‘It literally makes Alberta’: Oilers fans excited to face the Flames

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Edmonton Oilers’ fans had their game face on at the Ice District ahead of the first game of the Battle of Alberta series Wednesday night.

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Fans were spread out between Ford Hall, the Ford Tailgate Party at the Ice District Plaza and inside Rogers Place for watch parties as the Oilers and Flames played Game 1 in Calgary.

Brett Paleck was decked out with an orange and blue wig and some face paint for the game and said he was “pumped” for the series.

“I love that rivalry. It literally makes Alberta,” he said.

Brettlyn Bannister, who was with Paleck, said she is also excited for the first Battle of Alberta of her lifetime.

“To be able to be part of the Battle of Alberta in the playoffs, we were just talking about it’s like I’ve never had this opportunity, I wasn’t even born. To get this opportunity, it’s amazing,” she said.

The Oilers and Flames are both coming off of Game 7 wins in the first round and hope to carry that momentum into this series.

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Brenda Landsborough, 59, was waiting in Ford Hall for the arena to open and said this series is dividing her family.

“My family is going to be split in two because I’ve got a number of members of my family that are Calgary Flames fans. It’s going to be intense until it all shakes out,” Landsborough said with a laugh.

Wednesday marks Landsborough’s first watch party since the Oilers lost the Stanley Cup in 2006 to the Carolina Hurricanes — this time, she’s hoping for a better outcome.

Throughout the sea of ​​orange in the Ice District on Wednesday were a few specs of red.

Edmonton Oilers fan Lance Kane cheers on the team prior to the start of their NHL playoff series against the Calgary Flames in Edmonton's Ice District on Wednesday, May 18, 2022.
Edmonton Oilers fan Lance Kane cheers on the team prior to the start of their NHL playoff series against the Calgary Flames in Edmonton’s Ice District on Wednesday, May 18, 2022. Photo by David Bloom /post media

Jad Halabi moved to Edmonton for school but continues to support his hometown Flames.

“I’m excited. I was pretty happy when the Flames won in overtime a few days ago, so I’m happy that the Battle of Alberta is going to happen in the playoffs.”

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Halabi said his friends in Edmonton are all Oilers fans and he was ready to be heckled by fans.

Standing in Ford Hall with his hair died orange and blue, 31-year-old Lance Kane said he was ready for the rivalry to get into full swing.

“It’s going to be pretty loud, a little chirpy, but I think we’ve been chirping each other since Alberta became a province. So, it’s all in good fun and hopefully it doesn’t get too serious,” said Kane.

While some Oilers fans were gathered at the Ice District on Wednesday, one couple was relaxing at home after getting back from Hawaii where they watched the Oilers beat the Los Angeles Kings in Game 7.

Larry and Sherri Janssen watched the game at a beach bar at the Fairmont Orchid resort and said they had to convince some basketball fans to switch the TV over to the hockey game.

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“We sat and watched the game and watched the waves come in and had a couple of Mai Tais,” Larry said. “There was something about watching it on the beach that made it kind of special.”

Larry and Sherri plan to be in the Ice District cheering with their fellow Oilers fans on Friday.

The Edmonton Police Service said it will focus on maintaining public safety during and after the home games and associated events and that Edmontonians can expect a visible police presence around Rogers Place, the Ice District, Jasper Avenue and Whyte Avenue entertainment zones.

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