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St. Albertans take chartered flight to see Oilers play final game in Florida

Big Oilers fan presence in Sunrise Florida ahead of final game, says St. Albert resident Mike Howes

Sunrise Florida is looking a lot like Oilers town ahead of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals, according to St. Albert resident Mike Howes.

Howes is one of a group of St. Albert and Edmonton-area fans who boarded a chartered flight yesterday morning to catch the deciding game in a season that has seen the Oilers repeatedly overcome near-insurmountable odds, including coming back from a 3-0 deficit in the finals to force a Game 7.

“We just picked a random hotel near the [Amerant Bank Arena], and it's just been filling up with Oilers fans,” Howes said.  “It’s probably three-quarters Oilers fans.”

When he spoke with the Gazette, Howes was near the arena at a bar, which he described as awash with Oilers jerseys.

Roughly 100 fans, mostly business owners from the Edmonton area, boarded the charter flight this morning, Howes said.  

A seat on the flight cost $2,500, and tickets to the game had an even heftier price tag, coming in around $7,000 for two people.   

“Not for the faint of heart … It’s a pricey little adventure,” Howes said. “But it doesn’t happen every day … I was at Game 6 in ’06, and that was, what, 18 years ago? I'm 59. I can't wait another 18 years.”

Howes estimated about 20-25 of the passengers on the flight were from St. Albert, many of them “friends of friends” who took a chance to see could be a historic win for a team that hasn’t had a Stanley Cup victory in 34 years.

Whether the team wins or loses, Howes said he’s already had a great time.

“Of course, we’ll be pretty bummed out if they don’t win it,” he said. “But I honestly think they’re going to win it now … I think Florida is as nervous as a long-tail cat in a room full of rocking chairs right now.”

About the Author: Riley Tjosvold

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