McDavid or Matthews? A Definitive Guide to Being an Oilers Fan in Toronto

Surviving big city life as a small town sports outcast.

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On my walk home from working at OpenSports, I usually walk my by the local outdoor hockey rink and stare longingly at the games going on, wishing I could don my new Edmonton Oilers jersey and hit the ice for some pick up hockey — I don’t own a helmet so I’m kinda SOL until my broke ass finds a job to buy one in order to play (more on that adventure in another blog post). There’s also something else stopping me from going on the ice, and that is that I only have my Oilers jersey here, and living in Toronto, you need to be careful where your allegiances lie.

If you ask any Edmonton fan, who’s age ranges from 13 to 30, what the best day of their lives was, it will almost certainly be June 26th, 2015 — the day Connor McDavid was drafted to the Oilers.

After the Oilers’ 2005–2006 miraculous playoff run, my beloved team plummeted into an eternal abyss of failure known to most fans as the Decade of Darkness; young, talented players would come to Edmonton to either see their careers end, or be traded for pennies on the dollar. Coaches and staff would also change as frequently as I (should) change underwear — laundry detergent isn’t cheap. That was of course, until the coming of our Lord and McSaviour, McJesus, McDaddy, McJeanshorts, or whatever colloquial term you identify with most.

After Connor’s inaugural year in the NHL was temporarily put on hold due to a broken clavicle, issued to him by Brandon Manning of the Philadelphia Flyers, the Oilers came back strong in the 2016/2017 season making it to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and rejuvenating the franchise (not so much this year). Connor also fulfilled a personal vendetta along the way. *See Video*

Video courtesy of Sportsnet.ca (http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/gotta-see-mcdavid-scores-chirps-flyers/)

SO, why am I writing this? Because I am currently going to school in Toronto, home of the new and improved Toronto Maple Leafs (Leaves?). Most Oilers fans can agree that they have one of the most annoying fan bases, especially when they play the Oilers, because us Edmontonians all consider McDavid to be the second coming of Gretzky (and rightfully so), while Toronto fans think the same, if not more, of Auston Matthews, the Maple Leafs’ very own first round pick (cute). It also doesn’t help that Edmonton was beat by Toronto in both meetings this year.

Video courtesy of Sportsnet.ca (http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/russells-goal-hands-maple-leafs-win-oilers/)

Because of this, it is very difficult to openly be an Oilers fan in Hogtown. However, I have assembled a list of tips and tricks you can adopt in order to survive the arduous task of being loyal to the oil without taking a barrage of hate from arguably the most annoying fanbase in hockey right now (OH SUE ME!). *This advice can be applied both on and off the ice*

  • Want to wear your brand new McDavid jersey out in public? No problem! Just cover it up with a Maple Leafs jersey and never EVER take it off. Ever. (You don’t need the emotional trauma anyway)
  • If somebody asks you who your favourite team and player are, look them dead in the eye, and say “The Leafs and Matthews, duh?!?” and then say a silent prayer to McJesus and plead for forgiveness
  • Looking to watch the Oilers vs Leafs game at a bar, but don’t want to get beat up? Just pretend it’s totally okay when the Leafs are dominating the Oilers by cheering along with every gut wrenching Toronto goal. The pain will go away soon … I hope
  • Here’s a fun one; when someone at work or school wants to talk to you about how good the Leafs are doing, don’t run away, just entertain the conversation for as long as they want. You’ll have plenty of time to ‘ugly cry’ in the bathroom during your lunch break.
  • When all else fails, just move back home. You’re not cut out for this life anyway. The hustle and bustle of the big city does not bode well with us Alberta country folk anyway. Leave, and never look back. At least you can enjoy an Oilers loss in -30 degree weather in the 60th best city in the world.

At the end of the day, it’s just a sport and we should ALL be friends right? Wrong.

Oilers forever.

If you need help organizing a sporting event or you’re just an Oilers fan, reach out to jake@opensports.ca 🏒

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