Edmonton Oilers cut Octane cheer team

Edmonton Oilers fans enjoy a performance by the Oilers Octane cheer team during second period NHL hockey action against the Columbus Blue Jackets in Edmonton on Thursday, December 16, 2010. John Ulan, The Canadian Press

As the Edmonton Oilers prepare to move to their brand new downtown arena, the Octane cheer team will not be featured in the club’s new digs.

The Oilers Entertainment Group confirmed Tuesday evening the cheer team has been discontinued.

“The organization is looking for a new direction related to the fan experience, both in-game and in the community, as we head to Rogers Place for our inaugural season,” a statement from OEG read. “Details will be announced in the coming weeks.”

2016 would have been the seventh season for the Octane.

The Oilers made history in December 2010 when they debuted the first-ever Canadian NHL cheer team. Members of the Octane performed at home games and were involved in community events alongside Oilers’ players.

READ MORE: Wayne Gretzky statue moving from Rexall Place to downtown Edmonton

Before the Octane cheer team was formed, hundreds of people signed a petition in hopes of stopping the team from being created.

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Amanda Rayner started with the Octane cheer team in its inaugural season and stayed with the team for four years. While the team received a bit of negative attention before it was formed, Rayner believes hockey fans really warmed up to the Octane.

“We came in as a team under a petition, a city-wide petition. Overnight they had more than 11,000 signatures – physical, handwritten signatures of people that didn’t want us,” Rayner said.

“Once we came into the arena, they gave us a chance and I would say overall it was very positive.”

Rayner and former teammate Rachael Simand said they not only gained confidence with the Octane, they gained lifelong friends.

“We’ve definitely created a bond with everybody. I think it’s a really good way to build confidence in women and just getting girls together on a team and being role models for younger girls,” Simand said.

“It is sad that the team has come to an end, but definitely… there’s a lot of excitement over this new arena and I think there’s a lot of exciting things coming ahead.”

The club will continue to have a community presence with its Oilers Orange & Blue Ice Crew, made up of men and women who will represent the organization at games and community events.

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Auditions for the ice crew will take place on at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 21 at Servus Place in St. Albert.






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