Skip to main content
The Official Site of the Edmonton Oilers

In Depth: Carter's Bond

Through Ryan Nugent-Hopkins' charitable efforts, one young Oilers fan has left his mark on some of the players

by Chris Wescott / EdmontonOilers.com Head Writer

At 5:30 a.m., Carter Hipkin is being lightly shaken awake by his parents.

They help the groggy 13-year-old put on his mask and start the roughly two hours of treatment that has become just a regular piece to his daily schedule. Carter begins inhaling his medications for an hour and a half before the physical portion of his chest treatments begins.

The parents lay their child on a board and beat his back and sides for a half an hour until he is able to cough up the mucus sticking to his lungs. This is just the start of his day.

At 8 a.m., Carter heads off to school, while around the same time, Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is arriving to the rink to begin his game-day routine.

Over the course of the day, Carter will take 40 pills and his treatments begin again in the evening. This is a regular day, a good day - a healthy day.

At night, Carter sits on the living room couch staring intently at the television as he cheers on his favourite team - all whilst his nebulizer mask pumps medication into his lungs and his number-93 jersey rests on his person.

 

View More

In Depth: Bien Voyage

by Cait MacPhail / EdmontonOilers.com

Growing up in Canada often means at least some exposure to the French language. Be it actual fluency or at least the retention of casual greetings or phrases often learned in school that tend to stick for most Canadians outside of Quebec.

To someone who fits the description of the latter, at first glance the two words, "Bien Voyage," would appear to simply mean some form of, "good journey" or "good voyage."

From French to English it can also be interpreted as "well-traveled."

And for Oilers defenceman Yohann Auvitu, either translation fits all the same.

It's been quite the journey for the well-traveled man from the suburbs of Paris. 

 

View More

In Depth: The Battle

An in-depth look at the history of the Battle of Alberta

by Marc Ciampa / EdmontonOilers.com

"The thing that fascinates me the most, is none of us got killed."

Long-time Calgary Flames forward Jim Peplinski summarized the Oilers-Flames rivalry with a single sentence.

If you ask anyone in hockey, one of the most interesting and oftentimes bitter rivalries of all time has to be the Battle of Alberta.

"If we walked out after the game or before the game and saw one of the opposition, you'd go the other way. You didn't even want to see them," said Kevin Lowe, who suited up for the Oilers from 1979 through 1992 and then again from 1996 to 1998. "And they felt the same way about us."

 

View More

IN DEPTH: The Right Shot

Deriving from a family of left-handed shooters, Matt Benning was encouraged to shoot right at an early age to fill a National Hockey League demand

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

THE FOREWARD

BY BRIAN BENNING

The first memory of hockey for me was four boys in a typical Canadian family growing up with a rink in the back of the yard. We'd go out there and everybody kind of gathered at our place and everybody would just play hockey. That's what we knew. We called it pond hockey, river hockey, whatever -- that's where we learned the game. 

Then we'd play at the community centre and eventually as we grew older, we'd go to the outdoor rinks after school and play with the older guys. You'd have to skate really fast or pass the puck really quick to play with them.

Back then, when we were kids, there was a special at Mohawk: If you got a tank of gas, you could go to the garbage can and pick out a hockey stick. 

So, my dad got a tank of gas and my older brother Jim went to grab a stick 

He grabbed a left. 

The next time dad fuelled up, the special was still on: get a tank of gas, get a stick. 

My brother Mark went and grabbed a stick. Of course, he grabbed a left because older brother Jim grabbed a left. 

So, we're playing with two sticks and then it was my turn next. 

I grabbed a left. 

At the end of the day, all four of the Benning boys shot left and it made it easy for dad to buy sticks. He'd buy them by the dozen and the kids would use them. We kind of adopted that. 

But now, the next generation is on the other side -- they all shoot right.

READ MORE

View More

IN DEPTH: Role Model

Oilers forward Jujhar Khaira and Hockey Night Punjabi are growing the sport within Canada's South Asian community

by Ryan Frankson / EdmontonOilers.com

The Foreword

By Harbs Bains, President, Surrey Minor Hockey Association

I met Jujhar earlier this year. The Surrey Minor Hockey Association was hosting a tournament with teams from China and Korea.

