The biggest Edmonton Oilers news of the week had to be the voting of the Edmonton city council to move ahead with negotiations and plans to build a new arena for the city of Edmonton and the Edmonton Oilers. Plans and designs are still being worked out, so details are still sparse. Oilers' owner Daryl Katz was on Oilers Lunch with Bob Stauffer on Thursday, and reminded Oilers fans that he is committed to Edmonton and committed to the Oilers. The city was looking for an agreement to keep the Oilers in Edmonton for 30 years, the Katz organization made it 35.
Katz is looking to build a world class arena, and speculations now have seating at approximately 18,500. This is a huge step up from the current 16, 839 but isn't the 20, 000 that some fans would like to see. The Katz organization has said that they do not want to have a bad seat in the house, and that is why they are keeping the seating numbers where they are. These numbers could change, but this is what they are expected to be at this point in time. I have been to half of the arenas in the NHL, but I have not sat in the last row in some of the newer arenas, so cannot comment on what the view is like in the highest capacity arenas.
In other Oilers news, Ryan Jones and Steve MacIntyre were turkey hunting this past week and sharing their stories on Twitter. Jones didn't catch anything, but did see something about a hawk and a squirrel, and MacIntyre was happy with the fruits of his labours. On Tuesday night as Tyler Seguin had another excellent night in the playoffs, Ryan Whitney poked fun at Taylor Hall. I imagine the two were close after being on the IR together for the latter portion of the year.
The Memorial cup begins for Oilers' prospect Drew Czerwonka and the rest of the Kootenay Ice on Saturday May 21st against the OHL champions, the Owen Sound Attack. The Oilers posted an update of Czerwonka this week on their website. It is a shame that coverage of the Memorial cup will not be that easy to find locally, but I will be sure to bring updates to your attention as there is at least a little Oilers interest, unlike the NHL playoffs at this moment.
There was of course NHL news this week. The cause of Derek Boogaard's death was released on Friday the day before his funeral in Regina; it was said to be accidental. Boogaard was feared on the ice, but loved off of it, there will likely be many more stories from high school teachers, neighbours, former coaches and acquaintances. I had the opportunity to speak with a friend of the Boogaard family in the spin class I teach no less. I was told stories of just how big Boogaard's heart was. He has a sister who is also extremely tall and was struggling to find a prom dress in Saskatchewan. Boogaard took her to New York with him. They not only found her the dress she was so desperately seeking, but also a whole new wardrobe. Of course Boogaard had the means to help, but it still warms your heart to hear stories like that.
Dwayne Roloson is still the talk of the NHL for his performance in the playoffs so far, but there is still a story you may not have heard. Roloson made friends with a young goaltender at his camp starting in 2007. Roloson was an idol for Kelly Ryan since the age of seven. Tragically, the youngster died while riding his bike last August. Roloson believed in young Kelly Ryan and remained a family friend. Through these playoffs, the young goaltender is with Roloson, in the form of a green painted shamrock on the back of his mask. The series between Boston and Tampa Bay seems to be closer than many may have thought. The Bruins lead the series 2-1, but as we know that means it isn't over yet, especially to the fans of Roloson, Oilers fans or not. In fact Phil Esposito has turned his back on his former team, the Boston Bruins and is pulling for the team he brought to existence, the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Word broke during the Boston Tampa game three Thursday night that the Trashers are indeed moving to Winnipeg. Friday morning there were of course stories saying that the deal is not done. It does sound as though it is only a matter of time, a new owner could not be found in Atlanta and there is ownership ready and waiting in Winnipeg. Although a new team would likely not be called the Jets, I for one will be following this story with great joy and excitement.
The people of Quebec city see the potential move of the Thrashers as a good sign that they will be next. At the same time, the rumour of a team and 19,000 seat NHL quality arena in Markham Ontario has resurfaced once again. At this point, the rumour is just that.
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