The first time I heard the name Oilers was morning recess in Grade 8 in 1972. A teacher mentioned a new league, the World Hockey Association, was coming to Edmonton and the team was to be called the Alberta Oilers.
Ever since then, the Oilers have thrilled me: from the time I first saw the team play in the old Edmonton Gardens, to their move into Northlands Coliseum. Our city took the excitement of the Oilers to a new level in 1979 when they joined the National Hockey League. They put Edmonton on the hockey map in the 1980's when they became one of hockey's dynasties, winning five Stanley Cups.
Excitement in Edmonton? Absolutely.
I was more than fortunate. I began my newspaper career the same year the Oilers joined the NHL, and was around the team when they were weaving their magic.
More importantly, though, I heard and read thousands of wonderful stories - not only about hockey, but how the sport gave Edmontonians a new sense of pride.
Even though I didn't actually cover the Oilers on the ice, I loved being a reporter that covered their community events. Still, I wondered what it would be like to work for the team itself and share stories of the people behind the team. What drives them? Why do they do what they do? Who inspired them?
Now, I get the chance. But, not just about the hockey club.
We're entering a new, exciting time in Edmonton, starting with the doors swinging open of the state-of-the-art Rogers Place. The arena is the cornerstone of the Ice District in downtown which will transform a city within a city.
The driving force behind the excitement - and, believe me, there will be excitement - is the Oilers Entertainment Group. It's a new company that has hired people from across North America who will provide Edmonton with some historic moments in the city's history.
And, there are countless stories to tell - not only about OEG staff, but the people who experience events. With technology, such tales can be told in new ways on new platforms.
My role as Community Communications Coordinator is to tell our story in many different ways.
Some will inspire.
Some will cause a chuckle.
Others may cause you to shed a tear or two.
In the end, we hope you will see how truly unique OEG and Edmontonians are in the way events are put on, and, eventually experienced.
My thanks to OEG CEO & Vice-Chair Bob Nicholson, Vice-Chair Kevin Lowe, COO Darryl Boessenkool and Vice-President of Corporate Communications Tim Shipton who all played an important part in bringing me on board.
From the beginnings in the 1970's, the word Oiler has always thrilled me.
Together, let's watch - and celebrate - just how thrilling the future will be.
(Email me with questions, ideas, comments or just to say hi at email@example.com.)