Canada's team? Here's where Calgarians stand on the Oilers historic playoffs run

Paul Maurice answered the question in a demeanour that's gained him a reputation for being hockey's most comedic coach this post-season.

Are the Edmonton Oilers Canada's team, a reporter asked the Florida Panthers bench boss.

"Go to Calgary and ask," Maurice responded.

That was nearly three weeks ago, long before the Oilers became only the third team in NHL history to come back and tie the Stanley Cup finals at 3-3 after losing the first three contests.

That very question — whether or not the nation would rally behind the boys in blue and orange — loomed large since Edmonton knocked out Vancouver in the semi-final of the Western Conference at the end of May.

After all, they are now the team closest to ending Canada's long-standing Stanley Cup drought. The last team to do that? The Montreal Canadiens in 1993.

By default, that makes them Canada's team, right?

Noah Cameron, 12, holds up his sign in the Edmonton Ice District after the Edmonton Oilers won Game 5 against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday, June 18, 2024.
Noah Cameron, 12, holds up his sign in the Edmonton Ice District after the Edmonton Oilers won Game 5 against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday, June 18, 2024. (Timon Johnson/CBC)

With one chance left for Calgarians to hop on the bandwagon, CBC News heeded Maurice's advice and asked residents of the city that the biggest Oilers rivals call home whether or not Edmonton is, in fact, Canada's team.

"Geographically, yes, they're in the right province, but I can't say that they're Canada's team," said lifelong Calgary Flames fan Lisa Campbell, grimacing at the idea the Red Mile could be flooded with Oilers' colours.

"They're rock stars, I hate to say it but they are rock stars. The fact that they've dug deep and come up and now are at the final final, kudos to them."

Erasing the deficit, no matter how historic, hasn't changed Campbell's loyalties.

But for others, like Douglas Hay, that Cinderella story is a big reason the team has earned his support.

"As of tonight, I think I'm pulling for the Oilers, it's taken me a long time to come this way but I think I'm here now," he said.

"They've really proven themselves to be a good team … everything that everybody said was bad about them isn't so bad right now, they're pretty good."

The star of the show, undoubtedly, has been number 97.

Connor McDavid broke Wayne Gretzky's long-standing record of 31 assists in a single post-season. He's five points away from breaking another record held by the Great One — 47 points in one playoff run.

It seems like a distant memory now, but the Oilers have consistently clawed back from the depths and overcame challenges more than once this year.

They sat dead last in the overall standings to begin the campaign. They went through a coaching change. And they've been on the edge of defeat more than twice during their historic Stanley Cup playoffs run.

Now, they're one game away from bringing Lord Stanley's cup back to Canada while becoming only the second team in the league's existence to pull a reverse sweep.

"The Stanley Cup hasn't been in Canada in thirty-some odd years, it'd be nice to bring it back home where it belongs," said Flames fan Dean Faithfull.

"I'm really torn, but I have to support them."

Reverse the roles and put the Calgary where Edmonton is are now, and Oil Country would back Flames Nation — or that's what Faithfull would like to think.

The puck drops at 6 p.m. on Monday night for the winner-take-all game between the Edmonton Oilers and the Florida Panthers.