Edmonton’s new three amigos – Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi Svennson – have all headed their respective ways for the summer, on the heels of turning this hockey-mad city on its ears.
The Oilers’ week-long prospect camp brought 28 of the team’s budding prospects to the Alberta capital, where the team’s coaching staff, led by head coach Tom Renney, continued the process of “changing the culture” throughout a last-place franchise.
And if you’re wondering if there was any “linger” to the buzz created during the Tyler vs. Taylor lead-up frenzy to the 2010 NHL Draft, consider this: it’s July, vacation time in E-town, more than four months since their team was eliminated from qualifying for post-season play, and the stands at Clareview Arena were jammed!
On Friday, following the conclusion of the team’s 3-on-3 tourney, the players gathered and gave a stick salute to the crowd, demonstrating their amazement at the copper and blue faithful.
And that is why Edmonton is the Heartland of Hockey! Amazing really. For all of the hope and chemistry displayed on the ice and across the city by the three amigos at various events, including appearances at an Edmonton Eskimos (CFL) game and throwing out the first pitch at an Edmonton Capitals (Single A) baseball game, it remains just that – optimism on paper.
That said, the Oilers, who finished 30th last season, have no where to go but up, and in a town hungry for a winner – a competitive team, for that matter – Taylor, Jordan and Paajarvi, represent a ton of hope for a franchise that has taken numerous hits to its collective psyche following questionable free agency offers, dubious contracts and poor drafting.
It may only be on paper, but the depth of this organization bodes well for a bright future, possibly sooner than some might expect.
The Oiler prospects have gone home now and will intensify their work-outs, in anticipation of the Vancouver Canucks Young Stars Tournament, Sept. 12-16 in Penticton, B.C., a summer-time beach paradise in Canada’s beautiful Okanagan Valley. I have a special spot for the Peach City, a city where both of my boys were born.
The eight game, round-robin tourney will feature prospects from the Oilers, Flames, Ducks, Sharks and Canucks.
If you’re a fan of one of these teams, there couldn’t be a better road trip – unless it involved the Stanley Cup, of course.
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.