After 1,000 games, Edmonton Oilers equipment manager gets day in spotlight

Edmonton Oilers head equipment manager Jeff Lang works his 1,000th NHL game Monday night against Tampa Bay. Reid Wilkins/630 CHED

Dedication and patience — 1,000 games worth.

Edmonton Oilers head equipment manager Jeff Lang works his 1,000th NHL game on Monday night when the Oilers host Tampa Bay.

“I pick up after my kids at home. I pick up after older kids here,” joked Lang, whose days typically start at around 7 a.m.

“It’s not a job with much glamour. There’s a lot of work behind the scenes that sometimes goes unrecognized.”

“Everyone is extremely happy for him,” said Oilers goalie Cam Talbot. “He doesn’t leave until the last guy is out of here. He probably puts in 18-hour shifts every game day.”

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“That’s the backbone of your team. They put in more hours than players, coaches, anyone whose involved in the team,” said head coach Todd McLellan. “Players get everything they possibly need to have success, and he’s leading that.

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“We’re lucky to have him. We’re looking forward to another 1,000 games of having him around.”

Lang, 44, joined the Oilers in 2003 after working with Hockey Canada.

“I was new, young, coming in. I watched these guys play on TV and next thing, you’re standing in front of them. It was nerve-wracking,” Lang recalled.

His first job was with the AJHL’s Calgary Royals in 1996 where he was both trainer and equipment manager.

“I went to Mount Royal College as a medical trainer, but things evolved and [I] ended doing the equipment side instead of the medical,” Lang said. “It wasn’t my thing babying the guys. I’m not that kind of guy. I decided to go a different route.”

That route has worked out just fine for Lang.

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