Edmonton Oilers – 30th Anniversary of their first Stanley Cup
Master Corporal Kerry McAtasney
On 10 October 2014, the 1984 Edmonton Oilers were celebrating the 30th anniversary of their winning the team’s first Stanley Cup. Two of the country’s greats under the same roof: The 1984 Edmonton Oilers and Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) Pipes & Drums. The band was invited to play along with the massed bands of the Edmonton Police, RCMP, Edmonton Transit Service, Edmonton Youth Band, and many others. We met up at the Commonwealth Stadium parking lot where two coaches awaited our arrival to transport us to Rexall Place. Once there, we disembarked and made our way into the “Rock star” entrance on the south side of Rexall to be greeted by the organisers. We got right into the sound check and rehearsal. With so many musicians from so many bands, the only analogy to accurately describe it would be to say “it was like herding cats.” At this point, there still was no sign of the Oilers but we knew they were coming and so we kept our eyes open. We were moved up to a lounge to wait until show time where we were treated to a lovely supper of pizza - gratis. The only thing to perfect the evening would be to meet one of the “Greats!” The time came to form up. Our job was to march in the 1984 Edmonton Oilers team with pomp & circumstance. We returned to the “Rockstar” entrance that led out onto the ice. The ice had been covered and was filled with extravagantly decorated tables. Then it happened. They had arrived. They were all there, Gretzky, Messier, Kurri, Anderson, Fuhr, Coffey, and all the rest. Just meters behind us! We snapped off cell phone pictures and did a lot of pointing. One of the drummers from the Youth Band (who strongly resembles Jojo from Horton Hears a Who) went to get some autographs. He had Mark Messier and Wayne Gretzky sign his drumhead. Smart little guy. Time to go. The drums rolled, the pipes sparked up and out we went. Cameras flashed and fans cheered. It was absolute elation until I realized the fuss was not for us but the gentlemen behind us. Oh well, five seconds of fame is better than none. All in all it was amazing experience and we represented the Strathcona’s well.