WINNIPEG -- Mark Letestu grew up in Elk Point, Alberta, a town about 2 1/2 hours northeast of Edmonton. He learned to play hockey in a frozen, flooded garden in his backyard, shooting at a piece of plywood, imagining himself as a member of the Montreal Canadiens, and played shinny under the lights late into the night at an outdoor rink by a Windsor Salt plant in nearby Lindbergh, Alberta, a place so small if you blink, you miss it.
"Outdoor hockey," Letestu said, "seems to be a part of every young Canadian kid's learning of the game."
Now here he was Sunday in the 2016 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic, an outdoor game designed to celebrate and romanticize those roots, sparking a 3-0 win for the Edmonton Oilers against the Winnipeg Jets before 33,240 at Investors Group Field. These events take regular-season NHL games and turn them into spectacles, creating moments to remember for fans and players alike, moments like this.