Manitoba principal writes letter to young Oilers fan’s parents to let him watch late games

Click to play video: 'Manitoba principal backs late bedtime for 9-year-old Oilers fan'
Manitoba principal backs late bedtime for 9-year-old Oilers fan
The Edmonton Oilers playoff run has connected fans all across the country and of all ages. For some of those fans, staying up late to watch the games isn't always ideal. But one principal in Thompson, Manitoba says students should be allowed to stay up past their bedtime — if it's for the Oilers. Jasmine King explains – May 28, 2024

As a nine-year-old kid, there’s nothing worse than having to go to bed instead of staying up late to watch your favourite hockey team in the NHL playoffs. That was the case for Levi Ford — a diehard Edmonton Oilers fan from Thompson, Man.

That was until he combined forces with his fellow Oilers-loving school principal who helped him convince his parents to let him stay up to watch the entire game this week.

“I want to watch McDavid because he’s super fast,” Levi said. “He’s the best in the world!”

“Last Friday, I was on recess duty and Levi happened to be on a play structure,” said Todd Harwood, principal at Deerwood School in the northern Manitoba city.

“Sometimes when I see him out there, we talk Oilers. So that conversation happened to be like, ‘Great win. Did you get to see the end?’ I kind of knew the answer because it was the double overtime win.”

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Harwood said that’s when he and Levi came up with the idea to send a letter home to the boy’s parents.

“I’m like, ‘Do you think we should send a letter to your parents so you can stay up to watch the end of the games?” and (he said) ‘Yeah!’”

“Levi and I were just hatching a plan to basically play a prank on his parents, because sometimes when you get a letter coming home from the school they’re not always so rosy. So that was kind of the intent of the letter was to just kind of mess with his parents a little bit.”

On Friday, Levi came home with a letter from Mr. Harwood — formally written on school letterhead.

“To the Parents of Levi Ford,

During a conversation with Levi, he informed me he was not permitted to stay up to watch the end of the Edmonton Oilers game last night. I am writing you to let you know that not permitting Levi to watch Oilers game until their conclusion could be detrimental to his development. 

I am concerned that Levi will miss out on Zack Hyman’s crafty moves in front of the opponent’s net and Leon Draisaitl’s lightning quick snap shot from his off-wing. Most importantly he could be missing out on the natural endorphins generated from a glorious Oilers win. 

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In the future, I hope you will take into consideration Oilers game times when determining Levi’s bedtime. 

Breaking news from Canada and around the world sent to your email, as it happens.

Go Oilers!”

“I thought it was hilarious… amazing,” said Levi’s mom, Kristyne Ford, who took to social media to share the prank.

“When (the games) were in Vancouver, they were really late, so we sent him to bed,” she admitted.

Levi’s dad, Raimey Ford, also enjoyed the joke.

“I knew him (Harwood) before he was Levi’s principal. So I knew he was an Oilers fan, he knew I was an Oilers fan, and I guess just playoff stuff, right?” Raimey said.

Raimey Ford and his son Levi.
Raimey Ford and his son Levi. Courtesy / Kristyne Ford

Levi has been an Oilers fan since he was a baby, following in his dad’s footsteps.

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“That’s his number one team,” Raimey said.

“He likes watching. He’s a standard young kid that, he gets flustered and frustrated and, ‘Oh, they’re gonna lose.’ And then, ‘Oh, they’re winning again.’ He’s like a little emotional roller-coaster.”

Levi Ford is an diehard Edmonton Oilers fan from Thompson, Man.
Levi Ford is an diehard Edmonton Oilers fan from Thompson, Man. Courtesy / Kristyne Ford

“McDavid, McDavid, McDavid, that’s all I hear,” Kristyne said. “He’s quite anxious watching the games. He wants them to win at all cost.”

But while the letter might have started as a prank on Levi’s parents, it turns out their practical joke just might have paid off.

“The letter worked,” Levi said on Tuesday afternoon. “I stayed up ‘til like 10 last night to watch it.”

“He’s doing OK today in school so there’s no side effects,” Harwood added.

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Kristyne Ford and her son Levi.
Kristyne Ford and her son Levi. Courtesy / Kristyne Ford

The parents think their son’s tactic is also a great example of the bond he’s been able to build with his principal, and vice versa.

“I think it’s great. Mr. Harwood is a trusted person and to establish that kind of relationship and to get Levi to trust him and to like him, I think it’s important,” Kristyne said. “He’s a shy kid… Mr. Harwood is an amazing principal.”

Levi Ford, 9, and his school principal Mr. Harwood have bonded over their love of the Edmonton Oilers. Global News

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