When the China team was in town, we were playing at a rink in Burnaby and Jujhar, along with some other NHL players, were there working out and practicing.

A couple of our Surrey kids noticed Jujhar, so I went over, introduced myself and asked him if he would mind coming over and saying hi to the kids. Not only did he come, but he brought a couple of other guys with him.

The kids loved it. He went to the China team dressing room, I introduced him to the coaches and all the parents came in to take photos. He did a wonderful job. 

And then he came over to the Surrey dressing room. The kids all knew who he was, shook his hand, got autographs and took lots of pictures. He was fantastic. I know he was tired, because he had just come off a workout, but he took his time and said whenever we needed something he'd do his best to help us out.

It was a cross-cultural experience and meant so much to those kids, no matter what ethnic background they were. I don't know who had a better time, him or the kids. 

He's a great ambassador for the Edmonton Oilers, a great ambassador for the sport of hockey and a great young man.

READ MORE

View More

In Depth: This is Dave

A look at Dave Semenko's personality, the impact he left on friends and family, and his battle with cancer

by Chris Wescott / EdmontonOilers.com Head Writer

Hannah Semenko and her mother Alana were cleaning out her father's condo.

As tribute to the man and his love of music, the two decided to listen to some of his collection. They hit play on what was already loaded up.

Frank Sinatra's "I did it my way" begins.

The tears fall.

It was almost as if Dave had put that track on to give his girls a message tailored solely for them.

After all, he did do it his way.

View More

IN DEPTH: Studio

Oilers Team Photographer Andy Devlin talks of the images he's taken as part of the Oilers organization

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

There was a lot of buzz in the building when Columbus was in town. I took a disproportionate number of photographs of Connor, as I often do. He is one of the best players in the world and I really feel privileged to be in the National Hockey League with this team.

I was just trying to put the camera on him as much as possible. He scored a spectacular goal and the place erupted. He celebrated by turning left towards me. He skated right by the photo hole and with the lens that you normally use to shoot hockey -- a 70mm to 200mm lens -- when the subject gets too close, you can't shoot him because he goes out of focus. He was right on that edge. To tell you the truth, I wish that image was a little sharper but the moment was fantastic.

And that image went everywhere.

READ AND SEE MORE
View More

IN DEPTH: Bench Brothers

In our latest Sunday In Depth read more about Oilers Assistant Coach Jay Woodcroft, his hockey family and coaching influences

by Chris Wescott / EdmontonOilers.com Head Writer

"Our family is a hockey family, in the truest Canadian definition of the term."

The scouting report on the three Woodcroft brothers varies with their differing personalities.

Craig - the oldest - is intense, serious and detail oriented. Todd, the middle brother, is intelligent and quick witted. Jay is funny and also highly intelligent, as well as meticulous. They all share several traits - as is the case with most siblings - including the well-deserved label of being hard working. The latter is what the Woodcroft family is known for.

Perhaps more than anything, all three share their passion for hockey.

View More

IN DEPTH: Encore

Check out our latest EdmontonOilers.com Sunday In Depth

by Cait MacPhail / EdmontonOilers.com

In our latest Sunday In Depth read more about anthem singer Robert Clark's journey to his position and the epic playoff salute to the late Paul Lorieau.

View More

IN DEPTH: Threads

Recount narratives of the Oilers former uniforms in EdmontonOilers.com's first long-form feature of the 2017-18 season

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

From Al Hamilton's perspective, it was Bill Hunter and the Oilers management who exalted the Oilers silks. "They liked them so much that they never gave us our jerseys at the end of the year," the former Oilers defender said. "They kept them. They were more in love with them than we were." Legend Glen Sather later established a club code. "As soon as he became coach, he introduced the rule that the sweater and the logo never went on the floor," said Short, adding that it was adopted from the Montreal Canadiens. "I don't know if it ever got to be, 'We're proud of the logo,' but there was always a strong feeling for the sweater, for the Oilers… and the reality was that this was the Oilers jersey and those who wore it were indoctrinated."

