I have been to many, many Edmonton Oiler games over the years. Back in the day (when the team won games instead of simply embarrassed themselves during them), my family was lucky enough to split season tickets. It was always a good time.
The past few years, however, it has stopped being fun. Watching an inferior team makes for most contests to be quite boring, and the prices have spiraled so out of control, that seeing a game is unaffordable for the average person, like me. Now, seeing an Oilers game may be a once-in-a-season occurrence, most often tied into scoring some free tickets.
Therefore, to satisfy our hockey needs, a friend and I went to our first Edmonton Oil Kings game last night, versus the Calgary Hitmen. I like WHL hockey, and the quality is good, so we figured to give it a try.
And it was excellent. Superior to an Oilers game on many levels.
Here are some notes (mainly positives):
- Nice to see a winning team! The Oil Kings took over first place with their 7-3 win last night.
- Those cool alternate jerseys. I am not a fan of the gaudy blue and reds they usually wear, but I like the black and neon green they are sporting. You can tell the fans reacted well to them as well, since there was a significant number of fans wearing the new colours. Not too sure about the logo, but the design is modern, bright, and fun.
- The price. Seats in row 14 nearer to one of the corners were $25 each. Those same tickets for an Oilers game would probably be $175.
- The lower price also contributes to a better environment. Tons of people decked out in Oil Kings gear, which is always great to see. I guess you don’t mind buying your kid a t-shirt or jersey when the games themselves aren’t costing you an arm and a leg.
- The quality of the hockey is strong. Again, it’s a winning team here. The Oil Kings went to the WHL finals last season and went o the Memorial Cup the year before. They are solid. And, to be fair, it’s not really that big of a drop off from the quality of Oiler games, aside from the opposition. The Oilers are terrible and make rookie mistakes. When the Oil Kings make those mistakes it is ok. This is junior.
- Family atmosphere. Tons of families there. And that was great to see. The Oilers have pretty much priced families out, so it is nice to see they still come out in droves to see good hockey in this town.
- Overall, much younger crowd.
- Great players. It was awesome to see New York Islander Griffin Reinhart play. Along with other future NHLers like Curtis Lazar. These kids are good.
- No drunken a$$holes. These are common at Oiler games. Not so much here.
- Leaner crowds. It is nice they block off part of the upper deck. Having fewer people in the arena makes the concourse area, washrooms, and concession lineups, much more pleasant to deal with.
- Only negative: concession and beer prices are the same. I thought maybe they would have dropped their beer prices a little for the Oil Kings, but they remained the astronomical $8.25 for a cup.
Great job by the Oil Kings. It was a fun game to watch, lots of good highlights. I will definitely be going back this season.
Because I can afford to.