Skipping School


We’ll keep calling it the McDavid factor until someone else
comes up with something catchy. He’s been the catalyst for sweeping changes in
Oil Country. Even before being drafted he was responsible for the end of the Glory Days Oilers in management and the turnaround in respectability that the
Oilers experienced. He’s unquestionably the reason why the Oilers have
36 nationally televised games scheduled. He’s also the reason why the team is
going to play its annual rookie match against the University of Alberta Golden
Bears in Rexall Place for the very first (and last) time.

The Oilers and the Golden Bears announced a change in
venue on Monday. On September 16th, the Oiler rookies will square off
against the two time defending national champion Golden Bears away from Clare Drake arena for the first
time ever. It’s a break from tradition that some
people are not overly happy with, but at the same time it’s understandable.
Reports from many who have attended previously say that the venue was uncomfortably
cramped the last several years, and that’s without the added impact of Connor

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The Oilers have seen first-hand the draw that McDavid can have when they opened their doors so the public could freely watch McDavid
compete in a Rookie Orientation camp and scrimmage. The results were
extraordinary. Considering the rookie/Bears games were already selling out,
this was a no-brainer. At just $30 a ticket, the game is reasonably priced and
the hockey should be very high quality.

Not only will this game include McDavid, but it will presumably
include Nurse and Draisaitl as well. It’s going to be one of the most dynamic
rookie teams the Oilers have ever iced. As for the competition, the U of A Golden
Bears hockey program is second to none in Canada and the roster is largely
comprised of former Western Hockey League players.



For the cynical who immediately assume that the Oilers are
pocketing all the added money the club will generate by selling 12,000+ seats
(maybe even sell out) at Rexall, the money goes towards a combination of the
Golden Bears and the Oilers Community Foundation. It’s going to fund charity
and collegiate sport. I doubt the game will be this in demand in the future,
given that it should be the last time McDavid, Nurse, and Draisaitl will
compete in it, and it’s a nice way to kick off what will be the last ever season
played in Rexall Place.

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The Golden Bear game, in recent years, has capped off the
Young Stars tournament, which has also sold out all of the Oiler games from my
understanding. This year the Oilers are going to feel a lot like a travelling
circus (but for different reasons than it normally does) in the sense that
everybody wants to see the show. Everybody wants to see McDavid in NHL silks.
The Oilers didn’t need help selling tickets, but I can’t help but think they
are going to see a big boost in their road attendance numbers all across the

As for breaking the tradition of the game, the Oilers have
broken tradition previously during the Tambellini era when the Golden Bears
game was cancelled for three consecutive years. The version of breaking tradition where
the game is played in front of double the people is considerably better than
the alternative. It was shocking when Tambellini decided to stop the
U of A games, not because it was a needless action born of a mistrust for the
local university and collegiate sport in general that made the Oilers look
petty and afraid, but because Tambellini actually made a decision at all. He
must have laboured over that one for months with no interruptions, which wasn’t difficult
since he wasn’t busy talking to other GMs ever.

  • sportsjunkie007

    Actually I think $30 is way too high. That is approximately what I pay per ticket for my seats in the Gallery for NHL games. Yes, I will go, and thank goodness the money is going to the Bears and the community fund, but McDavid or no McDavid that is a lot to charge for the rookies vs a university team.

    • JBD

      That is what the price of the rookies game has been for the last few years. There is more entertainment in the rookie games than the recent NHL games so you are getting a good deal. The games are a blast to watch as both teams have a big reason to show up and play.

    • Don’t be so cheap.

      The money goes to fund the University Hockey program, which would beat the Oil Kings any day of the year as they are all ex Junior’s going to hockey.

      Given the fact that there is very little athletic support for Universities in Canada, this is much needed $$$ for the U of A hockey program. By the way, the most successful University hockey program in Canada.

      So boo hoo hoo on your comment.

  • sportsjunkie007

    Young Stars tourney…

    Just checked on the SOEC site. Friday vs. Canucks and Saturday vs. Flames are both sold out, likely scalper tickets available though. Monday vs. Jets still has tickets available.

  • monsterbater

    I don’t think anyone can say whether it’s too much money for a game or not. The market dictates this. If you don’t want to pay $30 then don’t, but saying it’s too high while also planning on going at the same time is exactly why it is priced as high as it is.

