The players caravanned around the city, stopping to sign autographs, snap photos and share in a special moment that the team's passionate supporters will always remember.
“I got a call from the Oilers saying I was lucky enough to have a player deliver my season tickets tonight,” said two-year Season Seat Holder Chris Leahey. “I had no idea who was coming. For three players and the media to show up, it’s incredible.”
Serving scrumptious home-cooked hors d'oeuvres to the crew and other Season Seat Holders invited to share in the experience, Leahey welcomed the Oilers with a party in his backyard.
“He was so excited,” said an equally happy Jones. “I think he thought he was only going to get [Smid], but then [Dubnyk] and I came rolling around the corner and he nearly jumped out of his shoe. He had a good smorgasbord and we almost took it over."
“It was awesome to see all the fans.”
It was another example of Oil Country’s relentless passion and undying support of the Oilers, to which Jones described as “remarkable.”
“They're the best fans in the world and it’s the best hockey market in the world,” he added. “It's amazing to interact with the fans outside of the arena and let them see what you're really like.”
Dubnyk couldn’t help but agree with Jones' assessment.
“Everyone's been a little bit shocked,” he laughed. “I don’t think they expected us all to come. They told us where they sit and how long they've been Season Seat Holders. We've got great fans and you can see that at every stop we’ve made.”
Later in the evening, the players arrived at three-year Season Seat Holder Shadi Haymour’s home, where another full house welcomed the caravan.
“I was on the waiting list for about three years,” he said. “It’s been so great. It’s awesome for the community to have them come out here tonight. It’s great for Edmonton.”
Haymour got the opportunity to share his happiness with the players and let them know that he’ll behind the team 100-percent, as always.
“I'm the optimist, so I'm hoping for big things this year.”
Smid, who brought his catching smile to each home, couldn’t promise everything, but he did convey a message that should help make the 2011-12 Oilers squad as entertaining as ever.
“The past few years have been upsetting, but we can promise to them that that we'll do our best to be better this year. I know we will.”