EDMONTON -- Daryn Ferris took his wife, Janessa, on their first date to the first NHL regular-season outdoor game and is getting a chance to enjoy the festivities surrounding the 2023 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic between the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames at Commonwealth Stadium on Sunday (7 p.m. ET; SN, TVAS, TBS, Max) with his 12-year-old son, Dexter.

The father and son visited the WestJet NHL Fan Park next to Rogers Place on Friday, where the Stanley Cup was on display and Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner signed autographs.

“It was freezing, I remember that,” Ferris said of the first outdoor game here in 2003 between the Oilers and Montreal Canadiens. “It was minus-30 (Celsius), and hot chocolate and Baileys can only take you so far. I think I had three or four of them at the time to try to keep warm. They had the [alumni] game first so it was a seven- or eight-hour event, but was pretty cool.”

Temperatures are expected to hover just above freezing when the game begins Sunday, making things more comfortable for fans. Excitement is building, and people came out in droves to take part in the festivities at the fan fest, which will be open again Saturday from 12-6 p.m. MT.

“I like the different experience of outdoor games and we’re playing Calgary, too, which is good,” Dexter said. “I have a theory that (Edmonton center) Connor McDavid is going to make an appearance at the Heritage Classic, so I think it will be good.”

McDavid sustained an upper-body injury late in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Oct. 21. The following day, the Oilers said he would be out for 1-2 weeks. McDavid has missed the past two games but is back on the ice skating, and coach Jay Woodcroft said McDavid has not been ruled out for the Heritage Classic.

Garry Saran, his wife Sindy and their children Mya, 12, Dylan, 9, and Maahi, 5, have made a family trip around the Heritage Classic coming in from Surrey, British Columbia. They all had the chance to meet Skinner and will be attending the game Sunday.

“This was kind of bucket-list event for me to do; I’ve been a die-hard Oilers fans since the 80s,” Garry said. “We thought we would make a family event of it.”

Garry and his brothers grew up watching Hockey Night in Canada and became an Oilers fan. In turn, Sindy and the kids have since begun rooting for Edmonton.

“Yeah, 15 years ago once I got married, yes I became a hockey fan,” Sindy said. “This is good to be here with the family. We’re spending quality family time you don’t get to spend back home with work, school and extracurricular activities. Now they’re out here enjoying what their dad loves best, which is hockey.”

Stuart proved to be one of the biggest attractions of the fan fest, along with the Stanley Cup. Fans Katie Kichko and Kale Laftus had the opportunity to get acquainted with both.

A huge fan of Skinner, Kichko had her Oilers’ No. 74 jersey personalized by the goalie.

“It’s definitely very fan-oriented with the fan park and everything they have going on,” Kichko said. “It was great to meet Skinner and he signed my jersey. It was so awesome.”

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