Last week, OilersNation readers, commenters and ne'er-do-wells Travis and Cory Dakin made the trek down to Edmonton to take on an Oilers game live at RX1. This is their story as told by Travis...
The journey down the Highway to Hell (Hwy 63) is a perilous one. It started off well with a stop at the BK lounge for some double whopper fun. With a belly full of whoppers and fists full of Red Bulls, we punched our ticket and made like bats out of said "Hell."
The drive started with us listening to the satellite radio and having my subscription expire an hour into the journey. Good timing. It was about this time that I decided to try to pass one of the 79 "wide loads" that we eventually encountered on the trip.
Friends, before punching the gas in a large truck while driving on a slippery highway, don’t forget to make sure the 4x4 is engaged. I don’t think I can accurately describe the feeling you get when you are looking in the side window of a Semi through your front windshield. All the while keeping pace with his 100km/h forward trajectory.
Thankfully nothing was coming the other way. Thank god, because that's when I ran out of washer fluid.
When you leave Fort McMurray bound for Edmonton, it's about two hours to the next gas station. We actually debated the idea of emptying our bladders on the windshield until we could get to one but dirty snow was the eventual solution. We were risking our lives to cheer for you Oilers... "Don't you half-ass this game tonight," we thought.
The last time I was in Edmonton I got together with Jeanshorts, Hoodlum and Librarian Mike down at the Pint. We had a grandiose time so I decided to show my brother Cory the magic of the Table Keg. We arrived in town and checked into our hotel just down the street from the Pint. We then immediately ran over to make sure we could get a tasty meal and a few brews in us before we had to head over to the game.
HOW MANY OUNCES IN TWO TABLE KEGS?
We arrived at 4:05pm. Now I’m not usually one to take advantage of the LRT so I had no idea what time to leave before the 7:30 game time. What to do? Let’s ask the Nation! Good old reliable nation ((see comments 28 and 43).
The waitress came over and asked us what we would like.
"We’ll take that giant tower of God’s sweet nectar please... Wait, we’ve only got 2 hours before we have to leave. Can we finish that?"
"Just the two of you? Uh, I’m sure you’ll be fine," she said. And in a flash of light the heavens opened up and sent down our precious gift.
Look at this thing! A single tear rolled down each of our cheeks as we laid eyes upon the bounty we had received. We poured ourselves a glass each and with a toast to good fortune and the coming Oilers victory, we ordered our food. An order of mini burgers each and a giant greasy plate of poutine.
A funny thing happened as we finished off these tasty dishes. Cory went to pour himself another glass and it hit us — our once towering and imposing table keg was now empty. It was only 5:15. “Shall we get another?” he asked me. Before I could get the answer out, one more of those glorious wonders of the world was presented to me by the hands of an Angel.
Fast forward to 6:15pm and another Tower crushed: we decided to make our way to the LRT feeling not too shabby and quite proud of ourselves.
Things were getting fuzzy. As we walked to our train, a nice young lady and her guitar serenaded us. Cory stopped to give her $20 while my cheap ass made a wide loop to avoid a case of awkwardness. I decided to buy some tickets for the both of us while Cory was busy getting rocked. We got on the train and noticed something odd…. There were a hell of a lot of Flyers jerseys around us. We did the Nation proud and immediately started to jeer any and all who we deemed to be enemies of our noble squadron.
We especially had fun at the expense of this guy who we saw wearing acid-washed jeans with his jersey TUCKED IN! The lady with him was mocking him quite mercilessly as well.
THE DAKINS ARE IN THE BUILDING
We arrived at RX1 and completed our pre-game ritual of touching the feet of the Great One.
Side story: December 30, 1987 was the first ever game that I went to see. A 6-0 win against the same opponents tonight. Gretzky scored four points. What really stands out for me though was when I, as a precocious 7-year-old, had my face pressed to the glass watching my heroes warm up before the game. As I stood in awe looking at the number 99 standing only a foot away with just the glass separating us, I asked my Dad why Gretzky didn’t participate in the warm-ups.
