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IN DEPTH: Inspired

Personal loss is channeled into so much gain as an entire community rallies around the World's Longest Hockey Game

by Cait MacPhail /




On day five, that particular Tuesday in mid-February must have felt like tropical relief - at least in temperature.

The players who were approaching the halfway point of the event said the rain falling around them didn't do any favours for the playing conditions. The ice softens, the skates drag through the fresh layer of water that won't freeze, the knees start to work overtime - overtime being the operative word, as these skaters have to work in shifts according to the guidelines set out by the Guinness Book of World Records.

In the first four days of the marathon fundraiser, temperatures on Dr. Brent Saik's property just east of Edmonton had not risen above -15 degrees Celsius, and in the dead of night that number had fallen, at points, to a bone-chilling 40 degrees below zero with wind chill.

But the frigid cold is something that can be combatted when you know what to expect and how to prepare. With several of the skaters participating for the fourth, fifth or even sixth time, their wily vet status has them ready for anything the Albertan winter might throw their way. The experienced skaters are quick to send their list of must-haves when a player signs up for the first time.

Despite what the sudden temperature twist did for conditions that particular day, the group of 40 players welcomed a balmy two degrees Celsius as they attempted, for the sixth time, to break the record for the World's Longest Hockey Game - all in support of cancer research.

The pace the teams skate is slow and labored. It has to be.

But that pace does not emulate the urgency the group feels for the cause. It will take over 10 days, and over 250 hours, this go-around to break the official Guinness World Record, but it's a blink in time to people who have witnessed countless family members and friends suffer through months and even years of chemo treatments, radiation therapy, pain, recovery and more.

It's an inspired group of humans, doing inspiring work.

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FEATURE: Larsson's return to Oilers is therapeutic

"Hockey is the best therapy for me right now. Being around the guys gets your mind off everything," said the defenceman

by Paul Gazzola /

GLENDALE, AZ - Hockey is a multitude of things.

It's fast and physical.

It exhibits displays that are both beautiful - like nice goals - and ugly - like gruesome injuries.

It's stressful and intense.

And for some, like Adam Larsson, it's therapeutic.

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IN DEPTH: '85 All-Stars

Stories from the 1984-85 Oilers as told by those who lived it

by Staff /

FEBRUARY 12, 1985


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FEATURE: Bear and Jones navigating pro life under one roof

Rookie roommates are adjusting to adulthood and the American Hockey League

by Paul Gazzola /

BAKERSFIELD, CA - One was a Thunderbird, the other a Winterhawk.

One shoots left, the other right. 

One games Call of Duty, the other NBA 2K.

Both are Condors. 

Both are defencemen.

And both are navigating the professional level under the same roof.

Video: CONDORS | Bear and Jones Roundtable

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This week's In Depth centres around Jesse Puljujarvi's acclimation and rise to prominence with the Oilers

by Cait MacPhail /



You can see it on the highlights and on Twitter. It doesn't matter how things are going for him on the ice, good or bad, he always has a positive attitude, is always laughing and has a smile on his face… He just needed a bit of time to grow into the game a little bit, but now that he has, he's really turning into the player a lot of us knew he could be.

It's really just the start for him.

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Black tape or white, whip flex or stiff, this week's In Depth goes in on hockey sticks and the configurations Oilers players make on theirs

by Paul Gazzola /



I grew up in Taber, AB, just outside of Lethbridge and my dad told me what to use.

I remember my dad buying me a couple good sticks growing up. When I say 'good sticks' I mean expensive sticks from Christmas. Other than that, I used a $20 Sher-Wood. I used that all the way until I hit the Regina Pats. I was 16 years old and I was still using $20 wood sticks.

In my junior years with Regina, they gave you options. We were partnered with Bauer and I jumped in there not really knowing what I was doing at first. I grabbed a stick and I can't even remember if I even flexed it once or not, I just took a look at it.

I remember I used a Paul Coffey curve growing up. I used an Eric Lindros for a while, but other than that, when I got to use my first pro stick, I basically said, 'I had a Coffey curve, give me something that looks like a Coffey,' and that's how I started. How else do you start, really?

