Why the Oilers usually are not “Canada’s team” within the Stanley Cup final

After the Edmonton Oilers secured their spot within the Stanley Cup Final, the query to Connor McDavid on the rostrum was predictable.

Winnipeg, Vancouver and Toronto also had Stanley Cup aspirations this spring, but Edmonton is the last Canadian team still within the race. And so the query to the Oilers' superstar was somewhat inevitable, as Edmonton is on the verge of ending a Canadian Stanley Cup drought that has lasted greater than three many years.

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“Can you talk about being Canada’s team?” A reporter asked McDavid on Sunday night. “From coast to coast, the Oilers are cheering. Does that add extra pressure?”

McDavid handled the query effortlessly.

“We're a Canadian team and we have great Canadian fans,” McDavid replied. “And it feels good to maybe unite the country a little bit and bring people together.”

It's a wonderful, easy story, isn't it?

A hockey-obsessed nation desperate to make their championship trophy their rightful claim to return north of the border.

It's a storyline that's been pushed over and once again in a Boston Pizza industrial that appears to be running during each timeout and break on TV these playoffs. The industrial begins by detailing the suffering of several Canadian teams since Montreal's magical run to the Stanley Cup title in 1993.

Someone punched through drywall after Vancouver lost Game 7 to the Rangers in 1994.

A Toronto fan threw a plate through the tv screen after the loss to Carolina within the conference finals.

An Oilers fan repeatedly drives a pickup truck over his flat screen TV after a second-round loss to Anaheim in 2017.

And a bitter Montreal fan throws his AM radio on the bottom after the Canadiens lost to Tampa within the 2021 Stanley Cup Final.

(The Flames' and Senators' appearances within the Stanley Cup Finals in 2004 and 2007, respectively, were unnoticed of the industrial. But hey, you may't cram that much Canadian misery right into a 30-second spot.)

The message of the industrial is straightforward: Canadian NHL fans have experienced nothing but bitter disappointment over the past 30 years. It's time for hockey fans on this country to place aside their deep-rooted, historic rivalries and are available together.

As the industrial ends, fans gather at a Boston Pizza sports bar wearing merchandise that’s just generic enough to avoid a trademark infringement lawsuit from the NHL. But it’s clearly intended to indicate a Canucks fan and a Flames fan high-fiving on the bar. A Senators fan and a Canadiens fan stand side by side. An Oilers fan and a Leafs fan clink full beer glasses together.

“No Canadian team has won the Stanley Cup in 30 years. Maybe it's time to try something different,” the industrial urges. “This year, let's work with the fans we've always cheered against.”

However, this industrial and the reporter's query to McDavid are based on pure fantasy – not reality.

Will some casual hockey fans in Canada cheer for the Oilers as an alternative of the Panthers?


Will some big NHL fans on this country be hoping that McDavid – the very best player of his generation – finally ends up winning a Stanley Cup ring?

You can bet on it.

But will the vast majority of die-hard hockey fans on this country cheer for the Oilers as actively as they might for their very own team?

Forget it.

Of course, most Canadians want the Stanley Cup drought to finish, but with one very essential caveat: provided that it happens to your favorite team. Otherwise, it's like watching your neighbor win the lottery. I suppose that's nice for them, but what does it do for you?

Consider these social media Sportsnet 650 poll in Vancouver after the 2 Stanley Cup finalists were decided. Of the 1,531 individuals who voted, greater than 70 percent said they might cheer for the Panthers. Only 16.4 percent said they might actively support Edmonton, while almost as many (12.9 percent) said they might remain completely neutral.

And yes, Vancouver fans – who would have made up the overwhelming majority on this poll – is likely to be bitter because Edmonton actually eliminated them within the second round.

But that's the crux of the matter.

You can't just ask a Vancouver fan to temporarily put aside their hatred for an Edmonton team that just knocked them out of the playoffs. Nor are you able to ask a Calgary fan to disregard many years of hatred and bitterness within the Battle of Alberta and suddenly root for his or her cross-provincial rival. In fact, Calgary fans have full permission to take a seat out the complete Stanley Cup Final.

