They call themselves the Edmonton Oilers 7, a name that reflects the team and the idea that fans are the “seventh man” on the ice. Their hope? To make Rogers Place the loudest arena in the National Hockey League.
Bring the noise
“In Edmonton, we like to think of ourselves as a unique hockey market. We connect with the team differently than other cities and we kind of feel like the team is a part of our identity, of who we are, and the atmosphere at the arena should reflect that,” Jamie Fyshe, the founder of EO7, said.
The idea started a couple months ago, after Fyshe took a friend from Ireland to an Oilers game at Rogers Place.
“He fell in love with hockey, he fell in love with the Oilers but being from that culture of rugby where it’s just loud all the time, people are constantly chanting,” he said.
“The atmosphere that’s there – we need this. We need to make the Edmonton experience like this. We are passionate Oilers fans and we need to show that we’re passionate.
“People have nicknamed Rogers Place the library and if you remember what it was like in the cup run that they had, it (former Oilers home Rexall Place) was called the loudest building and we need to get back to that.”
What’s to blame for a quiet Rogers Place?
Fyshe believes there are several reasons for the toned down vibe at Rogers Place.
“One would definitely be 10 years of losing – people kind of forget what it was like to be in a loud building. I don’t know if people completely trust it. They’re like, ‘just wait. I don’t know. They’re doing good now but I don’t want to throw my weight behind it and be disappointed again.'”
“And then I think it’s also, you just got this new arena that people are still feeling out, you know? They’re not quite sure what’s going on there yet.”
Global News spoke with several Oilers fans in December who had their own theories on the muted mood. One fan suggested the acoustics in the new barn might be to blame.
“If somebody in the next section to you isn’t loud and you are, they don’t hear you being loud,” said one Oilers fan at Rogers Place.
Others agreed with Fyshe, saying a decade without playoff hockey in Edmonton was without a doubt the reason for the more reserved fans.
“It seems that the crowds have gotten quieter as the years have gone by,” a fellow Oilers fan said.
While some may think the atmosphere at Rogers Place is too quiet, there are fans who prefer a calmer crowd.
Jordan Slator has been going to Oilers games since the glory days and said fans have long been quiet and attentive during the regular season.
“The fans didn’t go crazy all the time,” he said. “You think they might with that kind of star power but I think the fans tended to approach the game a little bit on an intellectual level.”
How does EO7 plan to pump up the volume?
After the game with his Irish friend, Fyshe said the pair began brainstorming some new chants they hope will pick up steam in Edmonton.
“Don’t get me wrong, I love the, ‘let’s go Oilers’ it’s classic. But we need something more unique, maybe something more player-oriented, to show the players that, ‘we know you guys and we support not just the team but we support the people who wear the jerseys.'”
EO7 has created a Facebook page to get people on board with the movement and share ideas. Since starting the group in December, the page has gained nearly 200 members.
“I knew that the Oilers fans out there were passionate and that they wanted it and that somebody just had to kick-start it,” Fyshe said.
“We have this brand new, state-of-the-art arena and the fans need to get behind the team as well and show that playing in Edmonton doesn’t mean you just put on an Oilers jersey. It’s so much more than that. The fans appreciate what it means for people to be Oilers.”
Watch below: Edmonton Oilers fan goes to great lengths to see final game at Rexall Place