Okotoks to play in famed Northlands
Hockey: Memories of watching that other Oilers team
Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017 10:13 am
Some Okotoks Oilers will have an early Christmas gift when they step on the ice where some players they used to idolize played —players like Ryan Smyth and Chris Pronger.
The Oilers will play at Northlands Coliseum against the Spruce Grove Saints this Friday, in what may be one of the last hockey games at the fabled arena where the Edmonton-brand of the Oilers won five Stanley Cups.
Okotoks forward Tanner Laderoute has been to Northlands before — cheering on the Edmonton Oilers.
“It’s great to be playing in Rexall – that and Skyreach was the array of names it went through,” said the Edmonton native. “I can remember the games me and my dad went to, the same spot we parked, the same way we walked in, the same seat.
“It is an incredible experience to play somewhere that I dreamed about constantly growing up.”
The Edmonton Oilers last game at the Coliseum was a 6-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on April 6, 2016. They are now at Rogers Place.
The 20-year-old is too young to have seen the Gretzky-Messier glory days, but does recall the Oilers’ trip to the Stanley Cup finals in 2006.
“Fernando Pisani, Michael Peca they lost to Carolina — (goalie) Dwayne Roloson got injured, he’d been awesome,” Laderoute recalled. “They just couldn’t pull it off. We had our neighbours all huddled around the TV to watch the games.”
Alas, the Oilers lost in Game 7.
He said his family is also looking forward to the Okotoks Oilers visit to Edmonton.
“I’ve had numerous people call me saying: ‘Hey you’re playing at Rexall that will be fun,” he said. “There are numerous people coming to watch me and our team and hopefully we will perform for them.”
Oiler Marc Pasemko also grew up in Edmonton.
“I have lots of memories — I remember watching them in the Oilers Stanley Cup run, watching them play Anaheim and San Jose and it will be unreal to play there,” Pasemko said. “When the day comes, I will have some nerves but my dad always told me nerves means I care about the game.”
Fellow Oilers Kylor Wall, and Kaleb Ergang grew up in Edmonton and area.
Puck-drop for the Alberta Junior Hockey League tilt is 7 p.m. at Northlands.
The Saints have a strong connection with the NHL’s Oilers as former captain Ryan Smyth is a part owner of the AJHL franchise.