4/26/14 : Mitch Moroz holds Kristians Pelss’ jersey in salute to their teammate who passed away over the summer after the Edmonton Oil Kings beat Medicine Hat 4-3. This win makes them the WHL Eastern Conference winners for the third year in a row. #PlayForPelss
I miss you love. On your 6 hour late happy birthday- I don’t know what happened that night in Riga, but I know I lost you. You were one of my favorite prospects, and I remember when I found out. I was sitting on my floor when my phone rang. It was one of my friends and she was shouting, “I WAS ON THE SPORTS PAGE AND IT SAYS PELSS JUMPED OFF A BRIDGE!” I started to cry. I flipped through my pictures of you. I saw the Oil Kings play last year.. But you were suspended and I was heartbroken. I miss you. As your teammates do and family and friends. Lastly, while you’re up there in the hockey heavens say hello to Boogey and Ryp and the Lokomotiv guys. Give a little extra love to them. Maybe you guys can do what you do best- play hockey. Maybe you’ll sit with Stefan and Rusty and McC and watch your family struggle with out you, watch their kids grow up. Kids you never got to have. But sweetheart, things get better. Maybe you thought they didn’t care about you, but now you get to watch what they do when they are behind closed doors. You’ll see their sobs and tears. They cared, and everyone in the heavens will care for you too now. You have this special thing about you that you grasp people’s affections easily. It’s hard now, but that’s what will make it so much sweeter when they come up to the heavens to see you again, forever and ever.
With what some consider an upset victory the Edmonton Oil Kings won the memorial cup and gave the city of Edmonton something to finally get excited about. After so many years of heartache and disappointment in the world of sports, fans flocked to see the Oil Kings on parade today with another trophy to add to the city of champions. In a campaign of hardship and loss Edmonton put out a team that showed why the Oil Kings have been a force and will continue to be.
The loss of team-mate Kristian Pelss during the offseason affected the Oil Kings greatly but not in sadness but a desire to win everything in his name. Early in the season the Oil Kings struggled a bit but as time went on they became better and better. The defence of this team was utterly incredible to watch, on every play both d-men were at the blue line waiting for the opposing team. On seldom occasions the Oil Kings were outnumbered in the defensive zone and even then the forwards were back in time to halt any momentum by the other team. Watching them head into the offensive zone was reminiscent of the LA Kings, a slow move through the neutral zone and when an opening presented itself they went for it ferociously. What stands out is how the Oil Kings used their sticks to take away room from the opponents thus nullifying getting a set up for shots on net, and when they did net minder Tristan Jarry was superb.
In the playoffs the Oil Kings dominated their first 3 series before coming up against arch-rival Portland. Even when they were down at the beginning of the game, Oil Kings slowly took over eachgame as the 2nd period took place. In game 7 Portland took an early lead and seemed to have the momentum but as the game went on Edmonton wore them down and took over, never letting up and thus winning the Ed Chynoweth cup.
The Guelph Storm were favourites to win the memorial cup when the tournament began and with good reason. Every line was devastating in its own way and they could roll the entire team out on the ice for equal time and win on each occasion. The Oil Kings round robin went just like the whl season, started off sluggish but got their barrings and began playing to the abilities they could. Even though they faced a 3OT game against Val-D'or the outcome was never in doubt and the Oil Kings made it into the finals. As the game began Guelph took the lead in the first but faced a similar fate as the Winterhawks in game 7 of the WHL finals. Edmonton’s impenetrable defence wore down the Storm and as period 2 began the Oil Kings exploded with 3 goals and never looked back. Throughout the 3rd period Guelph could not gain any head way and Edmonton emerged victorious. Finishing off a season for the ages and completing their goal of honouring Kristian Pelss with a Memorial Cup title.
Despite the Oil Kings losing several key players to the NHL in the coming season, they are set up with a system that can work to devastating effect and still have a core group of players remaining. If they play the same way as they did all season and in the memorial cup tournament this year, there will be another championship heading to Edmonton next year.
“Don’t you worry, don’t you worry, child.
See heaven’s got a plan for you.”
God I miss my boys. I loved them all, I started to love their families. My neighbors grandson looks like Stefan’s oldest son, Herman. Everyday he comes over and asks to pet my dogs. I almost cry, because they dress the same with the same curly blonde hair. In class one day we were talking about Riga, and I sat in silence with the image in my head. What witnesses said was a man standing on the edge of the bridge. For some reason, Superman is always on the radio. I think of Ryp skating around, laughing. I think of Kev saying that he still has pictures of him in his house.