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Oilers away, Oil Kings will play

by Jen Sharpe / Edmonton Oilers
With the team midway through a quick three-game road trip, Marc and I have a bit of reprieve from the usual routine that accompanies home-stands. Although we produce the same amount of content for road games (pre-game interviews, game preview with Bob and his sidekick, post-game interviews, highlights, etc.), lucky Steve Taylor assumes control of the ship by attending the practices and games and then shooting, editing, and posting each video and audio clip from the road rink or hotel.

Because Steve rules the road trips, Marc and I get to spend most of our time at the Oilers head office, stopping by the rink only twice a week to visit with Crystal Leriger and shoot The Link. Road trips give us the chance to catch up on some of our less glamorous duties (report-building, anyone?) and re-introduce ourselves to our coworkers (“Hi, I'm Jen! You may remember me from my blog and that time I asked you to for a hard-copy of that form I accidentally deleted.”)


But my favourite thing about Oilers road trips actually involves a trip back to Rexall Place: Oil Kings home games! In order to accommodate the home schedules of both franchises, the Oil Kings often play home games when the Oilers are on the road. Although I can't attend Oil Kings games on Oilers game nights (somebody's gotta write the game story!), on off-nights, I thoroughly enjoy sitting in the stands and watching the game like a normal person. This doesn't happen during Oilers games, as my seat in the Press Box is an oasis of business-like focus . . . and free popcorn.


In three seasons with the Manitoba Moose, I attended only ONE game as a fan. And I have yet to enjoy an Oilers game from the stands, but hopefully that can happen sometime later this season. So Oil Kings games are a real treat for me, and not only because I can wear jeans (although that's a big part of it).

The kids in the crowd, the fun carnival atmosphere, and the proximity to the ice (which is a nice change from the press box) are among the draws that I am drawn to. It's affordable and entertaining and exciting and honest – and I think this city is lucky to host 77 nights (+ playoffs!) of high-quality hockey at Rexall Place. I'm no mathematician, but I'm pretty sure that a WHL/ NHL game every third day through hockey season = awesomeness.


When I worked for the Moose, a common complaint heard from Jets fans (yep, they still exist) was “The AHL? If it's not the NHL, it's not worth it!” After spitting at those people, I politely asked if they considered themselves hockey fans or NHL fans. Careful not to come off as elitist, they all proudly proclaimed that they were indeed hockey fans.

I said this then, and I say this now: True hockey fans can appreciate the sport at every level, from the cute five-year-old Tim Bits to the WHL, AHL, NHL, Ol' Timers, and beyond. This is why I enjoy coming to Oil Kings games, and this is why I'm not the only one.

The Oil Kings play tonight (Thursday) and then host the Chilliwack Bruins for Military Appreciation Night on Saturday. The club will be wearing very cool camo jerseys and the lower bowl is expected to be packed. With no Oilers games scheduled that night, I'll be in the crowd and I hope some of you will be too!
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