Category Archives: Sports

The Edmonton Oilers Are Going to the Playoffs!

This may be a bit off topic for this blog, but I just have to mention this. After 11 years of missing the playoffs, the Edmonton Oilers have finally clinched a playoff spot!

The last time they were in the playoffs, they went all the way to the seventh game in the Stanley Cup Finals against the Carolina Hurricanes. After that, not a single playoff game. That’s changing this season, though. Thanks to great play from Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Patrick Maroon, Cam Talbot, Andrej Sekera, and Adam Larsson, the Oilers are a playoff team. They went from one of the worst teams to possibly taking first in the division in only a year. Amazing turnaround.

I have to mention that both McDavid and Draisaitl are among the top 10 players in the league in points, McDavid leading with 89, and Draisaitl having the highest point total with 71 for a German-born player in NHL history. Still 6 games to go! Will McDavid make 30 goals or 100 points? Who knows?

Sorry about the diversion from the usual, but this is a big thing for me, being an Oilers fan. Can’t wait for the playoffs!

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I’m an Edmonton Oilers Fan

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been an Edmonton Oilers fan. For those who don’t know, it’s one of the teams in the National Hockey League (NHL). Back in the 1980s, the team had one of the greatest dynasties, led by the legendary Wayne Gretzky. He was eventually traded away to the Los Angeles Kings, and at the end of the decade, the Oilers won their last Stanley Cup.

Fast forward to last year, the Oilers had missed the playoffs since they went to the Finals in 2006, narrowly losing the Stanley Cup in seven games. They’ve been going through a ten year rebuild, rebooted a couple times. The most recent rebuild has been incredibly successful. The Oilers are back, and so is Wayne Gretzky. He rejoined the Oilers, but as partner and vice-chairman.

In 2015, the Oilers drafted Connor McDavid, who is now the league’s leading assist and point scorer in only his second season. He’s a Gretzky or Crosby-like player, and is likely to be the top scorer in the NHL for several years. Other standouts this season are Leon Draisaitl, who’s turned out to be a very good offensive player, Patrick Maroon, who has had an incredible breakout year in the middle of his career, and Cam Talbot, who is now third in the league in wins by a goaltender.

I spent eleven years in Japan, and most of that time, the Oilers were out of the playoffs. Now that I’m back in Canada, I’m really enjoying watching them win. They just beat the San Jose Sharks tonight, tying them for first in the division. It seems so weird saying that now.

So, who else is a sports fan?

Do You Watch the Paralympics?

The opening ceremonies of the Paralympics is on right now. It’s very much like the Olympics opening ceremonies. The CBC in Canada is giving full coverage of the Paralympics, which I think is great. The athletes are every bit as good as Olympic athletes.

This event receives a much lower profile, and in the past, has been poorly covered by media. A lot of people hardly know anything about it. Do they think it’s less important? I don’t think so.

What do you think about the Paralympics? If you watch the Olympics, do you also watch the Paralympics?

Penny Oleksiak Wins Gold!

Watching the Olympics? Well, Canada’s Penny Oleksiak won a gold medal in the women’s 100 metre freestyle. She tied American swimmer Simone Manuel for gold and they share a new Olympic record. I searched on YouTube to see if they had the race anywhere, but it’s not up. Copyright reasons? No idea. But I’m sure a replay will be available eventually. In the meantime, here is CBC’s news report on it.

With this medal, Penny Oleksiak breaks a record for having the largest number of swimming medals by a Canadian in one Olympics. She has a gold, silver, and two bronze. And she’s not done! She could still get a fifth medal. But since she’s only 16 years old, she’ll likely dominate the sport for the next couple Olympics.

Oh, and I think she’ll be the flag bearer for Canada in the closing ceremonies.

What’s impressed you so far in the Olympics?

Are You Watching the Olympics?

This is the first Olympics I have the chance to really watch since the 2010 Olympics. You see, the Olympics in 2012 and 2014 were on when our TV was dominated by children’s TV, and we had to have it off when our daughter was going to bed. Now, it’s possible to watch them again.

Of course, I’m cheering for Canada, but also Japan. After the first day of events, Canada has a bronze medal and is in 9th place.  Japan, on the other hand, has one gold and four bronze medals, which is good enough to be tied for first, along with the United States and China.

I really don’t know who is good, or which sports Canada is expected to do well in. This is one of the first times I haven’t paid any attention to the athletes. So, I’m going into these Olympics with no expectations at all. Maybe that’s for the best. It was nice to see Canada win the bronze tonight in women’s 4x100m freestyle relay. And the team had two sixteen-year-olds! Very impressive.

Are you watching the Olympics? Which sports are you interested in watching?

Is It Easy to Restart Sports After Many Years?

The last time I rode a bicycle was in 2005. The last time I went swimming was in 1996. The last time I went skating was in 2011. The last time I went skiing was in 1993.

This week, I’m going swimming for the first time in twenty years. In 2010, I went skating for the first time in 17 years. I’m going to go skating later this year. But is it easy to get back into it?

When I went skating in 2010, I used rental skates in Japan, and I had a bit of a difficult time at first. My ankles weren’t as strong as they used to be. That or I was heavier than I used to be. Well, I skated for a couple hours, finding that I was getting back into it fairly easily, other than the muscle strain. A year later, I went skating again, and it was much easier. I wonder how it’ll be later this year when I teach my daughter to skate.

But this week, the pool at the local recreation centre is finally reopening after some construction/repairs. It’s been twenty years since I’ve gone swimming. I wonder how well I’ll do. When I swam, I was more interested in just having fun. But this time, I want to swim laps, as well as have fun. Thankfully, the pools are open for public swimming many hours every day of the week. I’m looking forward to it.

Have you returned to a sport after many years? How well did you do? Let me know in the comments below.

My Memories of Northlands Coliseum

The Edmonton Oilers had their final game at Rexall Place, formerly known as Northlands Coliseum, tonight. I was fortunate enough to watch it. It was a great game, the Oilers defeating the Vancouver Canucks 6-2. Top players scored goals in a high scoring game in front of the very talented alumni of the past forty-two years.

My personal memories of the arena are varied and span nearly twenty years. Other than watching the games on TV, I have attended several games, including one season around 1990 when we had a package of around fifteen games or so.  Our seats were up pretty high, and there was a woman sitting next to us who was incredibly loud and foul-mouthed. We had the misfortune of sitting next to her at an Edmonton Trappers baseball game once, too. What luck. But it was great to watch the Oilers several times in person that season. Another year, I went with my dad and grandfather, and our seats were right behind the Oilers’ bench. Our view of the game wasn’t very good. All I could see was Glen Sather’s back. And then the last game I saw was at the end of the Edmonton Roadrunners’ 2004-05 season, just before I went to Japan. The NHL was on strike then, so we had to watch an AHL game.

I have also been to the Coliseum to see some other events, such as a circus, Klondike Days, and even a Billy Joel concert. However, my biggest highlight was actually playing a game in the Coliseum. To see the stands from the ice surface was amazing. There were very few people in the stands (family members of players), but the place just seemed massive. As a kid of around ten or eleven years old, it made me really want to play there as a pro. That obviously didn’t happen. But still, I played on the ice that the Edmonton Oilers played on. Amazing!

Do you have any memories like this? Let me know in the comments below.