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‘Amazing experience for us’: Edmonton Oilers fans visit from Germany for 1st NHL games

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You’d expect to see cheering fans in Rogers Place when the Edmonton Oilers are in town, but there’s a group that travelled from the other side of the world to be a part of the current homestand.

There are currently 26 Oilers fans from Germany in Edmonton. They’re all part of a Facebook group that celebrates all things Oilers in Germany.

“Amazing experience for us so far,” group member Bjoern Vogt said from Rogers Place, while watching morning skate on Monday.

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Vogt said he became an Oilers fan when the organization hired former head coach Ralph Krueger in 2012 and has been following the team ever since.

READ MORE: Edmonton Oilers’ Leon Draisaitl named NHL 3rd star for the week

But being an Oilers fan in Germany is no piece of cake. Because of the time difference, Vogt and his friends lose hours of sleep in an effort to watch all the teams’ games live.

“We do need to wake up at 4 o’clock in the morning for the home games. That’s OK because after that you can go to work,” he said. “But the away games, east coast trips, start at 1 o’clock in the morning and that’s really hard.

“So you have to sleep three hours, watch the game, sleep another three hours and that’s really hard.”

LISTEN: Bjoern Vogt speaks to Reid Wilkins about being an Oilers super fan from Germany

But Vogt said there’s usually between 50 and 70 people watching those middle-of-the-night games and chatting in their Facebook group. He says there is a thread created for each game and by the end of play, there will be hundreds of comments from everyone watching.

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“It’s amazing. It’s crazy.”

READ MORE: Edmonton Oilers joust with Golden Knights with first place on the line

The Oilers are currently within striking distance of a division title. That excites fans both here and abroad.

“It’s really amazing to be in a playoff rush and have meaningful games in March,” Vogt said. “The Edmontonians do know the decade of darkness and so on, so we are excited as well because our group started during the last playoff season three seasons ago and we want to have that again.”

As for Draisaitl’s popularity in Germany? Hockey isn’t a very popular sport there, but Vogt said the local media is starting to follow the Oilers’ centre and talk about his stats and achievements…sometimes to the chagrin of the Oilers super fans.

“We are such nerds that we don’t like that because it’s about the Oilers [for us]. But we recognize that it’s important for German hockey and Leon and the Oilers when they do more of that.”
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Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl (29), of Germany, plays against the Nashville Predators in the first period of an NHL hockey game Monday, March 2, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. Draisaitl scored four goals as the Oilers won 8-3.
Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl (29), of Germany, plays against the Nashville Predators in the first period of an NHL hockey game Monday, March 2, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. Draisaitl scored four goals as the Oilers won 8-3. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

The Oilers face the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday night as the two battle it out for the top spot in the Pacific Division.

Vogt and his friends will be in the stands for this game and Friday’s game against the New York Islanders. They also were at Saturday’s win against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

READ MORE: Mikko Koskinen brilliant again in Edmonton Oilers victory over Columbus

According to Vogt, these are the first NHL regular-season games for their entire group except one. Some of the group caught some pre-season games when the Oilers were in Draisaitl’s hometown of Cologne, Germany in October 2018.