Can't Fry A Hurricane

By Harma-Mae Smit

Edmonton is the kind of place that brings you significant moments in time, or opportunities for new experiences. This story is one example of a time in Edmonton that stood out and has lingered on.

This is what I wrote and thought, when the Oilers were in the playoffs in 2006.

I wasn’t really an Oilers' fan this year. It was my grade twelve year—my most important year of school—much more important than hockey. I heard any news about the team second-hand, from the boys discussing stats by their lockers down the hall.

Then we squeaked into the playoffs. It was during my last school band tour ever, to B.C. We were in the playoffs, and Vancouver wasn't. Of course we gloated in B.C, even if we hadn't cared about hockey before that.

Still, I doubted our chances. Eighth place in the conference, against the first place Red Wings. And I knew from before we almost always lost in the first playoff round.

And the Oilers seemed to confirm that by losing their first game. I ignored them, and they began to win. And they beat the Red Wings.

Then we lost the next two games to San Jose. We always get out in the second round if not in the first, I thought.

But when I was acting in my last school play on the same day as a hockey game, and the audience was surreptitiously checking the score on their cell phones between acts, I found out at after we finished that they’d won.

That evening was unforgettable because of it. One actor was so happy he wore his Oilers jersey as he took his bows.

We took San Jose too, and passed the second round.

Posters of dinner menus started floating around our school when we found out we were going to play the Mighty Ducks. They went something like this: Appetizers: Wings fried in Oil. First Course: Shark Fins. Main Course: Roasted Duck. Dessert: Buffalo???

The whole city was rooting for the team now. I was shopping for graduation when I noticed. Almost every store had found a TV and turned it to the Oilers' game, and the whole mall echoed with cheers when we scored four goals in quick succession.

One radio announcer complained the whole city expected the Oilers to take the Ducks in five games. And then the Oilers did take the Ducks in five games.

Conference champions.

We didn't meet Buffalo, but we met the Hurricanes. My sister said, somewhat ominously, "You can fry wings in oil, you can fry shark in oil, and you can fry ducks in oil, but it's pretty hard to fry a hurricane."

It seemed she was right when we went down three games to one. But while studying for diploma exams, I was distracted by hope when cars honked for Oilers’ goals, and the Oilers pulled off two more victories.

And now, after Game 7, our Stanley Cup run is all over. People may say we would’ve won with a better power play, or something. But I—a self-confessed doubter who was surprised the Oilers were here at all—say it was a pretty good run.

Too bad you can't fry a hurricane.

I’m still not really an Oilers' fan. I don't have a flag or a jersey, or know the numbers and names of the players. I’ll probably still be a doubter next year. But, as I come to the last day of school with the doors of high school about to forever close behind me, the Oilers are years removed from those glory days of the eighties. With these playoffs they have closed the doors on that era forever. It’s a new era now. It’s a new era for both of us.

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