 

READ AND SEE MORE

 

View More

In Depth: Remember the Run

Revisit the Oilers memorable 2006 playoff run in this week's In Depth

by Cait MacPhail / EdmontonOilers.com

He barreled his way down the tunnel and burst through the doors that led to the Oilers dressing room at Rexall Place, right hand clutched to his mouth and blood pouring from his face - though he didn't feel much. The adrenaline coursing through his body took care of much of the immediate pain.

"There was never any doubt in my mind that I was going back out there."

Former Oilers forward Ryan Smyth was always a believer in leaving it all on the ice and, that particular night, he did just that. He left it all on the ice - including three of his bottom teeth and a fair amount of blood.

The refs scooped up the teeth and worked on getting the blood scraped off the ice while Smyth went off to be attended to by the team physician.

Not 10 minutes later, to the surprise of many, Smyth reappeared on the bench, but not without several stitches in his upper lip. He was back out on the ice minutes later.

 

View More

In Depth: Levels

From the music in the dressing room to the cheer of the crowd, the sounds of the game have a way of impacting the Oilers

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

The discordant noise of 18,000 cheering Oilers fans is somehow so harmonious. When reverberating in Rogers Place, the good vibrations create an exhilarating sensation for the players.

View More

In Depth: The Rookies

Drake Caggiula and Matt Benning have found their fit with the Oilers together this season

by EdmontonOilers.com Staff / EdmontonOilers.com

"I was 5-foot-6 and about 150 pounds when I got drafted into the OHL."

Oilers rookie forward Drake Caggiula was well aware that his smaller stature wasn't necessarily turning any heads when he was selected in the third round of the 2010 Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Priority Draft at the age of 16.

View More

In Depth: Behind the Beard

An in-depth look at who Eric Gryba is behind the beard

by Chris Wescott / EdmontonOilers.com Head Writer

The loud crack of the thick ice expanding and forming below makes a sound akin to that of train cars joining together. At night, the sound strikes an eerie, ominous tone that would send those with weaker nerves running - sliding - for the shoreline.

In a small ice-fishing shack on Slave Lake, in the dead of the Canadian winter, in temperatures ranging from -11 to -31 Celsius that week - and with nothing to block the biting wind - Eric Gryba and his wife, Cate, were enjoying the bye week in a way that was uniquely them. The sound of cracking ice was mildly unnerving, but nothing to abandon their vacation for.

They loved it.

View More

In Depth: Talbot's Story

Cam Talbot's journey to becoming the busiest goalie in the National Hockey League

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

In the finishing department of Stelco Lake Erie Work's steel mill in Nanticoke, ON, worked Cam Talbot. 

View More

In Depth: All-Hands-on-Deck

by Kelli Gustafson / EdmontonOilers.com

Neu·ron /ˈn(y)o͝orän/

Noun : a basic nerve cell that builds the nervous system and transmits information throughout the body.  

Just like a neuron sending and receiving information throughout our body while calculating a response, the Event Command Centre is the cell that keeps Rogers Place pulsating. At only 120 square feet, this small space overlooks the bowl, with the ability to see every nook and cranny of the building - thanks in large part to closed-circuit television (CCTV). 

View More

In Depth: Always Hockey

Even in retirement, Ryan Smyth keeps hockey close

by Chris Wescott / EdmontonOilers.com Head Writer

Ryan Smyth was soaking in the scene around him, his sweat-soaked jersey and equipment stuck firmly to his body. The veteran of more than 1,200 NHL games had experienced many career-defining moments over the years, but this night stuck out amongst them all.

Smyth roamed the Rexall Place dressing room - carrying more than just the weight of all that damp gear. It was the weight of the emotional night that was, that sat with him as he looked around the room at his smiling companions.

"It is very emotional for sure, when you part ways with your equipment and hang it up for the last time," Smyth said.

READ MORE

View More

In Depth: Keepers of the Cup

Phil Pritchard, the '80s Oilers, the city of Edmonton: Keepers of the Cup

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

Phil Pritchard wasn't around when Kevin Lowe was dragged to the corner of St. Anne and Perron in St. Albert, AB amid the off-season of 1984. 

