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This article was published 22/10/2016 (1124 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Lee Beaucage sported an old helmet and his Edmonton Oilers jersey to pay homage to Wayne Gretzky at the 2016 Heritage Classic alumni game Saturday.
He said he wasn’t scared to be wearing blue and orange to Investors Group Field. But today’s matchup between the current Jets and Oilers would be a different story.
"This day’s all about fun for the fans," he said outside the stadium at the spectator plaza before the puck dropped. "Tomorrow, I wouldn’t be caught dead in an Edmonton jersey."
Beaucage took his dad, Marcy, who was wearing his original Dale Hawerchuk jersey, to the game to pay him back for all the games he brought him to as a kid.
"I bought (the tickets) for us," he said. "We’ve been going to hockey games forever and it’s nice to actually take him for a change. This is a special one."
His father said he wanted to make it to the practices earlier in the week but couldn’t, so it was extra important to see the greats skate Saturday.
"I remember going to games when I was younger to the original Jets games, the WHA games, when (Bobby) Hull and the Hot Line was at their prime. It’s going to be nice to see Mike Ford here, he’s one of the original ones from the WHA teams that’s skating today."
Meanwhile, Samantha Taylor was wearing her boyfriend’s Edmonton jersey, and even though he is the big Oilers fan, he was the one sporting the Winnipeg Jets jersey.
"We used to watch (hockey) around Christmas time and stuff, but I got really into it once I started dating him," she said pointing at her boyfriend, Justin Krahn.
"It’s so exciting. It’s a great experience so far. We took the shuttle over here and it’s all really fun. This is only my second hockey game."
Krahn was the one to take her to her first NHL game last season between the Jets and Calgary Flames.
Krahn said he was extremely excited to watch the Oilers alumni team convene on the ice because those were the players he heard about as a kid.
"You grow up an Oilers fan and you hear about all these guys so it’ll be kind of cool to see them all skate."
Families looking to raise young hockey fans also brought a number of children to the alumni game.
Doug MacInnes and his wife Shannon brought their son Ben, 8, and daughter Abby, 11, to the game. He said watching the alumni hit the ice meant a lot to the whole family.
"I was a Jets fan as a young kid so for me this is terrific. This is the era that I grew up watching. It’s special for me and it’s special for the kids."
"I’ve realized that (the players) are 50. When they announced the teams he said, ‘Dad, I’ve got to see Wayne Gretzky and Teemu Selanne play and it might be the last time I ever get to see them play.’ So it’ll be a bit of reminiscing but it’ll be neat for them to get to see them as well."
Darren Coldwell lives near Steinbach and moved to the area from Saskatchewan 15 years ago. Being between NHL franchises, Coldwell became an Oilers fan as his parents took him to Edmonton every year to see the team play. Now, he’s excited his son, Kaden, 9, gets the chance to see Gretzky.
Coldwell wore No. 99 while Kaden sported a Mark Messier jersey.
"My favourite NHL team is the Edmonton Oilers," Kaden said, noting it was all about tradition. "I just wanted to keep it on for my dad and my family."
The Jets won the game 6-5.
Updated on Saturday, October 22, 2016 at 5:15 PM CDT: Slideshow added.
6:47 PM: Adds slideshow