It’s been a wild couple of weeks around here and I wanted to say thank you
By baggedmilk8 months ago
Sitting in my office at Nation HQ, I found myself drifting off in my head and thinking about how wild the last two weeks have been for this website and the company as a whole. In a span of only nine days, we took a plane full of people to Toronto for an incredible #NationVacation before shutting the Pint down for our 15th anniversary party only a week later, and it got me thinking about how lucky we are to have the community surrounding this website to be able to make these kinds of things happen.
THE #NATIONVACATION TO TORONTO
On March 10th, a group of 30 of us jumped on a plane — after some wild weather delays put us back by a day — and we made our way to Toronto for our second-ever #NationVacation to the Six. Even though we went to Toronto in August of 2022 for a Blue Jays trip to see what a summer getaway would be like, the idea of going to see the Oilers and Leafs was just too good to pass up, especially on a Saturday night for Hockey Night in Canada. It was the kind of bucket list hockey experience we thought would be exciting and worthy of a trip so we reached out to our friends at AMA Travel to help us put together a package that would make for a trip to remember.
As always, AMA Travel came through for us in a big way and made this trip as seamless as possible even when the weather in Toronto tried its best to derail our weekend. Yet, despite the snow in Ontario that threw a roadblock our way, the folks at AMA Travel worked their magic and made sure we were all on our way despite the delays. Equally as amazing were the people on our trip that were understandably annoyed by what was going on but ultimately knew that there’s not a whole lot we can do when Mother Nature isn’t cooperating. But once we were finally wheels up and on our way, everyone on that plane was geared up and ready to go. Nothing was going to stop us from having a good time, and that’s exactly what happened regardless of how horrible the hockey game went when we got there.
From the moment we landed at the Fairmont Royal York hotel, our crew was ready to go and it didn’t matter that we landed at midnight — we all went out to kick off the weekend in style. On the Saturday before the game, our group met up for a pre-party at The Bottom Line and you could tell from the moment we walked in that we were all there for a good time. The chants were happening, people were mingling, blue and orange jerseys were everywhere, and the vibes were sky-high in anticipation of what was to come. Once we got to the Scotiabank Arena and walked up to the Gondola Suite where we watched the game, it became abundantly clear that this wasn’t going to be any ol’ viewing party. Instead, what we got was a box packed with 46 people that were not only excited about being there but ultimately made the evening an overwhelming success despite what turned out to be a lopsided loss.
As much as it pains me to say, we’ve been on quite a few of these trips where the game didn’t go our way but the group of people we got to spend time with made for a wonderful experience anyway. Looking back on this trip now, it’s amazing to think about how much fun we had despite the speedbumps and I can’t say thank you enough to everyone that joined us to make that weekend in Toronto so special. I always feel very lucky to be able to attend any #NationVacation and that goes even more so when we have a group that’s as kind and fun as the one we went with. One more time, I want to say thank you to all of the amazing Nation Citizens that joined us in Toronto and to AMA Travel for helping us make the weekend so special. Gord knows I can’t wait to do it again.
THE 15TH ANNIVERSARY PARTY
After the Toronto trip wrapped up, there wasn’t much time (or rest) until the Oilersnation 15th Birthday Bash at the Pint Downtown, which happened this past Saturday at the Pint Downtown. Not only was it hard to believe that it’s been 15 years since Jay and Wanye laid out the blueprint for a site that would eventually change my life, it honestly felt like only yesterday when we were celebrating our 10th birthday. But with another birthday showing up on the calendar, we knew we had to throw a party to commemorate the occasion and we also knew that the only place this thing could go down was at the Pint Downtown.
This was another one of those milestones that seemed really weird to experience because we don’t often think of how time flies when you’re living that content life on a day-to-day basis. 15 years making content about the Oilers? Really? There’s no way. But even though the 15-year mark felt almost unreal and made a few of us feel old, we knew we were going to throw a party to commemorate the occasion and we also knew that all of you were going to make the day feel incredibly special. As hoped, Nation Citizens came through in a huge way to help us mark the day while also raising some money for Free Play for Kids.
In the weeks leading up to the event, we saw that tickets were moving at lightning speed and it was basically a foregone conclusion that we were going to sell out of tickets. Once that finally happened, we all knew that we were in line for an amazing day. What I didn’t expect, however, was rolling into the Pint only 30 minutes after the doors opened and seeing the bar at 75% capacity long before the hockey game was even scheduled to start. I remember opening the front doors, walking into the room, and seeing jerseys everywhere along with Nation Gear designs and hats that I hadn’t seen in years. It was almost like a time machine and a really cool visual representation of how long we’ve been grinding away at this thing, and also a wonderful reminder of how many of you have been along for the ride this whole time.
As the day wore on, I found myself wandering around the bar more often than I usually would because I wanted to soak up the moment and really appreciate how remarkable it was to see so many of you that wanted to be a part of our big day. I met so many people on Saturday that had fun stories about how they found the website/podcasts/social posts and what it means to them that it was almost overwhelming for a shy weirdo like me that uses arguably the dumbest pseudonym in sports. Only in Edmonton would we be able to pull something like this off, and only this fanbase would buy into the way we cover our favourite team with this much passion. No matter how you slice it, Saturday was incredible for all of us.
Spirits were high, the vibes were excellent, and I’ll never be able to find the right words to describe how truly special everyone made Saturday’s party for all of us that work here at The Nation Network. It was the kind of event that makes us want to work even harder to make sure that we’re giving you the kind of coverage and content you want to consume because we know how many options you have. But if Saturday’s party told us one thing, there’s no other community quite like what we’ve got here at Oilersnation, and I can’t thank all of you enough for spending the day with us and making the event such an overwhelming success. Honestly, it means more than you could ever know.
THANK YOU, NATION
At the end of the day, none of these trips or events work if not for your support and I cannot say thank you enough for allowing us to put on these events as a means of getting everyone together. As much as what we do doesn’t get a whole lot of love with the team itself or the league as a whole, the community we’ve built in Edmonton (and beyond) is as incredible to be a part of as it is confusing to anyone that doesn’t understand what we’re doing here. That’s why I wanted to wrap up this article with a simple thank you to all of you that are reading this right now and have supported us over the years. Whether we’re arguing in the comments section or high-fiving at a viewing party, Nation Citizens are the pulse of our organization and we couldn’t do anything we do without you. Thank you, Nation. Here’s to another 15 years.
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