Picture it now: Connor McDavid has just left the ice and Gene Principe is interviewing him in the tunnel, doing some sort of ridiculous, Carrot Top-esque prop-based pun. Gene wildly waves around a wand while wearing a top hat, and it’s a literal media circus. Just then, a team marches through the tunnel—and they’re all business. No props, no cameras, just helmets, hockey sticks, and a love of the game. Their coach ushers them toward the open gate, and the 18,500 people in Rogers Place build into a frenzy. The first player makes his way to the ice, nods at his coach, and jumps onto the ice—before falling, and causing a comical, Minion-like jam at the gate where every one of his teammates behind him stumble, trip, and fall over one another…
Welcome to the Ford Small Stars.
Since as long as we here at Team Ford can remember, the Ford Small Stars have brought levity and joy to the Oilers experience. No matter how hard fought and bloody a Battle of Alberta game may have been, no matter how hopeless some of those periods in the Decade of Darkness may have felt, the Ford Small Stars were there for us. If you haven’t been to a game —or were too busy waiting for beer (or the washroom in the new arena)— the Ford Small Stars are local teams of 5 and 6 year olds, who’ve been given the opportunity by local dealerships like Team Ford to play on the same ice as real NHL pros. Living out their young dreams, these teams play a short, hard fought scrimmage to the raucous cheers of hockey mad Edmontonians (Edmontonianites?). While the play lacks the physicality and, uh, finesse of an NHL game—you’d have to be a cold, heartless monster (see: Pronger, Chris) to not, at the very least, smile, while watching these tiny and imbalanced tykes tear up the ice.
Team Ford loves to support the community, and loves to sponsor teams for the Ford Small Stars—like during the intermission of the upcoming December 14th game against the Philadelphia Flyers (who will presumably, and sadly, be traveling without their real star, Gritty). In addition to sending those adorable Small Stars on the ice, Team Ford also participates in Ford’s Fun Zone—where local minor hockey teams are given tickets and players, parents, and coaches can catch a game live. Not only that, but the teams are also acknowledged live on the big screen—and again, if all those contagious smiles and Fortnite dances don’t bring a smile to your face, you might be a jerk (see: Whitney, Ryan). Team Ford’s next group to take in the Ford Fun Zone will be on January 19th as Edmonton looks to take the lead in this season’s deadlocked Battle of Alberta. This’ll be as good a learning experience as any for these young players to learn how to play the game properly, and not like the Calgary Lames (we’ve actually found some footage of Matthew Tkachuk playing pond hockey).
Next time you’re watching the Oilers at Rogers Place, make sure to stick around in the intermission and catch the Ford Small Stars game. Because no matter the final score, everyone involved is in a winner. If you’ve got a minor hockey team that you think deserves to be called Small Stars, or would enjoy a game in the Ford Fun Zone, then contact us and let us know today!