Edmonton - October 10, 2014 - It’s been a while since I have written anything directed at the Oilers fan-base, and to be honest I was really hoping that I wouldn’t feel the need to say this, especially not after the first game of the season. The fact of the matter is, in case you missed it, last night an Oilers “fan” attending the game in a sweet Oilers zip-up hooded sweater, was a little bit less comfortable walking out of Rexall last night.
You see, this “fan” decided that it was a good idea to take off that sweet jacket, and fling it over the ice as if a player had just scored a “jacket-trick.” Let me be the first to tell you that a “jacket-trick” doesn’t exist. Neither does a “jersey-trick” or a “t-shirt trick” and hopefully this won’t come up, but just in case, there is no such thing as a “pants-trick” either… at least not in the game of hockey.
I feel the need to point these things out because as many of you have likely become aware, the best way to make a statement to the Oilers front office is no longer bumper stickers, cardboard signs, and a poorly executed campaign that produced a big fancy billboard for 40 days. Apparently, it’s a BLATANT disrespect for the logo that brings joy to so many of us.
I have a major issue when a fan decides to litter the ice with his unwanted apparel. First and foremost, that apparel dawns the same logo that was worn by one of the greatest teams in professional sports history. The team that most of which were in attendance for last night’s contest for charity. Instead of sitting down, watching a hockey game and re-living memories of a different time in their life, they had to watch some drunk idiot throw his Orange and Blue Oilers jacket over the glass in frustration after what was honestly not a bad showing by the Oilers.
Those guys fought in some of the most heated battles, showering that logo on their jersey with blood, sweat, and tears, and many will have their names forever enshrined in the rafters alongside the crest of the Oilers. On a night in remembrance of that, the first night of the season, they had to witness straight disrespect to that logo, to THEIR logo.
The next thing that bothers me about “laundry-tossing” is the fact that adults are the ones doing it. ADULTS are throwing dirty laundry on the ice as if they are a toddler throwing a toy across the room after not getting his way. The kids that are in attendance for these games are being shown that that kind of behaviour is acceptable, and will accomplish some misguided ideas of getting what they want. That doesn’t help anyone.
Another thing about it that drives me crazy is that it gives the fans in Edmonton a terrible image. Do you think that the players in the locker room appreciate their logo being thrown on the ice after they just worked their butt off for 60 minutes on that very same ice? We know that Scrivens didn’t appreciate it last year, and by the look of disappointment on David Perron’s face last night, he didn’t appreciate it either.
So if the players in the Oilers locker room hate dealing with it, how do you think it is talked about in locker rooms around the league? You think the players that have ending contracts on the horizon see that kind of behaviour and think “Oh boy, would I love to pick my own jersey off the ice every time we lose at home!” Of course they don’t, this is a league of tradition and respect, and with the amount of respect that Edmonton Oilers fans show their team in social media, public media, and game-day interaction, the pending UFA’s of the league would have to have mental issues to subject themselves to that kind of abuse.
As fans, we absolutely have a voice, but we are using that voice in all the wrong ways. By complaining about trades, by questioning hirings and signings, we are hearing our own voice, but what good does that do? Oilers fans have enough of a voice to put up a billboard that says “fire Kevin Lowe” but no billboard that says, “quit throwing your laundry on the ice!” There needs to be a culture change in the City Of Champions to go along with the one in the Rexall dressing room and it needs to start now.
Stop driving away potential players with your crap attitudes. Stop complaining about games in which the Oilers outshot their opponents 40-25, and stop writing off success after the first night of the season. Connor McDavid is a long way from Edmonton if last night is any indication. While the Oilers may be farther from the Cup than they are from picking first overall, the pieces are in place, the team is putting in the effort, and it’s time for the fans to do their part. Be better Oilers fans, the rest of the league is watching.
Feel free to disagree with me on twitter @Jthompson2380
ADDITION: The Oilers “fan” that was in attendance that left his jacket on the end of David Perron’s stick forgot that he had just put his phone in the afore mentioned jacket’s pocket. (No doubt after just tweeting something like “Connor McDavid, welcome to Edmonton” or “This is as Lowe as we go!”) Leave a comment suggesting what the Oilers players should do with that phone once in the locker room.