If there was any night for the Edmonton Oilers to pull out a win, Wednesday was it. The team topped the Vancouver Canucks 6 to 2 in their last home game of the season and their last game ever at Edmonton’s Rexall Place.
“This building means a lot to me actually,” Oilers fan Stevel Peddle said. “It’s an emotional night.”
“To see the last game in this building is kind of a sad day for me because it has a lot of memories,” Craig Sinclair, another fan, told Global News.
But very few championship banners have been raised to Rexall’s rafters in decades.
“I saw the great teams, and the not so great teams,” Edmonton Journal sports reporter Jim Matheson of the told Global News.
If you add up every game and practice Matheson has covered, it totals 10 calendar years of his life.
He said fans have come to expect a lack of a post-season.
“I think it becomes like Groundhog Day,” Matheson said. “They (the fans) just expect they’re going to miss the playoffs.”
So now the Oilers head into the off-season training — a time for training, re-jigging and the draft.
“That’s the only thing the Oilers ever win… the draft lottery,” Matheson joked.
Last year, they won big with up-and-coming superstar Connor McDavid. Unfortunately, McDavid hasn’t helped the Oilers improve their losing ways yet.
There are high hopes a new chapter is about to begin when the puck drops at Rogers Place this fall.
The $480 Million arena is meant to revitalize Edmonton’s downtown core — and hopefully the team, as well.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing it,” said Rod Phillips, the former voice of the Oilers.
He called more than 3,500 games for the team and has rarely missed watching them on TV since he retired in 2010.
“I don’t anticipate it’s going to be a lot better next year, but they seem to be going in the right direction,” Phillips said.
But a fancy new arena won’t be enough, said 630 CHED radio host Reid Wilkins.
“I just think the team has to win and they have to build around McDavid,” Wilkins said.
Philips believes “it’s only a matter of time” until the Oilers turn things around
“I think it’s only a matter of time before they get things turned around,” Philips said.
“We’ll have some more glorious days in Edmonton,” he said.
“Better Luck Next Year” is a week-long series airing on Global National looking at the impact of Canada’s Stanley Cup playoff drought on the teams, the fans and the seven cities home to NHL teams. Watch Global National at 6:30 p.m. ET/AT and 5:30 p.m. MT/PT.
WATCH: More stories from Global National’s “Better Luck Next Year” series