While more than 21,300 fans headed to Rogers Place to watch Game 1 of the playoff series against the Los Angeles Kings Monday night, thousands of others, including many from far-off places, were also glued to their TVs.
Stephanie Weingarten was cheering on the team from Hamburg, Germany.
“Games start at 4 a.m. for me so I have to either record them or I can watch the last part of the game before I go to work in the morning,” the primary school teacher said.
Weingarten’s whole family loves hockey, but her passion for the Oilers comes courtesy of Edmonton’s number one goal scorer, Leon Draisaitl.
“Leon is one of the greatest hockey heroes here in Germany. He’s an idol for lots of young German hockey players,” she said.
As a hobby, Weingarten creates wonderful portraits of hockey players, including her favourite Oilers.
Each piece takes between 20 to 60 hours to complete, depending on the detail.
Weingarten added that she’s also proud to represent the orange and blue in a city that cares more about football and handball than hockey.
“I have a jersey which I got from a friend in Canada,” she said, proudly showing off the Draisaitl signature on the back.
Meanwhile, a bit closer to home, Jesse Martin is an Oilers super fan from Winnipeg. He started following the team 22 years ago.
“Back in 2000, I saw the Oilers crowd in the playoffs and it was electric. I’ve never seen a passion like that,” Martin said.
“It really reminded me of the old whiteout days. It was spine-tingling, goosebumps. I was just like, ‘I want to be part of that.’ The fans literally made me a fan, and now I am a diehard.”
Martin has an epic Oilers cave in his basement. Every two years he comes to Edmonton to buy more merchandise to fill it up.
“I love it, it’s my passion. I’m just 100 per cent all in now.”
Despite being smack in the middle of Jets territory, Martin isn’t afraid to show his allegiance outside his home.
“I know I live in Winnipeg but they’re going to know this is an Oilers’ house, and you’re in Oil Country,” he said.
And if anyone ever gives him a hard time about his team, he’s quick to point out that the Jets aren’t in the playoffs.
“You’ll get the banter but it’s all in fun. We just bring up the five Stanley cups to their none.”
Martin has never been to a playoff game but says if the team makes it to the third round, he’s getting in his car and hitting the highway for Edmonton.
“I’m jealous of everyone there but I just want everyone to keep being loud, being passionate and having an awesome time. Losses will happen.
“I want Oilers fans to remember, it’s about the journey.”