by Allan Beaver
Not often do hockey fans travel 6 plus hours to watch their favorite team play an NHL game. Well, maybe they do, but with the more than 50 people from Northern Saskatchewan that attended the Sunday, March 12th game between the Edmonton Oilers and the Montreal Canadiens, there was a little something special for the group.
Beaver Sports and Memorabilia Inc. (Edmonton, AB) arranged the meet-and-greet for the group, and talked to Sportsnets’ Gene Principe to do a live TV feature of their visit during the game.
On Saturday, March 11th, some of the group that arrived early in Edmonton got a surprise opportunity to watch the Canadiens practice at the newly minted Rogers Place.
As some of the group cheered on with every save made by First Nations hero Carey Price, others waved to two-time Stanley Cup champion Dwight King.
King is originally from Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan, and some the kids have attended King’s Hockey School, so it was something of a personal connection for all who came.
After practice, both players made their way to the seating area where the group was sitting. Here, they introduced themselves and talked with their fans, signed autographs, and took pictures.
“I had a dream weekend,” says Ile-a-la Crosse resident Ken Raymond. “I’ve been a fan of the Montreal Canadiens forever and always enjoyed watching Carey Price, but to have this time with them is just unbelievable.”
Both players did not disappoint their fans. They took as much time as they could to ensure everyone got an autograph or a picture with them.
“Both players were so humble, and for them to do this for us is just overwhelming”, says Oilers die-hard Donny Favel.
“So awesome that we got to meet a huge Aboriginal role model this weekend, regardless of the team he plays for. It’s even better when Sportsnet calls you and wants to feature your visit on a national broadcasting NHL game,” says Favel. “What an amazing weekend we had.”
Price is a very humble man, and enjoys spending the time to sign autographs. He knows that it will inspire youth in achieving their dreams. One day, and we all know it, Price will raise that Lord’s Stanley Cup above his head, and many, many people across North America will be so happy for him and celebrate with him. Believe me, that day is coming.
Price backstopped Canada to Olympic Gold in 2014, and has almost won every award there is for a goaltender to win, including the NHL Most Valuable Player (Hart Memorial) in 2015. He cleaned up at the NHL Awards that year. Montréal selected him in 2005: 1st Round, 5th over-all.
Dwight King recently got traded from the Los Angeles Kings, who drafted him in 2007 in the 4th round as their 18th pick and 109th overall. He has been a steady force. King played a key role in the Los Angeles Kings first two Stanley Cup championships back in 2012 and 2014.
As there are many Montréal Canadiens and Edmonton Oilers fans in Northern Saskatchewan that travelled to the game, they are already looking forward to the next tilt in 2017-2018 schedule.