View More

IN DEPTH: The Player Perspective

This week we revisit The Player Perspective, a series penned by members of the Edmonton Oilers

by EdmontonOilers.com Staff / EdmontonOilers.com

They're the ones who play the game, so why not hear it from the horse's mouth? 

This In Depth revisits The Player Perspective, a series penned by members of the Edmonton Oilers.

View More

In Depth: Career Year

by Chris Wescott / EdmontonOilers.com Head Writer

Maroon has always believed he could be a 20-goal scorer in the NHL, but it took an off-season of devotion and an opportunity with one of the game's best young talents to spark what has been a career season for the man affectionately referred to by fans and teammates alike as Big Rig.

View More

In Depth: Vindication

by Cait MacPhail / EdmontonOilers.com

When you looked to the banners that hung in the hallowed rafters of Rexall Place, that now make their home on the north end of newly-christened Rogers Place, there's no shortage of evidence indicating the NHL powerhouse that was the Edmonton Oilers of the 1980s - so much so, that the banners follow a predictable pattern through the mid-to-late 80s.

View More

In Depth: Growing the Game

The Great One helped paved the way for hockey in The Golden State

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

This story was originally posted on Jan. 15, 2017.

Californians are treated to a variety of entertainment options on any given night. With 15 current professional sports teams across the MLB, NBA, MLS and NFL to root for, they still spread California love to Canada's most cherished pastime. 

Much of that is attributed to Wayne Gretzky, who dedicated 20 years to the National Hockey League and suited up with four separate franchises, including the L.A. Kings.

"It's all about the game and everything I have in life is because of hockey," he said.

That sentiment is reversed in California: everything hockey in The Golden State derives from The Great One.

"Nobody probably ever thought that we'd play an outdoor game in Bakersfield in January 40 years ago," said Gretzky, who went from being Edmonton's adopted son to Hollywood's hockey luminary in a seismic trade on August 9, 1988.

Without Gretzky, would hockey in Bakersfield or Hollywood have even been a reality 30 years later?

View More

In Depth: Prince of Puns

What lies beneath the man in the hot dog costume?

by Kelli Gustafson / EdmontonOilers.com

It started out like any other post-game interview.

As a tired Patrick Maroon emerged from the dressing room - having just secured the game-tying goal, helping lead the team to an overtime victory against the St. Louis Blues on December 19 - Gene Principe prepared to go on air.

View More

In Depth: 2016

by Chris Wescott @TheChrisWescott / EdmontonOilers.com Head Writer

2016 was a year filled with exciting moments, memorable games and franchise-shaping transactions for the Edmonton Oilers. Take a look back at some of the biggest things to happen to the club in the year 2016.

View More

In Depth: Holiday Season Scouting

The Oilers scouting staff will attend the 2017 World Junior Championship to scout the next crop of talent knocking on the NHL's door

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

Amid the shopping, errand-running, gift-giving, and bustling schedule of the holiday season, the best time for a phone call with Oilers Vice President of Player Personnel Duane Sutter is when he's on the road gripping a steering wheel. 

"This time of year I got more time when I'm driving," Sutter says. "Always busy in this world."

The scouting world, that is.

READ MORE

View More

In Depth: Courage

Kris Russell's determination and hard-working attitude were instilled in him at a young age by his upbringing and courageous, bullfighting father

by Chris Wescott @TheChrisWescott / EdmontonOilers.com Head Writer

As a bull rider positions himself in the chute, atop a snarling, red-eyed, 1600-plus-pound monster, there's one man standing in the dirt waiting to face the beast with him.

The bullfighter positions himself in the arena, right in the thick of the awaiting chaos, poised to assist. The chute opens and the angry, snot-flinging mass of muscle kicks its way free from his steel cage and attempts to send his rider home with some broken bones and a headache - or much worse.

View More

In Depth: Talbot Twins

Big steps on the ice and big steps off it as Cam Talbot saw his life change, and family double

by Cait MacPhail / EdmontonOilers.com

He finished a rink-side walk-off interview and headed down the tunnel to the dressing room as the cheers of the Oil Country faithful, lined up in the stands, faded behind him.

