Almost 17,000 fans rise to the occasion as the Oilers new in-game host, Corey Loranger, takes to the mic. “Can I have everyone at Rexall Place on their feet?”
This time it was the Elimination Game, and Corey begins to whittle the crowd down by asking anyone who’s not a Season Seat Holder to sit down, though that still leaves more than three-quarters of the fans on their feet. After a few more questions, the game zeroes in on the people sitting in section 207. Finally, a sole Oilers fan remains.
Sporting orange and blue in a sea of red on a daily basis is never an easy feat, but for Oilers fan and Calgary resident David Foster his reward came in the form of one of many prizes given away during the Oilers Home Opener week.
Taking his seat before puck drop has become a ritual for Oilers fan and Calgary resident David Foster, who takes half days off from work in order to travel up the QEll to watch Oilers home games. But he knew this game could be different with all the prizes that were being advertised. As the first period came and went, the unsuspecting fan sat on pins and needles as the Elimination Game was announced in the second. He stood up with the rest of the crowd but to his surprise, never sat down. His fate was sealed; he had just won a trip for two on the Oilers Team Charter.
“I was pretty excited,” said Foster. “I high-fived my buddy and just tried not to look too goofy on camera.”
Foster was one of hundreds of Oilers fans who walked away with a little something extra during the Oilers home opener week. On top of two Team Charter trips, the prize roster also included 93 jerseys, crested and signed by the fans’ favourite Oiler of all time, 64 photo opportunities with a current player, 14 exclusive Locker Room Tours, four pairs of Gold Season Seats and other prizes up for grabs.
“When they first released the plan to have a lot of prizes, I know some people had some skepticism, but after they started rolling them all out for those games, you could see people were pretty pumped up about it,” said Foster.
“It really showed it was all about the fans,” added Rob Meisinger, who walked away with one of the 93 jerseys.
While the majority of prizes were given out in-game, there were also items from each category given away on edmontoilers.com and the Oilers social media channels, allowing fans all over Oil Country the chance to win. More than 6,000 fans entered online for a shot at winning three of the 93 autographed jerseys and 4,000 entrants were clocked for the Gold Season Seats. Not surprisingly, the majority of jersey winners chose Wayne Gretzky, though Jordan Eberle was right alongside Mark Messier for second place honours, followed by Justin Schultz.
Meisinger was one such winner who ultimately passed on looking back and rather chose to celebrate the new generation with a Justin Schultz jersey.
“It was a really tough decision, being an older guy the old school Oilers were a big part of my life but I’m looking forward to the new generation and wanted to get a young jersey,” said Meisinger. “I felt it was fitting as I won on the night he got his first goal.”
While Home Opener week has come and gone, a few special prizes still remain at large. The Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation is gifting $1,000 a period, for the first 19 periods, to a charity of the winning fan’s choice. 83 pairs of tickets can also be won through online contests, in-game promotions and at a number of events held throughout the remainder of the season.
The Oilers were overwhelmed with the response of the fans to the various contests but extremely grateful for their passion. It appears that passion is only going to get stronger with the team’s performance at the rink and the ongoing giveaways off the ice.