I am the product of a very sports-crazed family. There’s a photo of me, just a few days old, watching the World Series with my dad; 1988 launched for me a love affair with the Olympics that continues to this day; and I was lucky enough to grow up in the Oilers’ dynasty years.
Occasionally Dad would take me to an Oilers game at Northlands Coliseum. The chance to see the 80’s Oilers in person was a coveted opportunity for fans of all ages – but it was especially magical to me for two very important reasons: I got to stay up way past my bedtime, and Dad would buy me an Oreo Cookie ice cream sandwich, a treat that couldn’t be found anywhere else. Priorities.
Fast forward a few decades, and my daughters now have the privilege of visiting Rogers Place, one of the most famous arenas in the world. Oilers’ ticket prices are a little steep for a writer’s salary, but the Edmonton Oil Kings offer an alternative that makes hockey games much more accessible for families. Our visit of choice is always the Edmonton Oil Kings Family Fun SUNdays.
The Sunday games are great – they start at an earlier hour (often 4 pm), feature a Kids’ Funzone during intermission, and showcase Louie, the team’s lion mascot, in a prominent role on the sidelines.
The Kidzone is an event in itself. Located in Ford Hall, it features bouncy castles and obstacle courses, as well as a hockey shootout challenge, video game consoles set up for NHL ’19, face painting, and a balloon artist. What’s even better, the Funzone activities are free with your admission ticket!
Fans enjoy a top notch on-ice product, as well as in-game bonuses like the t-shirt cannon, kiss-cam, prizes for loudest fans, and of course, the antics of Louie, known in our house as “the dance lion”.
These games are well attended by throngs of young, excited fans. The Oil Kings offer group tickets experiences for minor sports teams, school groups, and performance groups. There are birthday party packages, as well as a handful of special promotional games, like the Teddy Bear Toss night every December, and the Family Day Fireworks Frenzy game in February.
After attending an Oil Kings Family Fun SUNday game, I asked my daughters what their favourite parts of the “game” were, and received the following answers: 1 – the popcorn, 2 – the bouncy castles and 3 – the balloon swords.
Sounds kind of like that little girl who thought ice cream was greater than Gretzky. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.