  • Canoe Ride 27.1

    I enjoyed watching the young stars streaming on TV, but the McFactor has me making the road trip for the first time. Keep in mind, Nurse and Drai have some serious influence on that one too.

    36 nationally televised games and Gretzky-esk attention. No wonder the flames trolls have been so bitter. You start to understand their pysche.

    • Rob...

      “No wonder the flames trolls have been so bitter. You start to understand their pysche.”

      What’s the difference between a lit fart and a Calgary troll? One ‘results’ in a flaming a-hole, the other just is one.

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      i heard it was going to be 18,500? not bad, but i personally was hoping for 19,000+. problem with 20,000 or more is that you could end up very far from the action if you get nose bleed seats.

  • The Soup Fascist

    Arch, in terms of the “McDavid factor” do you give any credence to the rumour (while it has been reported I have never seen any credible sources confirm it) that Bobby Orr may have made a very pointed phone call to Bob Nicholson?

    The conspiracy theory is that once it was clear that McDavid was going to be chosen by Edmonton, Mr. Orr – also Taylor Hall’s agent – “suggested” that his client(s) would be more comfortable playing in an organization embarking on a “fresh start” in terms of management.

    Does Orr have that much stroke and would a man in Nicholson’s position listen to an agent? Or did Nicholson make this decision on his own, essentially determining “enough is enough”?

    It was the right decision to muzzle Lowe and MacT, but can we credit McDavid, et al, for expediting the process?

    • Without any insight into management, I imagine a part of the “internal audit” Nicholson made involved checking around with his many contacts (who invariably include Orr) to see how Oiler management was perceived league-wide. I doubt it was just Bobby Orr (if he indeed said such a thing) suggesting change. But I doubt things happen so fast if the Oilers lose the lotto.

    • mcjesus take the wheel

      Just as likely, it was Todd McLellan himself that caused the Oilers to act. If you recall, shortly after he was fired by the Sharks, it was reported in the Journal that he was secretly meeting with the Oilers. Then, silence… Nothing was ever announced. If McLellan had refused to work under MacT and Lowe, that might have forced Katz’ hand, as it would be clear evidence that highly sought after and experienced coaches had no interest in working under the previous management.

  • ubermiguel

    For a lot of kids on both teams this will be a once in a lifetime chance to play a competitive game in a legendary rink. Also worth noting 06 SCF Legend Fernando Pisani should be there as a Golden Bear Assistant Coach.

  • ubermiguel

    Duplicate post, so I’ll use this opportunity to say I had forgetten Tambo cancelled the rookie/Golden Bears game. Yet one more reason to dislike his time here.

  • mcjesus take the wheel

    I wonder if they are going to be changing venue , and start charging for open public training camp as well , seeing as seating is so limited out in Sherwood Park ? McDavid has rock star status here already , and $30..00 to see him is probably a bargain for some . To bad it costs so much to park at Rexall, however . Think I’ll pass on that game , and see him more frequently and better up close , if open practice with no parking fees will still be available .

  • Train#97

    Can’t wait for Rogers place to open. It’s exactly the shot in the arm that Edmonton needs to boost it back to being one of the best cities in Canada!
    Even to just watch a nationally televised game from Rogers will be of great excitement.

  • There is advanced purchase for season ticket holders for this game. However, all you need to do is enter the promo code “ROOKIE” to unlock the tickets on Ticketmaster. No proof of season seats required.

    Now all of ON can get their tickets Thursday and take over Rexall!!

  • I’d way rather pay $30 for a game at Rexall than at Clare Drake. There’s backs on the seats at Rexall!!!

    (For real though, this is a good thing, and the Bears will definitely benefit from a bigger crowd.)

  • Spiel

    “Everybody wants to see McDavid in NHL silks.”

    Stop trying to adapt terms from other sports to hockey. It is annoying. This isn’t horse racing, and hockey doesn’t need to adapt terms from other sports to make it sound more sophisticated.

    In hockey, players wear jerseys, sweaters, or uniforms. They don’t wear a kit or silks.

    Next thing you will be calling it a hockey “match” and a shutout will be a “clean sheet”.

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