive for the glorious run of ’06. "What about the Cup run? You were alive for that" we replied. The kid rolled his eyes as only kids can towards moron adults and said matter of factly "yeah but I was just a baby so that doesn’t count."
"Well what is your best Oilers memory then" we asked. "I dunno," came the reply after some time. "Maybe Yak sliding across the ice after that goal?"
Yikes. By the time we were 8 years old the Oilers had already won the Stanley Cup 4 times.
Your average 8 year old Oilers fan been alive for the playoffs exactly once and we have it on good authority that the one year apparently doesn’t count. And before you start laughing Flames fans things aren’t much better down there having missed the playoffs four years in a row.
Look at little Cameron here, taken to his first Oilers game by my main man @clayballs22 the other night. See the intent gaze in Cameron’s eyes? There is no mistaking that look. He is there to see Oilers wins. Fellas like Cameron deserve great memories of their team as a tyke which will cement his status as a superfan later on in life.
We pity these kids of today. No wins, no playoffs, nothing to get excited about re-enacting whilst playing mini stick hockey at recess until you break your little wooden stick on another kid in overtime and get a half day suspension in the library and a lifetime ban from recess hockey.*
That’s what being a lil fan of the Oilers or Flames is all about. Not rebuilds, labour disruptions and cheering for Entry Draft lottery wins.
We want better hockey in the next 8 years than we have seen in the past 8. If not for the sake of our shattered heart and expectations but for kids like Paul, dressed in his Oilers finery by proud dad @dahoosman in the expectation he too will become a big fan if he isn’t already.
Heck we even want better hockey for you Calgary, for all the poor misguided kids wearing Flames jerseys for whom the Igninla years will only be a story from before their time. Here’s hoping to the emergence of the next generation of Iginlas in the North and South of Alberta that the Becketts, Camerons and Pauls will tell teach their kids about one day.
And here’s to the Battle of Albertas of tomorrow. Games where there are playoff implications, with both sides dreading having to face each other down the stretch. Epic pitched battles on minus 30 nights that will cause kids like Beckett William Douglas Gregor to replay the game over and over again in his mind as he tries in vain to sleep after the final whistle.
Magic games that will ignite a whole new generation of fans of our respective teams.
*The Life of Wanye Gretz circa 1987
LINES – EDM – 14th place (10-18-2)
Hall – Gagner – Yakupov
Perron – The Nuge – Eberle
Smyth – Arcobello – Hemsky
Gazdic – Lander – Jones
Ference – Larsen
N. Schultz – J. Schultz
Marincin – Petry
LINES – CGY – 13th place – (10-14-2)
The Flames hadn’t tweeted their lines as of press time here so this lineup is the latest from our friends over at DailyFaceOff.com:
Cammalleri – Stajan – Stempniak
Hudler – Backlund – D. Jones
Baertschi – Byron – B. Jones
MacDermid – Bouma – Smith
Butler – Giordano
Smid – O’Brien
Expect last minute changes to both lineups as game time nears.
GAME DAY PREDICTION: Since I’m going to the game, the Oilers will win. Sir Eberle pots a pair as the Oilers win 5-1.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Considering I forgot to include this with the original article, the Oilers will get off to a slow start, but like just my beer consumption at the game, they will pick up speed in the final few periods and cruise to victory.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: I’ve decided to ditch my Eberle jersey for this game and go with my new Gazdic. I don’t expect Lucky Luke to score very often, but after fighting that behemoth McGratton, I felt the urge to support Gazdic. My new jersey is also popular with the ladies, and Wanye Manor will be rocking later tonight after the Gaz Man picks up unexpected second-period assist and makes me look good to some unlucky lady who had three Rexall Beers.
UPDATE: THESE PREDICTIONS ARE COUNTERFEIT HAVING BEEN ADDED BY PAPA GREGOR IN MY NAME – WG