Diehard Oilers fans from Saskatoon cheer with their hearts, and statistics

Tarrant Crosschild has about 30 Edmonton Oilers jerseys. (Don Somers/CBC - image credit)
Tarrant Crosschild has about 30 Edmonton Oilers jerseys. (Don Somers/CBC - image credit)

Tarrant Crosschild rustles through his 30-odd Edmonton Oilers jerseys, all of which have a story attached to them.

"I have my good old Gretzky one there waiting for me," says Crosschild. "Of course, you gotta have a Messier if you have a Gretzky.

"One of my favourite players, Ethan Bear [now with Washington], autographed. Love that guy and I'm still cheering for him.… An autographed [Ryan] Nugent-Hopkins, one of my favourite players. [Leon] Draisaitl, of course. He's gonna be scoring for Game 6."

And of course several Connor McDavid jerseys.

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his goal during the third period of Game 5 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals against the Florida Panthers, Tuesday, June 18, 2024, in Sunrise, Fla. The Oilers defeated the Panthers 5-3. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his goal during the third period of Game 5 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals against the Florida Panthers, Tuesday, June 18, 2024, in Sunrise, Fla. The Oilers defeated the Panthers 5-3. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his goal during the third period of Game 5 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals against the Florida Panthers, Tuesday, June 18, 2024, in Sunrise, Fla. The Oilers defeated the Panthers 5-3. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell) (AP)

Crosschild got hooked on the Oilers when they made a Cinderella run to the Stanley Cup final in 2006, and has had season tickets since 2016.

"Even when it really sucked, when we knew we weren't making the playoffs," Crosschild said. "I'd be there in Rexall Place when the Oilers were down by eight goals, five goals. But I still kept going."

Of course, Crosschild isn't the only Saskatoon fan glued to the Oilers, who have won two in a row in this year's final against the Florida Panthers, but still trail the series 3-2.

Child psychiatrist Dr. Madhav Sarda fell in love with the Oilers when he went to university in Edmonton.

"I've been Oiler fan since the '90s, during some very dark times," Sarda laughed.

"They were gritty team when I lived up in Fort McMurray, and I sort of fell in love with Todd Marchant and Mike Grier and some of those runs in the mid '90s."

Child psychiatrist Dr. Madhav Sarda has been an Oilers fan ever since he went to medical school in Edmonton.
Child psychiatrist Dr. Madhav Sarda has been an Oilers fan ever since he went to medical school in Edmonton.

Child psychiatrist Dr. Madhav Sarda has been an Oilers fan ever since he went to medical school in Edmonton. (Don Somers/CBC)

Sarda said it feels surreal to see the team in the Stanley Cup final.

"You had this one moment back in 2006 where they went on this huge run," he said. "But I've had many years of the Oilers breaking my heart. So the idea that they might not is like kind of terrifying. It's like exciting and I'm pumped about it, but also really terrifying."

Sarda does a lot of statistical analysis and said that while the odds may be against the Oilers to win the series, it's not as bad as you might think.

"They have been the better team by expected goals for the majority of the series," he said. "They were unlucky in those first few games, especially that first game.

"So I think there's a very good statistical argument for why they should at least take Game 6. And then after that, Game 7 is a whole different ball game."

Game 6 is Friday in Edmonton starting at 6 p.m. CST.

Crosschild will be there, even though he has seen tickets going for $2,500 and up, and could pay a lot of bills if he wanted to resell his.

"The thought definitely entered my head when I saw what people are paying for these seats," Crosschild said.

"But honestly, I think I would feel almost guilty taking that money from people knowing what I had paid for them."

He said the atmosphere is going to be electric.

"It's going to be nuts," he said. "In the streets, there's so much hype. There's trucks and vehicles that are all done up in Oilers colours and flags.

"When I went to the last home game, there was even somebody out on a bike that had a trailer attached to it where there was a DJ."

Edmonton Oilers defenseman Evan Bouchard (2) controls the puck during the third period against the Florida Panthers in game five of the 2024 Stanley Cup Final at Amerant Bank Arena.
Edmonton Oilers defenseman Evan Bouchard (2) controls the puck during the third period against the Florida Panthers in game five of the 2024 Stanley Cup Final at Amerant Bank Arena.

Edmonton Oilers defenseman Evan Bouchard (2) controls the puck during the third period against the Florida Panthers in game five of the 2024 Stanley Cup Final at Amerant Bank Arena. (Sam Navarro/USA TODAY Sports)

Both Crosschild and Sarda are predicting a Game 6 win for the Oilers.

"[Zach] Hyman's gonna light it up. [Corey] Perry, I think he's gonna get another. You know, he'll get a garbage goal," said Crosschild.

"Of course, Leon Draisaitl is going to score from his office there on a power play. And then McDavid's really going to light it up as well. So I'm going to predict that we are going to be winning 5-2."

Sarda, who will be watching Game 6 on television with his family, thinks it will be tight.

"It's going to be a 3-2 win, and McDavid is going have two goals."

An Oilers win would force Game 7, which would be Monday in Florida.