When he entered the room, teammate Matt Hendricks handed him a Harley Davidson motorcycle helmet to wear-a new team tradition, courtesy of Hendricks. The helmet was to be awarded to the Player of the Game and that night- Cam Talbot was its very first recipient.

READ STORY

View More

In Depth: Joey

Joey Moss is the most famous man in Edmonton, and he doesn't even know it

by Kelli Gustafson / EdmontonOilers.com

"Kenny! Kenny! Joey's hurt!"

A panicked shout could be heard coming from the Oilers dressing room in 2008.

Ken Lowe, Head Medical Trainer at the time for the Edmonton Oilers, rushed out of his office where he had been quietly working on his post-practice training notes, to find Joey Moss hunched over, grimacing in pain on the dressing room floor while holding his shoulder.

Looking over at Equipment Manager Lyle Kulchisky, better known as "Sparky", Lowe could see a smirk climb across his face, as he realized they were mock wrestling yet again. 

READ STORY

 

View More

In Depth: The Ride

Zack Kassian's journey from a career in doubt to personal redemption

by Chris Wescott @TheChrisWescott / EdmontonOilers.com Head Writer

The best part about the ride is it's blissfully void of thought.

There's you, the open air and a mind free of stressful thoughts. Your past takes a backseat to the road that lies ahead. That was the perfect way for Zack Kassian to spend his summer.

READ STORY

 

View More

In Depth: The Evolution

The Oilers dressing room has gone through many different variations and permutations over the years. Take a look at the evolution of the room.

by Marc Ciampa / EdmontonOilers.com

The Edmonton Oilers dressing room has gone through many different variations and permutations over the years, from the WHA at the old Edmonton Gardens followed by Northlands Coliseum to NHL entry in 1979 and then through the life of the Coliseum until Rexall Place closed its doors this past April.

READ STORY

 

View More

In Depth: Missouri Made

Patrick Maroon is part of an increasing pool of NHL talents from St. Louis

by Cait MacPhail / EdmontonOilers.com

One-by-one, players in the first round were selected at the 2016 NHL Draft in Buffalo, NY this past spring. Teams worked their way through picks 1-30, and names slowly came off the board.

And to those paying particularly close attention, a trend was forming. An interesting and - if you asked anyone in the hockey world five years ago - unexpected trend.

VIEW FULL STORY

View More

In Depth: Splitting the Adam

Adam Larsson came to the Oilers in a polarizing trade, but what do we know about the Swedish defenceman?

by Meg Tilley @MegsTilley / EdmontonOilers.com

Four months have passed since the most significant Oilers off-season trade in quite some time.

In a whirlwind 23 minutes on June 29, the hockey world was rattled with the announcements of three substantial moves.

READ FULL STORY

View More

In Depth: Recovery and Redemption

Oscar Klefbom has his sights set on picking up where he unexpectedly left off

by Cait MacPhail / EdmontonOilers.com

Imagine the scenario.

You've made it to the National Hockey League. Your game is rounding into form, and you figure to be a critical piece to your team's puzzle.

But you suffer an unavoidable setback. Just as you were hitting your stride, you're pulled from the game you love.

That was Oscar Klefbom's 2015-16.

View More

In Depth: Old Memories, New Home

by Kelli Gustafson / EdmontonOilers.com

An unassuming box of pucks once shared a space with a lawnmower and garden shovel. Now the contents of that box act as a primary display inside the newly unveiled Oilers Hall of Fame room at Rogers Place.

When Oilers Head Equipment Manager, Barrie Stafford, first caught wind that Glen "Slats" Sather had saved many of the record-setting pucks from his time spent as head coach and general manager of the Oilers in the 1980s, he quickly jumped in his car and drove the four hours to Banff to retrieve the box that had been safely tucked away inside Sather's garage.

View More

In Depth: Only One

There's only one Milan Lucic in the NHL, and he plays for the Oilers

by Chris Wescott @TheChrisWescott / EdmontonOilers.com Head Writer

Milan Lucic sits in a stall of a quiet auxilary locker room in Rogers Place. Three months and some change after signing a long-term deal with Edmonton, Lucic is comfortable in his new orange and blue workout gear. It fits him.

View More