Edmonton Oilers Mega 50-50 supports first responders

Click to play video: '‘We are in a crisis’: First responders call for more support for them and their families living with PTSD'
‘We are in a crisis’: First responders call for more support for them and their families living with PTSD
WATCH: We know how popular online 50-50 sales were during Edmonton Oilers games this past season. That, combined with a lengthy playoff run, has made it a record year for donations to charities by the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation. – Jun 3, 2022

The next Oilers Mega 50-50 will support Alberta’s front-line first responders.

The raffle, which runs until 11 p.m. on Thursday, March 16, is a collaboration between Wounded Warriors Canada, Operation Frontline Impact and the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation (EOCF).

Tickets can be purchased online at

The raffle will support first responders and health-care professionals including paramedics, firefighters, police officers, nurses and their families.

“We are ever grateful to our fellow Albertans who risk their lives to keep our families safe,” said Corey Smith, board chair of the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation.

“Being a first responder can be extremely challenging and Wounded Warriors and Operation Frontline Impact help ensure their families have the support they need to manage the immense physical and mental toll that comes with being first on the scene or losing a family member.

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“Let’s rally together once again through the Oilers 50-50 to care for the people that take care of us every day,” Smith said.

It’s a cause that’s particularly close to the hearts of two Oilers alumni. Chris Joseph and Randy Gregg were called to front-line careers after they retired from professional hockey.

Joseph said he knew 2006 would be his last year in the NHL and so he started the application process to become a firefighter.

He had several friends with whom he played junior hockey who worked as firefighters in B.C. and the career appealed to him.

“Listening to their stories… it’s got this family-type atmosphere, a little bit of action … I kind of like that.”

Click to play video: 'Calgary-area firefighter recognized as mental health champion'
Calgary-area firefighter recognized as mental health champion

Joseph said he “got lucky” and was accepted on his first try.

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He’s now been a firefighter for 17 years and was just promoted to the position of junior captain with Edmonton Fire Rescue Services.

“I love it,” he said, noting there are definitely similarities between his two careers.

“The biggest … to me, is the team. Pretty much my whole life has been ‘team’… a little bit of adrenaline, a little bit of excitement, a little bit of physicality.”

While he loves the job, Joseph realizes it’s a heavy one.

“As first responders, we do get the cumulative effects of trauma. We see people on their worst days, we see death regularly,” he said. “As good as we are about talking about (it), sometimes things start to pile up.”

That’s why this particular Oilers 50-50 — and the support offered by Wounded Warriors — is so important to him.

“They help military and first responders that are struggling with mental health, PTSD,” Joseph said. “They help family members as well.

“I think we all know somebody who is a first responder or in the military. If that person is struggling with some mental health, Wounded Warriors is definitely a great place to go.

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“Our trauma – mine, yours, everybody’s – it’s not always work-related,” Joseph added.

“That’s why it is close to home for a lot of people. Everybody has a little bit — nobody goes through life without trauma.”

Joseph says he’s grateful his work allows him to be part of initiatives like this one with the Oilers, Wounded Warriors and Operation Frontline Impact.

Oilers Mega 50/50 in support of Alberta front-line first responders. March 2023. Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation

Wounded Warriors Canada offers programs like Warrior Kids Camp and virtual services (made possible through partnerships) that address the secondary effects of trauma “as a result of living with a first-responder parent struggling with an operational stress injury such as PTSD,” executive director Scott Maxwell explained.

Operation Frontline Impact is made up of 39 hospital foundations across Alberta and was created to address the emergent needs of hospital staff.

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Former Oilers defenceman Randy Gregg spent 10 seasons in the NHL before becoming a physician.

He actually enrolled in university at the age of 16 and was already in medical school at the University of Alberta in 1975 when he tried out for the Golden Bears hockey team.

Click to play video: 'Interview with Dr. Randy Gregg on Edmonton Riverhawks inaugural home opener'
Interview with Dr. Randy Gregg on Edmonton Riverhawks inaugural home opener

Between graduating with his medical degree and his final year of residency, Gregg represented Canada in the Olympics twice, won the Canada Cup and five Stanley Cups with the Edmonton Oilers (1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1990).

After retiring from the NHL, Gregg began his career as a physician and is currently a practising family doctor in Edmonton.

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The Oilers Mega 50-50 runs until March 16.

There’s a massive jackpot and early bird prizes including concert and Oilers tickets, 100,000 Aeroplan points, SkipTheDishes and Safeway gift cards, and round-trip tickets to Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Oilers Mega 50/50 in support of Alberta front-line first responders, including Wounded Warriors. March 2023. Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation

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