Sticks have come such a long way now -- and the game has come such a long way -- that the stick is really coming into play. Maybe 10 years ago, when I was 16, it was a different game.

I don't think you needed the secret weapons you have now.

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IN DEPTH: The Right Shot

Deriving from a family of left-handed shooters, Matt Benning was encouraged to shoot right at an early age to fill a National Hockey League demand

by Paul Gazzola /



The first memory of hockey for me was four boys in a typical Canadian family growing up with a rink in the back of the yard. We'd go out there and everybody kind of gathered at our place and everybody would just play hockey. That's what we knew. We called it pond hockey, river hockey, whatever -- that's where we learned the game. 

Then we'd play at the community centre and eventually as we grew older, we'd go to the outdoor rinks after school and play with the older guys. You'd have to skate really fast or pass the puck really quick to play with them.

Back then, when we were kids, there was a special at Mohawk: If you got a tank of gas, you could go to the garbage can and pick out a hockey stick. 

So, my dad got a tank of gas and my older brother Jim went to grab a stick 

He grabbed a left. 

The next time dad fuelled up, the special was still on: get a tank of gas, get a stick. 

My brother Mark went and grabbed a stick. Of course, he grabbed a left because older brother Jim grabbed a left. 

So, we're playing with two sticks and then it was my turn next. 

I grabbed a left. 

At the end of the day, all four of the Benning boys shot left and it made it easy for dad to buy sticks. He'd buy them by the dozen and the kids would use them. We kind of adopted that. 

But now, the next generation is on the other side -- they all shoot right.


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IN DEPTH: Role Model

Oilers forward Jujhar Khaira and Hockey Night Punjabi are growing the sport within Canada's South Asian community

by Ryan Frankson /

The Foreword

By Harbs Bains, President, Surrey Minor Hockey Association

I met Jujhar earlier this year. The Surrey Minor Hockey Association was hosting a tournament with teams from China and Korea.

When the China team was in town, we were playing at a rink in Burnaby and Jujhar, along with some other NHL players, were there working out and practicing.

A couple of our Surrey kids noticed Jujhar, so I went over, introduced myself and asked him if he would mind coming over and saying hi to the kids. Not only did he come, but he brought a couple of other guys with him.

The kids loved it. He went to the China team dressing room, I introduced him to the coaches and all the parents came in to take photos. He did a wonderful job. 

And then he came over to the Surrey dressing room. The kids all knew who he was, shook his hand, got autographs and took lots of pictures. He was fantastic. I know he was tired, because he had just come off a workout, but he took his time and said whenever we needed something he'd do his best to help us out.

It was a cross-cultural experience and meant so much to those kids, no matter what ethnic background they were. I don't know who had a better time, him or the kids. 

He's a great ambassador for the Edmonton Oilers, a great ambassador for the sport of hockey and a great young man.


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IN DEPTH: Threads

Recount narratives of the Oilers former uniforms in's first long-form feature of the 2017-18 season

by Paul Gazzola /

From Al Hamilton's perspective, it was Bill Hunter and the Oilers management who exalted the Oilers silks. "They liked them so much that they never gave us our jerseys at the end of the year," the former Oilers defender said. "They kept them. They were more in love with them than we were." Legend Glen Sather later established a club code. "As soon as he became coach, he introduced the rule that the sweater and the logo never went on the floor," said Short, adding that it was adopted from the Montreal Canadiens. "I don't know if it ever got to be, 'We're proud of the logo,' but there was always a strong feeling for the sweater, for the Oilers… and the reality was that this was the Oilers jersey and those who wore it were indoctrinated."




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FEATURE: Adjusting to the rules

Slashing minors and face-off violations will be enforced in 2017-18 and the Oilers are planning to adjust accordingly

by Paul Gazzola /

EDMONTON, AB - There are no new sheriffs in town and no new rules to enforce. 

There is, however, a bounty out on outlaws who exercise the National Hockey League's most under-the-radar mannerisms: slashing minors and face-off violations.

Video: OILERS TODAY: Face-off Violations

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