Amy Cercone says she’s grateful to Edmontonians who reached out to apologize after she wrote about her disgust with Oilers fans’ behaviour in Las Vegas in a letter published in the Edmonton Journal.
“More than a few people have reached out to me from Edmonton,” the 58-year-old registered nurse told Global News over the phone on Wednesday. “I’ve had a few calls and a few emails… and they were very nice, apologetic and asking, ‘Please don’t judge everybody,’ and I assured them that’s not what this is about.”
In a letter to the editor on Tuesday, Cercone recounted lewd and unruly behaviour by Oilers fans in her section during the Oilers game against the Golden Knights in Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena on Saturday.
“Imagine our surprise when we arrived to our season-ticket seats to find them occupied by Oilers fans from Edmonton who refused to leave our seats,” Cercone wrote. “The final insults came in the shower of drinks that rained down on us from intoxicated Oilers fans falling down the aisle and from our potty-mouthed “friend” from Edmonton behind us.”
Cercone said the rowdy fans were so bad, she and her husband decided to leave in the third period, missing a thrilling overtime finish that saw the Oilers defeat the Knights 3-2.
Watch below: There were thousands of Edmonton Oilers fans at the game against the Golden Knights in Las Vegas over the weekend. A group of them were even lucky to go home with the 50/50 prize. Here’s some video from the concourse on Jan. 13, 2018.
“We started to experience fans coming down the aisle, tripping and falling, and their drinks spilling on my husband,” she said. “And then the guy behind us, his drink started spilling on my husband, and my husband just turned around and casually said, ‘Hey, you know’… and the third time it happened, the guy said, ‘Yeah, I did it.’
“That’s when we figured, ‘You know what? We’re just gonna go.'”
Thousands of Oilers fans made the trip to the Nevada desert over the weekend to cheer on their team. Cercone said she had no problem with that and that normally, fan enthusiasm — even from the visiting team — makes games more fun.
Watch below: On Jan. 12, 2018, Vinesh Pratap filed this report before the Edmonton Oilers visited the newest expansion team in the NHL for the first time.
“It was evident that there was a large contingency of Edmonton fans, which is great because we’d had similar experiences with folks from Toronto and the folks from Winnipeg and other teams and had a really great time,” she said. “(Then) the swearing and the cussing started… We’re from Pittsburgh so it’s not like we haven’t heard that kind of language before but it was much more intense and my husband mentioned to the person behind us that there were women and children around and he was told in no uncertain terms it wasn’t going to stop.”
Cercone said she believes the Journal edited her letter, removing some of the humour and context she intended, but that she hadn’t been trying to disparage Edmontonians.
“We have friends who went and they had the exact opposite experience. So I wasn’t certainly suggesting it was all Edmonton fans. It was our experience in our section,” she said. “I thought my letter was a little bit more humorous, a little sarcastic.”
The Journal denied her claim.
“We do reserve the right to edit for clarity and length,” said Dave Breakenridge, managing editor, in an email. “Aside from a reference to previously living in Pittsburgh and having season tickets to the Penguins, and a couple of her asides, her letter is identical to how she submitted it.
“We do not feel the changes altered the tone of her letter, and the published version does retain the sarcasm as she intended.”
Cercone told Global News she wants to be clear about what motivated her to write the letter in the first place.
“I just decided that, ‘geez, somebody should know these things aren’t OK.’ We want people to come to town. Everybody’s embracing hockey and tourism here with the NHL but… you don’t have to go to a game and be a mean person…. it takes a lot of life from the game.”
That said, Cercone said she and her husband won’t be there the next time the Oilers come to town.
“We gave away our tickets for the upcoming game. We just didn’t want to have to deal with it again.”
Watch below: Golden Knights fan thanks Oilers fans for spending money in Las Vegas.