Kids Gave Connor McDavid Some NHL Advice, So I Gave Him Advice About Being In Edmonton
Source – In this hockey-mad city, it seems like the future of the game is everywhere. In stores stocked with Connor McDavid Oilers jerseys, in speculation about free-agent signings, in the steady rise of the new arena in the downtown.
But nowhere is the future more obvious than at West Edmonton Mall, where some of the top nine- and ten-year-old players in North America are facing off at the Brick Invitational Hockey Tournament.
Photojournalist Shaughn Butts caught up with members of the Winnipeg Jr. Jets AAA team to ask about their favourite players and find out what advice they’d give new Oilers phenom McDavid.
The answers were thoughtful and straightforward.
The Jets’ Francois Gagnon advised McDavid to “work hard and enjoy the moment of playing in the NHL.”
Carter Campbell was even more succinct.
“Play hard and win,” he said.
My favourite part about this is thinking about how many kids across Canada are going to grow up cheering for the Oilers instead of their city’s team because of McDavid. Half the Winnipeg kids in that video sounded like Oilers fans already and McDavid’s been on our team for six minutes. Going to piss off so many dads one day. But apart from stealing every Jets fan 12 and under, these kids actually gave some real, heartfelt advice for a young Connor McDavid. Same advice I would have given when I was their age. Play hard! Enjoy the moment! Be a team guy! SPORTS! I especially love where Carter Campbell’s head is at. Kid’s ten and already gets it. Play to win, baby, eyes always on the prize.
But since being a player in an oven of a hockey market isn’t always about on ice attention, here are my ten pieces of advice for Connor McDavid about being in Edmonton:
1. Wear a bucket in warm ups
Don’t need to explain why. Let’s just say that bruise over Hallsy’s eye isn’t from a bunk bed pillow fight with Ebs. The good news is, Pottsy isn’t on our team anymore. Thus, the likelihood of somebody being incompetent enough to pull a stunt has significantly decreased. The bad news is, this is still Edmonton. We’ve just come to expect the worst like a player getting his face stepped on in warmies. If we could put you in bubble wrap for warm ups I don’t think you’d find anybody here against it. So naturally just wear your bucket.
2. Beat the Flames
My boy Carter Campbell already touched on this but goddammit just beat the Flames.
The Battle of Alberta had lost its spark over the last few years. Gone were the days of the two teams dominating the west. Gone were the days of getting a guaranteed scrap every whistle, or Stevie Mac launching a haymaker directly into Raitis Ivanas’s career. Can’t even remember if there was a good tilt in the BoA last year. But then boom out of nowhere the Flames decided to get good and we cashed on an all in bet at 11.5% and all of a sudden look out. Now everybody sees the BoA getting back to the way it once was. We went 0-5 against our biggest rivals last season and goddammit it wore on poor Hank’s liver. Time to put them directly into a body bag.
3. Avoid the Yellowhead at all costs, especially during rush hour
The kids can give you all the advice and support you want about playing hard and teamwork and such but I guarantee you none of them will help you with the absurd traffic conditions in our city. That’s where I jump in. The Yellowhead is absolutely awful. Especially during rush hour, but basically at any point during any day. Not that I expect you to ever be on the north side, but that road sucks. Don’t be fooled if somebody calls it the ‘Yellowhead Freeway’. It’s not a freeway. One minute you’re clicking 80 the next minute you’re coming to a halt on 127th street behind nine semis.
4. Get the Cajun chicken sandwich from Cactus Club
Really can’t go wrong with anything at Cactus but their Cajun chicken sandwich out of this planet. If you’re feeling athletic and want to skip carbs, get the Creole blackened chicken. But if you’re real hungry and your barrel needs some filling get the meat ball trio as a starter. Heard you want to put some weight on bro. You’re welcome. Would also recommend:
- Tuna tataki
- Sushi cones
- Butternut squash ravioli
- Szechuan chicken lettuce wraps
- Haven’t tried the BBQ duck burger but it sounds electric
- Basically anything else on the menu
Also if you’re in the mood to pump lagers their blonde ale is on point.
5. If you’re going to West Ed on a weekend like a lunatic, park in the secret middle lot by Simons
Feel like I’m giving away the best kept secret at West Ed but there’s this secret ramp just off 90th ave that takes you to a middle lot right in front of Simons. Nobody ever uses it. Probably because you need to know the secret entrance. Luckily for you, Connor, I do. When you find it, you will know.
6. Speaking of West Ed, it’s a goddamn nightmare
There are some great places to shop in West Ed, I’m not denying that. It’s powering through the slowest walkers in the history of walkers to get to those shops that are usually lined up to the Whitemud and back with people returning absolutely everything that makes shopping there absolute hell. Now I’m sure you’re smart enough not to go there during a rush time (you will literally be mobbed) nor do I really expect you to ever go there at all because just shop online naturally. West Ed is it’s own animal. But because there’s like four things to do in this city I expect you’ll be at the big mall at least a few times, so here’s my advice for tackling West Ed:
- You’re going to see a real cool pirate ship when you walk in. Don’t be alarmed, there are no pirates on board. It’s not a real pirate ship.
- Professor Wem’s Mini Golf will be right by where you park. It’s open for the public to see, so if you feel like showing the hunnies a thing or two about your short game they can watch. It’s also dangerously close to the food court, which of course features a Harvey’s.
- But naturally don’t eat at the food court. Your arteries get clogged when you step in its vicinity and it’s usually filled with the weirdest people in the mall. If you’re starving and need to eat there’s Bourbon Street which has a few restaurants but I’d probably just recommend eating at West Ed’s Cactus Club.
- If for whatever psycho reason you’re going there with a girl, watch out for the word “Aritzia”. It’s a goddamn nightmare. If she tells you she’s going in there do not follow her, it’s going to be a solid 90 because she gone. If you find yourself in this scenario do not panic. The Palace Casino is near by where you’ll likely find Pizza Trav stationed at a roulette table.
- Two words: Jungle. Jim’s.
- There’s a skating rink right in the middle of the mall in case you wanted to give the kids/figure skaters a demonstration of what you’ll be doing to Dougie Hamilton.
- Go to the Water Park. It’s electric. Plus there’s a margarita bar for when you feel like getting to know some cocktails.
7. When you ultimately see these things, don’t worry, we’re confused as hell too
8. Don’t take the LRT
If you thought coming to Edmonton meant you were getting to a big city with easy transportation like New York or Toronto or basically any functioning city in the world then you don’t know Edmonton. We have an LRT that takes you basically everywhere you don’t want to go in the city, including the Concrete Jungle. Now I don’t envision you ever riding the LRT, but if you absolutely NEED to get to Belvedere, hire a driver. You’re rich.
9. After a game at the Concrete Jungle, leave the Northlands area immediately
It’s essentially the Harlem of Edmonton. I’m sure you’ve already noticed the grain elevators. I know what you’re thinking: “bro, Flow looks sick!” It’s not sick. Don’t go there. I don’t care how bad Columbus beats us on a Tuesday. The cocktails can wait. And yes, for the record, Northlands does feel even worse in the winter. Glad we got the elephant out of the room. Don’t worry, only one more year there.
10. For the love of Christ avoid the Ranch
It’s like the plague please God don’t go there.