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Northern Exposure

by Jen Sharpe / Edmonton Oilers
I am very excited. In only two short days, I'll be waving goodbye to Edmonton and flying to the far reaches of the Canadian arctic. Why? To cover one of the most worthwhile and ambitious Oilers community initiatives of the season: flying 16 children from Inuvik, NWT to Edmonton for Hockey Day in Canada on Saturday, February 21.


For many of the kids (8-10 years old), this three-day trip will mark their first voyage below the 60th parallel. Inuvik is 3,000km northwest of Edmonton and two degrees north of the Arctic Circle. The town's 3,300 residents enjoy almost two months of continuous daylight in mid-summer and nearly a month without sunlight in the winter.

After enjoying the big city for most of the afternoon on Friday, they and their chaperones will have VIP access for Saturday's Battle of Alberta. A locker room tour, morning practice, warm-up, and on-ice introductions will be capped by the Oilers-Flames game that night.

“The CBC has taken the Hockey Day In Canada project to parts of Canada that love hockey but don't get to experience live NHL games,” said Natalie Minckler, Edmonton Oilers Director of Community and Fan Development. “The Edmonton Oilers wanted to do the same thing this year and we're thrilled that Canadian North Airlines is partnering to provide a once-in-a-lifetime event for kids from Inuvik at an Oilers game on Hockey Day In Canada. The kids are tremendously excited to be coming to Edmonton and we'll make it a weekend they won't forget.”


That makes 17 of us! Though I have traveled a fair bit in my lifetime and even visited Yellowknife when I was a teenager, Inuvik will be a new experience. Due to the tight turnaround, we won't have a lot of time to explore, but just being able to say I've been that far north is something worth bragging about.

I'll be joined by cameraman Mike Beley of Aquila Productions and Trevor Murphy, Oilers Manager of Fan & Community Development. Check out my blog next week, as well as an upcoming episode of The Link, for more stories about this trip of a lifetime.


NOTE: Just want to add that I am disappointed in the results of my Jen's Favourite Things auction. Dan's bid of used parking passes notwithstanding, I don't think anybody offered up something tangible! I guess I overestimated the demand for useless junk. Maybe I'll spend some time hounding my coworkers for items to supplement the package and will come up with version 2.0. Stay tuned.
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