The day Edmonton Oilers fans have been waiting for is finally here. The team is about to make its first appearance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in 11 years.
The Oilers finally clinched their playoff spot with a 2-1 win over the L.A. Kings on March 28.
WATCH: The moment the Edmonton Oilers clinched their playoff spot
Clinching moment. pic.twitter.com/2lPUbpuZhV
— 630CHED (@630CHED) March 29, 2017
Things certainly have changed since the night of June 19, 2006 when the Oilers lost 3-1 in game seven against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Connor McDavid was only nine years old, now he’s the team’s captain and star player. Edmonton’s population has grown by almost 200,000 and the Oilers are breaking in a new barn in a district that 11 years ago was sleepy on game nights. Now it’s set to explode.
It’s been a long time coming for this city, and many of the players. But this team is ready.
— Rogers Place (@RogersPlace) April 11, 2017
“There are going to be some nerves in the first I would say five or ten minutes, probably on both parts, even with experience,” said winger Milan Lucic, who has played in 101 post-season games. “For myself as well, for that first game of the playoffs, you still get those butterflies like you did your first time around. But that’s a good thing. You have to try to use it to your advantage.”
LISTEN: Rod Phillips classic playoff calls
Fans around the city have started showing their Oilers pride even more than they usually do.
Rick Jones has been an Oilers fan for decades. His house in north Edmonton is decked out with Oilers gear. The newest item on his lawn is an orange Oilers flag.
— Sarah Kraus Global (@SarahNKraus) April 10, 2017
— Don Iveson (@doniveson) April 11, 2017
@EdmontonOilers Shark fin soup yum lol , Go Oilers Go!
— Adrian (@BoydChia) April 12, 2017
— Ryan Ketler (@OilersMeat) April 11, 2017
— x – Healthy Scratch (@dougers14) April 12, 2017
— x- Summer Korethoski (@SKorethoski) April 12, 2017
— x-Corey (@corn_cwm) April 12, 2017
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) April 11, 2017
One fan even came from halfway around the world.
Damien Ward, from Camden Australia, was given an Oilers hat as a gift about six years ago. Three years ago he pulled it out of a box and decided to learn what the logo was all about.
Ward watched about half the Oilers regular season games this year, usually online.
READ MORE: Australian fan falls in love with Oilers
“When I started watching some of these Oilers games, they had full houses though they were still losing. I though, that’s commitment and that’s dedication,” he recalled. “That’s what I like in life. I like commitment, and I like dedication.”
— 630CHED (@630CHED) April 11, 2017
“I thought, ‘look at the crowd reply! Look at that response. Look at the team. I thought, I gotta be there. I gotta share in this,’” Ward said.
WATCH: Corus Radio Edmonton employees get in the playoff spirit
One thing’s for sure, Edmonton Oilers’ fans have been waiting a long time for this. And now the fans deserve this.
The first playoff puck in 11 years drops at 8 p.m. Wednesday night. All the action can be heard live on 630 CHED, starting with the Faceoff show at 6 p.m.
– With files from Scott Johnston and Reid Wilkins, 630 CHED and Caley Ramsey, Global News