June 21 2010 04:51PM
Last year Robin Brownlee wrote an epic article documenting and lamenting the death of newspapers. At the time, there wasn't going to be a single correspondent from Edmonton's two newspapers covering the NHL Entry Draft in Montreal ending decades of tradition.
Said Brownlee at the time "Instead of Matheson's insights or the acidic sarcasm of a Rob Tychkowski over at The Sun, fans here will have to get their dope on the Oilers from the Ottawa Citizen, Ottawa Sun or the Montreal Gazette. Well, that or from TSN or Sportsnet."
Turns out this was a larger problem than was originally thought too, as the dailies in Vancouver and Calgary were also keeping their crack team of writers at home. Instead of first hand reporting, they would all rely on newswire articles to fill in the throngs of paper reading fans of the goings on at the draft.
Most of us read the article and shook our collective heads at indicator #2,304,876 that the economy was squarely in the toilet. And this was exactly the moment when the craziest thing in the history of the OilersNation happened.
People started demanding to make donations to send Brownlee to the draft.
We can vividly recall getting a buzz on the ol' cellular telematrix from bingofuel. "Wanye" he began, "people are writing on the Nation that they want to donate money to send Brownlee to the draft." "Is that so?" we replied, "well the quick way to silence people like that is to put a donation button on the site. That ought to shut em up, with their lousy good intentions."
We both laughed heartily at the idea and bingofuel updated the article to include a paypal donation button and we began to solicit donations to send Brownlee to Montreal for the Draft.
We figured we would raise about $100 which we would then refund to our Grandmas, thanking them for the donation and giving them their money back.
That night we attended the Coldplay concert at Rexall place. That many emotional women in that close of quarters always brings out the concert goer locked deep within our hearts. But instead of watching women swoon to the dulcet tones of Viva la Vida, we were being peppered with our phone blowing up in our pocket every 5 minutes.
Wondering what on earth people could be messaging us about we pulled out the ol' phone to see that it was paypal confirmations of donations rolling in from the site. Shocked to our very core, we watched hundreds of dollars roll in that night and ended up having to turn off the phone in order to get some much needed post Coldplay sleep.
The next day we updated the article to note that all surplus funds would be donated to charity and this got the attention of Lynda Steele and the gang at Global. They put bingofuel and Gregor on the news and not only did the traffic to the Nation explode, but we raised enough to send someone to Montreal, with a tidy donation to the Stollery to boot.
BUT WHAT OF BROWNLEE?
The hilarious part in all of these amazing turns of events was that we didn't actually ask Brownlee if he could go to the draft. Being caught up in momentum means you don't have to ask for permission to do anything ever and we just assumed that if somehow the internet paid for Brownlee to go to Montreal then by gum he would go to Montreal.
Except that he has a rich and full life including a wife who was out of town and a young son who didn't feel quite up to the task of babysitting himself for 3 days while Dad sat on Rue St. Catherine laughing at the internet a world away whilst enjoying a Bud Light and pretending to be at the Molson Centre.
Luckily our other pillar of MSM Jason Gregor was able to step up and fill the void and went out to Montreal regaling us all with tales from the draft floor. Over 27,000 people read that article in the weeks to come making it the all time highest read article on the OilersNation.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES
This year the Oilers are picking first in the Entry Draft - in case you read this site often but haven't quite picked up on that little fact. Every media outlet in town will be sending someone down to LA watch the Oilers buck the trends of Central Scouting and take Cam Fowler first overall.
This is after all the biggest thing to happen to the Oilers since they failed to win the SCF06 and we need all hands on deck to see this thing go down live and let us know about it back home.
As such, we have bucked up and will be sending 3 seperate folk to the draft: Jason Gregor will be returning for the second year in a row, Pat Steinberg will be going down from FlamesNation to cover the exciting first pick of the Flames - 64th overall - and will be left to wonder what life will be like covering that mess of a squadron for the next 4 years while the Oilers busily rebuild themselves into a contender.
And yes, after much arm twisting Robin Brownlee has also agreed to go to LA on all of our behalf.
Three seperate dudes. Three airfares and three luxurious hotel rooms for 3 nights and four days. Three hungry mouths to feed and three thirsty livers to assault with frosty beverages.
This is the most expensive thing the Nation has ever done Nation. And for the second year in a row we are asking for your support and help us out with the costs of sending Mr. Brownlee to the Draft.
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Click on ye button above to send the money to the local orphans.
For those of you looking incredilously at your screen asking for for money to read a free website - remember that this event marks the only time we ask for anything from the Nation during the year. Well, except that time Amber entertained us all by asking for a kidney transplant donor. What happened to her anyway?
In tribute to our favourite broadcaster and secret crush for as long as we can remember, any extra funds will go to the Alberta Council of Women's Shelters - stongly supported by the First Lady of the OilersNation Lynda Steele of Global News.
As you may recall the ACWS was involved with Original Joes and the Beat the Heat campaign this season. It is a tremendous organization dedicated to supporting womens shelters around Alberta and providing much needed support to victims of family violence.
If ever there is a cause that a bunch of mouth breathing hockey fans can get behind on the eve of an 18 year old super stud coming to town to thrill us all for the next 10 years - this is it.
And so for the second year in a row, we are reducing ourselves to begging in the street for change to send Robin Brownlee to the Draft. And unlike last year, we can assure everyone he will be going and we can also assure Gregor his record of "Most Read Article" is about to be smashed to smithereens.