|Robert Nilsson signs one of his 80 pucks. (photo: Andy Devlin)
On St. Patrick’s Day when we raise a glass of green beer to toast Irish heritage, Oilers fans also get to test their Irish luck in the annual Puck Surprise fundraiser.
For the past six years, the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation (EOCF) and the Oilers Ladies have picked one game each season to sell Oiler signed pucks in an effort to raise funds for two deserving charities in Oil Country. This year all proceeds will be donated to the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Northern Alberta and the Rainbow Society of Alberta.
The entire team has autographed 2,000 specially wrapped pucks that will be available for sale on the concourse at Rexall Place on Tuesday, March 17th for $20.00 each. The Oilers Ladies wrap each puck individually making it a surprise which player’s autograph fans will take home. Twenty-five (25) of the pucks have been signed in gold ink. Those lucky fans who unwrap a gold signed puck will win a team signed stick.
“This is a great program that allows our fans to support two deserving charities while also having a little fun testing their luck,” said Natalie Minckler, EOCF Executive Director. “The Oilers Ladies help a great deal with this program and we’re thrilled once again by their tremendous support. Of course, as with many of the Foundation’s fundraising initiatives, we couldn’t do it without the very generous support of our terrific fans - and so to fans, a very heartfelt thank you.
The day after the ATB Financial Oilers Autograph Session at West Edmonton Mall, the team rolled up their sleeves for a second time after their practice to each sign 80 pucks. For some players it’s a dream come true knowing hockey fans want their autographs.
“It definitely feels surreal giving out my autograph, it wasn’t too many years ago that I was the one asking for the autographs,” said Oilers sophomore Sam Gagner
. “It’s gratifying to know I can help by giving my autograph in support of this charitable cause.”
The players joked they may have broken a record with the number of autographs they signed in a 24 hour period, but they know the feeling of wanting the autograph of a player they idolize.
“I remember in my first year as an Oiler going to Colorado and hoping to be able to get Joe Sakic’s autograph,” said Oilers forward JF Jacques.
Pucks will be sold at tonight’s game on the main concourse before the game and during intermissions until they sell out. The lucky fans who receive a gold signed puck are invited to go to the Game Day Office located across from section 122 to collect their team signed sticks. Last year, Puck Surprise sold out before the puck dropped in the first period raising $30,000.00.