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Fort McMurray wildfires impact NHL fans

Oilers supporter saves meaningful memorabilia; Sharks, Kings mascots show generosity

by Pat Pickens @Pat_Pickens / NHL.com Staff Writer

Upshall on Fort McMurray

Upshall comments on fires in Fort McMurray

Scottie Upshall, a native of Fort McMurray, AB, comments on the devastating fires in his hometown

  • 04:26 •

The devastating wildfires in Fort McMurray, Alberta have left many in the region without homes and possessions. Those who were forced to evacuate took only essentials.

Morgan Rankin was among those who lost her house in the tragedy. Still, Rankin and her two brothers, Daniel and Billy Foley, managed to salvage some of their most prized belongings.

Daniel, an Edmonton Oilers fan, packed clothes and drove to safety, but he made sure not to forget his memorabilia.  

Tweet from @MorganAshley87: This is what my 17 year old brother saved from the fire. Priorities. @EdmontonOilers #ymm pic.twitter.com/YC6XXor9C7

Billy was unable to pack belongings before leaving Fort McMurray, but his girlfriend managed to put together four San Jose Sharks jerseys she knew were among his most precious things.

Tweet from @MorganAshley87: Lost the house in the #ymm fire. Saved the jerseys! @sjsharkie @SanJoseSharks @NHL pic.twitter.com/VMTeaLL4It

Rankin said hockey is "a huge part of her family life." When the family was reunited at Lac La Biche, Alberta, and she saw what her brothers brought with them, they were able to laugh.

"These items, although they may seem frivolous in light of our situation, will always bring my brothers joy," Rankin said. "They serve as a reminder to the good times we had as a family prior to this event."

The Sharks heard of the family's situation and their mascot Sharkie responded.

Tweet from @sjsharkie: Billy, my one-off #SJSharks heritage jersey from this year is on its way to you! #ymm @MorganAshley87 @BillyFoley12 pic.twitter.com/XskOqnhUxc

Kings mascot Bailey is throwing in a Logan Couture game-used stick he happened to have lying around.

Tweet from @BaileyLAKings: . @sjsharkie @MorganAshley87 @SanJoseSharks @NHL it's not much but I would love to send U @Logancouture game used stick I have #HOCKEYFAMILY

The gestures and support from teams and hockey fans online have given the family a respite from their devastation. They are grateful.

"The support we have received from fans and teams has been overwhelming," Rankin said. "The kindness and generosity people contain is just amazing." 

To donate, you can text "FIRES" to 45678 or visit redcross.ca.

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