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A Die-Hard Oilers Fan Rejoices in Edmonton’s Playoff Return After Years of Misery

Is this what being happy as an adult feels like?
Mack Lamoureux
Toronto, CA
Photo by Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

Holy shit, you guys… the Oilers aren't a skating clusterfuck.

The last time the Oilers weren't shitty I was a 16-year-old virgin with no direction in life, and living in rural Alberta. Now I'm 26, have no direction in life, live in the soul-sucking hole known as Toronto, am very proud to announce I'm no longer a virgin and, fuck me, THE OILERS ARE GOOD AGAIN.

I, like a lot of other fans in Alberta's capital, have spent the last 10 years watching the Oilers be just terrible but, because it's Edmonton and we're all good little boys and girls out there, we stayed true to the copper and blue. We stuck it out through the thick and thin, through the Coglianos and Gagners, through last-place season after last-place season, through the tenure of Dallas fuckin' Eakins. For 10 years, from our $700 nosebleeds, we watched Kevin Lowe and Daryl Katz, in a bid for eternal life, suck the essence and youth out of numerous first-round picks.

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We stuck it out, yes, but goddamn did we ever spend a lot of time watching the Oilers suck the big one. You may ask yourself, how much time, Mack, did you spend watching the Oilers suck? Well, my fair reader, I did the math:

If you take the conservative estimate of the number of games I watched per season of 50 (30 for the lockout season,) you would have 480 games. With each game being roughly 3-hours long that's 1,440 hours I spent watching the Oilers lose. That's 60 full days I watched (some of which, need I remind you, included Shawn Horcoff as our captain) or put another way, 8 and a half weeks. That's 86,400 heartbreaking minutes. You get the drift, right?

(IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE: If this math is wrong and you feel the need to take to Twitter to call me an asshole over it, I'm going to need you to remember that this is an article built around the incoherent ramblings of a happy sports fan—go do something productive instead.)

Oilers saviour, Connor McDavid. Oh no, wait, that's Shawn Horcoff. Photo via Wiki Commons

In the amount of time I spent watching Robert Nilsson attempt to become an NHLer I most likely could have learned to speak basic Russian and worked out a plan on how to make sure Nail Yakupov wasn't drafted.

It was a long time is what I'm saying here, a decade lost in the wilderness. Every year we would tell ourselves that this is it, this is the year that X will save the team. We ran the gambit. Our saviour's ranged from Rob Schremp, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Yakupov, to a returning Ryan Smyth (may he live forever in our hearts.) Every year we were wrong.

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It's almost like former players from the glory days of yore don't make the best executives, eh?

READ MORE: Down Goes Brown's First Round Western Conference Playoff Preview

Things got so out of hand that, at one point, we wanted blood and didn't care if it was spilled from the gullet of a former Oiler. In 2014, someone bought a newspaper ad featuring a full letter to Daryl Katz about why Kevin Lowe should be fired. Other times anti-Lowe billboards were bought and signs were parked outside of Oilers HQ. To be fair, when he was in control of one of the worst teams in history, Lowe, at one point, started bragging about all the Cups he won in his playing career and said: "I think I know a little bit about winning." So, yeah, fuck that guy. Long live Peter Chiarelli.

Those were some pretty dark days. Fans would boo the Oilers and pick on-ice targets for our ire (sorry about all that Justin Schultz, you seem like a nice guy.) Everything reached a fever pitch with fans throwing their jerseys on the ice. The Oilers themselves were fed up with the fans, and Ben Scrivens picked the jersey up with his goalie stick and threw it back at them.

But then it happened, after driving amazing player after amazing player into the ground, our true saviour McJesus arrived. Now if you're not an Oilers fan, you may say, you don't deserve him, you had 97 percent of the first overall picks in the modern era, McDavid should be in Toronto, and that the NHL should have rigged the draft against Edmonton. My answer to that is: fuck yourselves, he's ours—we got him, boys—simple as that.

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Frankly, the last season has felt like a dream. Watching McDavid become the best player in hockey (he is, fight me), Patrick Maroon have a career season, Cam Talbot stand on his head, Darnell Nurse whip some ass, and, among other things, the rise of that big German lug, Leon Draisaitl, has been amazing.

Sweet, sweet Connor McJesus. Photo by Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

In all honestly, right now, just being able to watch a playoff game feels amazing—like a privilege, even. It feels like the 1,440 hours of suck was worth it, which, I suppose, is one of the beautiful things about sports. I'm sure that feeling will evaporate when Benoit Pouliot banks the puck off the back of Talbot's head in triple overtime and we lose Game 6 to the fucking Sharks. But until then, man, it sure feels good.

And tonight, well, I'm going to throw on my Fernando Pisani jersey and listen to some Corb Lund while walking to a nearby dive. I'll ask the nice person behind the bar to turn on the first game of the Oilers-Sharks series, order myself a Lucky Lager for old times' sake and, for the first time in a decade, be a happy sports fan.

Mack Lamoureux writes for VICE.com. You can follow him on Twitter.