He said, "Because he is the best in the world."
At that very moment, the Great One turned and looked directly into my eyes, tapped the glass with his stick and gave me a wink. I’ll never forget it.
What I wouldn’t give to have been a 30-year-old really getting to appreciate what that team was. No, instead I get to be an almost 30-year-old watching these "players" skating around in the silks that Gretzky made famous. With that thought in mind, we headed in and decided to blow a lot of money on the 50/50.
"Wouldn’t it make one hell of a story for the Nation if we actually won?"
We sought out four different vendors throughout the arena and bought two booklets off of each one. $40 a booklet!
Whoever won that money should really be thanking us. With tickets in pocket and plenty of time to spare for game time, we acquired ourselves some premium Rexall beers and headed to our seats in Section 106, row 6.
Things are getting really fuzzy. At the end of the warm-up I noticed that Sam Gagner is indeed that last player to leave the ice. I watched him intently, hoping to see him pick up a few pucks and toss them into the crowd of 6 and 7-year-olds. Just like another of our former heroes used to do. No such luck. Oh well, it was Smytty’s thing anyway.
We took our seats, Rexall beers in hand and started to watch the game. I’m sorry but you’ll have to refer to the GDB for details of the game because there are a lot of holes in my memory of the on ice play for some reason. Details that do stand out:
- Accidentally walking into the girl’s washroom twice (Why are they so close together?)
- Coming back to my seat only to find my brother trying to give the guy sitting in front of him $40 because he spilled his beer all over his back. Then spending the final 2 periods begging for forgiveness (this gentleman was a class act and totally understanding).
- Getting into some friendly banter with a Flyers fan and his son from Beaumont and having a 10-year-old kid get into it with these guys as well.
- Talking to Mark Messier’s cousin (they are on a first name basis).
- I remember JDD doing some acrobatics to keep the Oil in the game.
- More beer.
Half way through the third, Cory announces that he needs to go to the washroom and promptly leaves. I become thoroughly focused on the game and as the clock ticks down, I start to anticipate overtime. With 20 seconds left, Gagner makes a sweet dish and Potulny is there to bang her home. OILERS WIN BABY! I turn to high five my brother and.. wait, where's Cory?
He must have been booted! I quickly dial his number and when he answers he mutters something about being outside. I tell him I will be right out but as I am walking up the stairs I see a lot of beer left behind by dejected Flyers fans. "I found free beer!"
Could they be real? I grabbed four of them and as I tried to make my way to the concourse balancing them. A security guard started giving me flack for having four beers.
"They are for my friends!" I said as some random Oilers fans passed by. They happily grabbed a couple and started chugging. They seemed to enjoy them so they must have been real. Good enough for me! So I indulged in one myself.
THE DAKINS HAVE LEFT THE BUILDING
Things became a blur. Cory was nowhere to be found so I hoped on to the LRT to hopefully meet him back at the hotel. Within two stops I hear, "This train is now out of service."
Where the hell is Clareview? Where is my brother? I put in another call to the Nation... (comment 23).
Some lovely fellow Oilers fans pointed me in the right direction. I got back on the LRT and made my way back towards civilization. I got off the train about five blocks too early and had to stumble my way down Jasper Ave hoping to remember where my hotel was. I swear to you that a group of women I passed had pepper spray ready to take me out if I looked at them funny.
I finally found the hotel and there was Cory, passed out in the room safe and sound... At 11:00.
I was still ready to party so I caught a cab over the Baccarat, proceeded to win $175 dollars at blackjack and had the smarts enough to walk away ahead.
I then caught a cab back to the Funky Pickle to satisfy the insatiable beast in my stomach. All they had was pepperoni and mushroom. Disgusting, but a desperate man can’t be choosy.
Two slices of 'za down and I decided to call it a night. And what a night it was.
I win, Edmonton. I win.