Oilers prospects in camouflage
Jordan Eberle. “We did similar military training for Team Canada at Camp Petawawa.”
After the morning session at Millennium Place in Sherwood Park, the prospects were picked up in armoured vehicles to be transported to the Edmonton Garrison.
Once they arrived, the prospects suited up in full military gear minus the steel toed boots, running shoes did the trick, to participate in a variety of drills and activities.
"We introduced some scenarios to them that allowed them to understand that working together is a lot easier than one guy trying to do anything which was well noticed from the get-go," said Master Warrant Officer Steve Merry.
Rappelling a 30 metre wall was the most demanding and debatably the most terrifying task of the day. Racing through an outdoor obstacle course that simulates a combat situation was planned to kick-off the day; but due to heavy rain, plans changed and instead players took their turns in a simulated shooting practice exercise that resembled a giant video game. Other activities included medical and firemans’ carry drills and a parachute jump.
"It's definitely a new experience, I've never done this before," said Oilers prospect Jordan Benfeld. "It gives you a real appreciation for the military."
The Oilers have a longstanding relationship with the Canadian Forces in Edmonton. Last season the team celebrated Military Appreciation Night which gave Oilers Season Seat Holders the opportunity to forego their tickets to one game allowing local members of the Canadian Forces to attend the game. Hundreds of Oilers Season Seat Holders jumped at this opportunity to tip their hats in appreciation.
"There's been a great connection with the hockey club and the military for many years now," said Merry. "Mutual respect and mutual deeds back and forth with each other to do things for each other - and in the community - is outstanding."
The Oilers also hosted three members of the Canadian Forces on their charter flight to Washington, DC in January to participate in a military appreciation ceremony hosted by the US Army during their game versus the Capitals.