Twenty years after the first Heritage Classic, the Edmonton Oilers team will once again take to the ice at Commonwealth Stadium.
The 2003 game saw the team lose to the Montreal Canadiens before a crowd of almost 60,000 people. This Sunday evening they’ll be going up against the Calgary Flames in a special outdoor Battle of Alberta.
Following a week of lead-up — the city declared Oct. 21 to 29 as “Heritage Classic Week” — many Edmontonians are excited.
“We wanted to enjoy the festivities and enjoy it with all Edmontonians cheering on the Edmonton Oilers,” said Shelina Bhanji from the Ice District Fan Park on Saturday.
She and her son, Kiyaan, were taking photos with the Stanley Cup, which was on display for the public.
“It was a great experience, I think it’s something that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life,” Kiyaan said.
Flames fans were also in the city over the weekend to see the game.
“It’s going to be a good battle,” says Lauren Asher, who predicted her home team would win.
“If McDavid plays, it might be a toss-up but somebody’s got to win,” Chris Asher added.
Oilers favourite Connor McDavid has been out from an upper-body injury for the last few games but is expected to play the classic.
“I hate missing games, period,” he told reporters on Saturday while wearing the vintage-inspired jersey designed for the game.
McDavid was on the team when the Oilers beat the Winnipeg Jets in the 2016 Heritage Classic.
“Obviously being home feels a little bit more of an event, just with family and friends coming in,” he said.
“I remember being in Winnipeg … but it felt very much like a team thing whereas this feels very much like a family thing. I enjoy that a lot.”
The game is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. MT.
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