Today was historic for the Edmonton Oilers.
Today was arguably one of the most important moments in this franchise’s history dating back to its inception into the National Hockey League in 1979.
Today, the Edmonton Oilers and its diehard fan base can finally begin looking forward to tomorrow.
The Edmonton Oilers will, for the first time in the team’s history, select first overall in the NHL Entry Draft, June 25-26 in Los Angeles, following the lottery announcement made earlier this evening by the NHL’s Bill Daly.
“I’m very excited for the people of Edmonton,” a composed and yet relieved Steve Tambellini said on TSN, which aired the annual lottery announcement.
“We have the most passionate, true, grassroots hockey fans that I’ve ever experienced. “It’s a wonderful place to play hockey.”
Sitting, as though he was about to take a Sheldon Souray howitzer to the groin (Right, that was yesterday!), the Oilers GM listened intently as Daly first announced the Islanders, followed by the Blue Jackets, the Panthers and then the “Edmonton Oilers”, leaving Boston with the obvious second overall selection.
With a 48 per cent chance to earn the first overall pick, some would argue the balls, so to speak, were in the Oilers’ court.
Frankly, the way the storm clouds have gathered the past few seasons, including 530-plus man games lost to injury leading to nightmare 30th place finish this year, nothing is a given.
And when things can’t seemingly get any worse, hours after the team wraps up the 2010 debacle, one of its prized D-men launches a public assault on the club’s front office – some would argue a warranted attack – demanding a trade from the Heartland of Hockey and a team and its players he grew up idolizing.
Tonight, however, the storm clouds suddenly disappeared with that announcement, only to be replaced with renewed hope and celebration by a city hungry to, once gain, relive the “glory years”.
Or at the very least ice a competitive team!
Come June 25th, hope begins with the new kids in the Hall – or Seguin!
Context is a valuable commodity in professional sports and with those who live and die by them. Oilers Nation can celebrate tonight, but must surely temper their enthusiasm and realize that to build a champion requires years of nurturing and care, especially when the proverbial garden is bare.
In the meantime, keep your chins up and sticks down Oiler fans!
About the Author
Written by Scott Pattison
Scott is an award-winning sports writer whose career spans more than 20 years. He's proudly covered the Oilers since moving to the Alberta capital in 2000.