The Montreal-Toronto-Ottawa trio won’t ever root for one another, and while Winnipeg will at all times be considered essentially the most likable Canadian team, it's not as in the event that they've developed a national identity of any kind.

It's a ridiculous query that plagues us each time a Canadian team continues to be in contention after Victoria Day. Should we embrace the last Canadian team standing out of national pride?

But the reply is at all times obvious.

Just consider the backlash in Toronto when the CN Tower – town’s most famous constructing – was lit up in red, white and blue in the summertime of 2021 to Commemorating the Montreal Canadiens reaching the Stanley Cup Final.

This was unpleasant and caused a lot excitement that a spokesman for the CN Tower needed to make a press release and stated: “It is federal property, operated by the federal government, and belongs to all Canadians.”

When the Canucks were the last Canadian team within the COVID-19 bubble in the summertime of 2020, our James Mirtle and Sean McIndoe had a fun and energetic debate concerning the idea of ​​Vancouver being Canada's team.

To settle this argument once and for all, nonetheless, let's compare the Oilers' run to what the Toronto Raptors completed five years ago. When the Raptors began their magical run to the NBA title in the summertime of 2019, it felt like the complete country was on fire. Huge television parties were thrown across Canada.

In Abbotsford, BC, greater than 1,500 fans got here to observe Game 5 of the Raptors-Warriors series on the Abbotsford Centre. At the opposite end of the country, within the Maritimes, there was Huge TV parties for Raptors games in places like Halifax and Moncton.

This summer, Cineplex Odeon opened 33 theaters across the country to indicate Raptors games on the massive screen.

“Canadian fans are invited to unite and support the Raptors as they face the Golden State Warriors live on the big screen,” In their press release it said.

They must do the identical for the Canadian team, the Edmonton Oilers, in 2024, right?

Unfortunately, a Cineplex Odeon spokesperson said this week: “There are currently no plans to show the Stanley Cup Finals series in cinemas as we have not been granted the theatrical rights to do so.”

And perhaps that is only a formality regarding the “movie rights,” but I don't feel just like the Oilers would have enough national appeal to observe parties in every major city.

We do it for major Olympic events. The FIFA World Cup. And yes, the Raptors and the Toronto Blue Jays because they’re the one Canadian-based skilled teams of their respective sports.

But if there are any huge open-air viewing parties planned for Oilers games this month in Ottawa, Winnipeg and Toronto, I definitely haven't heard anything about it.

To our American friends who think we're obsessive about getting our Cup back, please know that we haven't put the country on hold to see if the Oilers bring home the title. Not everyone on this side of the border is sitting on pins and needles. We're not like England waiting for a FIFA World Cup.

It's only once we cheer for the Canadian national team in domestic competitions that we're all definitely on the identical page. The Olympics are essential to us, and in that regard, this country has come a good distance since 1993. Three Olympic gold medals in the boys's competition is a fairly nice consolation prize during an extended dry spell with no Stanley Cup.

(We don't want responsible anyone here, but we all know of a rustic south of us that hasn't won a gold medal in the boys's event since 1980. And 44 years is sort of a dry spell, by the way in which.)

While an Oilers win would end a 31-year drought for a Canadian-based team, it will do nothing for every other fan base on this country. Cities like Ottawa, Vancouver and Winnipeg, which have never won a Stanley Cup, wouldn’t be held even partially liable for an Oilers win. And a win by the Edmonton Stanley Cup team would only add to the anger of Toronto fans, who’ve now gone six many years without winning a title.

But if there's one reason we must always all rally together this month to cheer Canada on for an Oilers Stanley Cup, it's to place an end to the ridiculous notion that we're all waiting for the Stanley Cup to come back home.

And if the Oilers win the Stanley Cup in June, perhaps we will put an end to this whole “Canada’s Team” thing once and for all.

The athlete

image credit : www.nytimes.com