Edmonton Oilers captain and standout forward, Connor McDavid, is brimming with excitement as anticipation continues to build for the upcoming NHL Heritage Classic. Scheduled for October 29, 2023, this highly-anticipated outdoor event will unfold as Edmonton Oilers will once again clash with their arch-rivals, the Calgary Flames, in another epic Battle of Alberta.
Connor McDavid joined Heritage Classic Executive Producer Steve Mayer for Media Availability on Wednesday as the Heritage Classic celebrates its 20th anniversary at the place where it all began – The Commonwealth Stadium.
Connor McDavid shares his experience and enthusiasm for the NHL Heritage Classic
The five-time Art Ross Champion is mostly nostalgic, his face grinning in excitement and flooding with memories from his childhood. McDavid recollects, “My dad put together an outdoor rink for us in the backyard.” “As we got a little bit older, it became a deck and a hot tub or an outdoor rink, and my dad opted for the deck and the hot tub, so he put an end to that. But we still had a few good winters with the outdoor rink and have great memories of that”
He adds, about his memories in outdoor makeshift rinks with his brother, “My brother and I would walk after school to the pond close by and shovel it off and play with buddies and stuff like that, so lots of great memories on the outdoor rinks”
McDavid also acknowledges the amount of pressure and craziness of the NHL Heritage Classic being a Battle of Alberta.”Picturing this place full of Edmonton and Calgary fans going crazy, that’s what us hockey guys get excited about,” McDavid said. “I’ve got lots of family coming in. I’m looking forward to the family skate before. Those are memories that I’ll have for a lifetime, and I’m just excited for the whole weekend. It’ll be fun.”
“To be here at Commonwealth in Edmonton, the 20th anniversary of the original outdoor game, I’m super excited to be a part of it. Obviously, the Edmonton-Calgary rivalry is special and to play on this field and on this rink in this big venue, it’s going to be very fun. Thankfully, playing in October, it’ll be a little bit warmer, I hope. You never know with Edmonton weather”
His connection to the NHL Winter Classic runs deep, as he first witnessed this prestigious event at the tender age of seven, although his memories of it have since faded. Fast forward to 2016, when McDavid took center stage in his inaugural Winter Classic appearance, leading the Edmonton Oilers to a resounding 3-0 victory over the Winnipeg Jets.
As McDavid is set to play in his first-ever Winter Classic right in his hometown. he expresses, “I think it’s a good time for our group to come together. As you mentioned, it’s early in the year, but it’s a big game, as it always is when Edmonton faces off against Calgary. With many family members expected to be in town, the NHL has done a commendable job in scheduling a break leading up to the game and another afterward, allowing us to involve our families, which is always a heartwarming aspect.”
The 26-year-old believes that this special game has the potential to foster unity within the team, saying, “I think it’s a game that can truly bring our team together.” With his impressive track record and a hometown advantage, McDavid is poised to make this NHL Heritage Classic an unforgettable event, filled with both nostalgia and new beginnings.
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