FORT McKAY, AB (October 22, 2014) – The Fort McMurray Oil Barons would like to extend their immense gratitude to the Fort McKay First Nation, its Director of Community Services Simon Adams, and the Fort McKay Hockey Society for a spectacular day on Tuesday as the team visited Fort McKay for the first time in franchise history.
School children packed the Fort McKay Community Arena, located just over 50 kilometres north of Fort McMurray, as the Oil Barons took to the ice for a team practice, with the kids gladly taking part in head coach Curtis Hunt’s request to make as much noise as possible for the team as it ran drills.
Barons coaches Ryan Allen and Mike Brodeur then led a practice for the Fort McKay Hockey Academy Warriors as the Barons players set up for an autograph session at the front of the rink.
Fans of all kinds then had the chance to get autographs from the entire team, with a good number of Barons fans bringing their MOB jerseys to get immortalized.
“Sometimes, when you’re out of your rink, it can be frustrating, but we managed to turn a situation into a bit of a team-builder,” said Oil Barons head coach and general manager Curtis Hunt. “We wanted to give back to these communities, and build fans out of some of these younger kids.”
It was the second off-site practice that the Oil Barons have held this year to reach out to surrounding communities in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. Last month, the MOB helped to kick off the opening of the ice surface at the brand new Anzac Recreation Centre south of Fort McMurray with a practice and community skate.
The afternoon was capped off at the Fort McKay Elders Centre, where the team was treated to a post-practice meal of traditional bannock and stew.
“It was a great experience for our kids to see high-level hockey, and it gives them the incentive to strive to compete like those kids that were on the ice today,” said Adams. “Hockey’s such a huge sport in our community, and we have a lot of MOB fans, so the kids look up to them, and they were very excited.”
The organization would like to once again express its sincere gratitude to the entire community of Fort McKay for its enthusiasm, as well as to the Fort McKay School for bringing its students down to the arena for the afternoon.
The Barons look forward to future opportunities to help build the game of hockey across the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, as well as to create more young Barons fans across the RMWB.