'The greatest fans': NHL Centennial Greatest Team Celebration is one for the fans
Edmonton Oilers '84-'85 team was voted the "Greatest NHL Team of All Time" by loyal fans who will celebrate the title at the Centennial Celebration on Sunday
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Edmonton Oilers fans are ready to take a trip down memory lane to the glory days.
After being voted as 'Greatest NHL Team of All Time' in 2017, the '84-'85 Edmonton Oilers team will be at Rogers Place this weekend to celebrate the NHL Centennial Greatest Team Celebration with the people who voted for them, their fans.
Chris McIntyre, a resident of Sherwood park, remembers watching the team win the Stanley Cup on TV in his parent's house.
Now 33 years later, McIntyre is excited to see his childhood heroes together once again at the Oilers Centennial Celebration.
“Just seeing the players, hearing the reminiscing about the highlights of that year and Oilers in general and just reliving my childhood again, that’s the biggest thing I’m looking forward to,” he said.
McIntyre received the tickets to the centennial game as a Christmas present from his wife. He was one of the 3.6 million hockey fans to cast a ballot to determine the greatest team in NHL history.
As for the current team, McIntyre still has hope despite their lacklustre season, especially after Connor McDavid’s four-goal win against Tampa Bay on Monday.
“I think they have the talent here. All the naysayers that you read on Facebook and all, everybody is out to critique the team when you have a five-minute bad period or something,” he said.
“But I’ve been a fan for so long and I understand the frustration. I get it too. But yesterday’s game, if they play like that, even if they don’t make the playoffs they are in better shape going into next year.”
Dave Hunter, an original Oiler from the '84-'85 team says the fans were what made the team so great.
“We had the greatest fans,” he said. “We were all young back then … and we all grew together and I really believe the fans were a big part behind all of this.”
The former player is looking forward to the centennial to be back with his team once again.
“I think one thing you do miss, is to leave the game, is you have a lot of friends with the players,” he said. “I had a lot of friends that I kind of grew up with it ... so it’s going to be a lot of fun. I think that’s the biggest thing.”
Tim Shipton, senior vice president for communications for the Oilers Entertainment Group said the event is organized specifically keeping the fans in mind.
“We will have a rotating stage at centre ice of Rogers Place so every fan in the building gets best seat in the house,” Shipton said.
He said although hockey fans are die hard in general, the Edmonton Oilers are special.
“This is a fanbase that has stuck through the team through thick and thin. This is a fanbase that consistently comes out and supports the team, both at home and on the road. This is a fanbase that during the playoffs last season sold out Rogers Place for road watch parties.”
Shipton says around 12,500 fans are coming to Rogers Place on Feb. 11 for the major event.