Edmonton Oilers are Canada's team now and always

A poll has found many people are rooting for the Oilers in the Stanley Cup Final, but we offer a major reason why they should always be called 'Canada's team'.
Dallas Stars v Edmonton Oilers - Game Six
Dallas Stars v Edmonton Oilers - Game Six / Codie McLachlan/GettyImages

The rivalry among the seven NHL teams is as ferocious as it is passionate. This becomes even more so when you match up certain fan bases, such as the Toronto Maple Leafs against the Montreal Canadiens, and of course the Edmonton Oilers versus the Calgary Flames.

However, there's a time and a place when -- as tough as it can be for certain people and understandably so -- any hostilities need to be put to one side. The main reason being, when a Canadian NHL team has the opportunity to win it all.

Of course we find ourselves with such a scenario this year, with the Oilers set to face the Florida Panthers on Saturday night in game one of the Stanley Cup Final. As a result, it seems the majority of those north of the border are set to become honorary Edmontonians for the next week or so.

Canada is behind the Oilers

As per Simon Little of Global News, a survey conducted by Ipsos has found that 57 percent of Canadians will be cheering the Oilers on. In contrast, just nine percent of rival Canadian NHL fans will be maintaining their hostility towards Edmonton's teams, and supporting the Panthers.

When considering the aforementioned rivalry within the seven NHL team fan bases, it may seem somewhat surprising that the majority of Canadians will be cheering for the Oilers. However, it makes sense when you consider the length of the Stanley Cup drought north of the border.

Consider that the last Canadian team to win Lord Stanley's Cup were the Canadiens, all the way back in 1993. Since then Canada has had six teams go to the final but all have lost, including the Oilers in 2006 in a tightly contested series versus the Carolina Hurricanes.

Arguably more surprising though, as per Little, is that 68 percent of those surveyed -- including 72 percent of rival Canadian team fans -- believe the Oilers are now “Canada’s team.” This is particularly surprising, given that the Leafs have the biggest fan base in Canada and regularly lead the way among all seven NHL teams when it comes to television ratings.

Not just Canada's team for now

At the same time, we would still suggest that it does actually make sense to call the Oilers "Canada's team". And not just because they are in this year's Stanley Cup Final and are led by the best player in the game today in Connor McDavid. (And arguably one of the best of all time, especially if he helps his team win it all against the Panthers.)

In fact we would take it a step further and claim the Oilers have long been Canada's team, and have the chance to continue being so for a while yet. For this, let's first consider how many Stanley Cups have been won by the current batch of NHL Canadian teams.

The Canadiens lead the way with 24, followed by the Leafs with 13. (Both are also first and second respectively all-time among all NHL teams, although keep in mind the majority of the Canadiens' cups and all of the Leafs' came when the NHL only had six teams.) Then you have the Oilers with five Stanley Cups and the Flames with one, which they won in 1989 against the Canadiens no less.

Now though, factor in that the Oilers have been a member of the NHL since the 1979-80 season. In that time they have won five Stanley Cups, compared to two by the Canadiens and one by the Flames.

We can then take it a step further, with the reality that since entering the NHL, the Oilers are tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins for the most Stanley Cup wins among all teams. And for what it's worth the Oilers have also made the most Stanley Cup Final appearances with seven (about to be eight), followed by the Penguins and Detroit Red Wings, with six appearances each.

One last thing to add is that the Oilers of course had Wayne Gretzky playing with them for many years. Regardless of a fan's team allegiance, Gretzky was still the favourite player for a lot of people, a la Michael Jordan in the NBA.

No guarantees with Evander Kane in the Stanley Cup Final. No guarantees with Evander Kane in the Stanley Cup Final. dark. Next

Overall, we can appreciate the claims of the Leafs due to the size of their fan base, or the Canadiens when it comes to their illustrious history of Stanley Cup wins. However, as far as we're concerned, the Oilers can confidently lay claim to being Canada's team, now, since they entered the NHL, and in the foreseeable future.

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