Joffrey's world

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:12 AM ET

ANAHEIM -- His grandpa Tom definitely isn't going to be cheering for him. Probably not his grandma Pat, either. But he knows they're going to struggle with it.

His mom Carmen, he's absolutely sure about. She's Ducks Unlimited.

One of his brothers tells him he'll be cheering for the Oilers and is quite adamant about it. His other brother, he expects, will be cheering for Anaheim. And his dad, he's jokes, he's not so sure about.

Welcome to Joffrey Lupul's world as his Anaheim Ducks prepare to play the Edmonton Oilers in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final here tonight.

"My grandpa on my mother's side is Tom Mayson," he said. "He's one of the Oiler owners. I know he's cheering for Edmonton. Grandma, too, I think. But it's not going to be so easy for her."

His mom, Carmen, he's sure about.

"My mom will definitely be cheering for me," said Lupul, the second-year NHLer, who leads Anaheim in goals (7), shots (39) and penalty minutes (25) as the series goes to the post tonight.

His brother Alex, 16, he says, has already informed him otherwise.

"He wrote me a text message saying he's cheering for the Oilers. Hopefully he'll change his tune."

His younger brother Mitch, 14, he figures is with him for sure.

His dad Craig is another story.

"My dad is a huge Oilers fan. I'm not so sure about him," Joffrey laughs.

"He's a season ticket holder and has been for a long time," added the former world juniors Team Canada player of the Edmonton lawyer - who he kids just better not show up wearing an Oilers when the Ducks play Game 3 in Edmonton.

Grandpa Tom says it's tough on the whole family.

"There's no doubt about me. I'm cheering for Edmonton. But I'm torn about it. And his grandmother is even more torn about it than I am. He's not our blood grandson but to us, well, he's our grandson. It's a complicated situation when we go down to see him after a game. It's like there are four different directions of family," said the Oiler owner who has been one of the 10 directors since the group saved the franchise.

"Watching him grow up was the biggest thing. Joff probably told you I bought him his first hockey equipment.

"We have pictures of him. He watched hockey on TV from about the time he was three and I think that's how old he was when I bought it for him for Christmas.

"I remember him as a little tyke still in a stroller and where he's walking along and he's broadcasting an imaginary Oilers game.

" 'And here is No. 7, Paul Coffey ...' He couldn't have been any more than three or four. I mean, he was in a stroller for crying out loud.

"He'd shoot the puck in our basement. In the house, he'd use the shower as a penalty box. He lived and breathed hockey. I think that held him in very good stead. Coming from a split family, I think hockey made a big difference in his life."

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Grandma Pat said this series is the best of times and the worst of times for her.

"It's kind of my worst nightmare come true. I so want Joffrey to do well. My heart is with the Oilers. But Joffrey was such a marvelous little boy and has been such a big part of our lives ...

"You know when he was the littlest guy he could name all the Oilers players? When his mom vacuumed, she was the Zamboni.

"This brings back so many memories. He had this little rubber hockey stick that he teethed on.

"It's so hard. I want him to score, but I want the Oilers to score one more."

Pat figures hockey meant everything to him.

"With Joffrey coming from a broken home, hockey saved him, I think."

Mom Carmen said it wouldn't have mattered.

"Hockey would have been No. 1 in Joffrey's life, regardless. He had an inborn passion for the game. He had a huge interest even as a two-year-old. And he was all Oilers."

Mom said she's still trying to sway Alex.

"I'm still working on him. Right now he has Oiler flags on his truck. I've been thinking of putting a Ducks flag on my car, but I've decided to leave well enough alone.

"I have to admit, I never thought Anaheim would make it this far. Or the Oilers.

"But I'm 110% an Anaheim fan. There's nothing more I'd love to see than my son play in the Stanley Cup final."

She was ecstatic when Joffrey made history in the series against Colorado. He became the first player in NHL history to to cap a four-goal game with an overtime score.

As the Edmonton Sun headlined it: "Lupul 4, Avs 3."

"It was an absolutely incredible experience watching that. I was very pleased when he scored the first goal and amazed when he scored the second. When he scored the third and fourth goals, I can't even describe the feeling.

"All his sacrifices and all of his hard work were rewarded in that one night. It's one of the best feelings I've ever had in my life.

"I just hope the Ducks have it in them. To be able to see Joffrey carry the Stanley Cup would be absolutely a dream come true."

Dad Craig says his son better be joking about who he'll be cheering for in this series.

"I've been an Oiler fan for as long as I can remember, all the way back to the WHA. But when it comes to this one, it's Joffrey all the way.

Dad said he didn't go to any of the Oiler-Red Wing games.

"I gave my tickets away to partners in the law firm for all the games in the Detroit series," said Craig. "I stayed home and watched the Ducks game on TV and went down to Calgary and watched his games there."

While he was at Rexall Wednesday night, cheering for the Oilers to make the match, his dad said he didn't miss a minute of watching the Ducks on TV.

"Good thing, too. I wouldn't have wanted to have missed that four-goal game."

Joffrey said he kind of knew he made himself a Stanley Cup playoff hero for the ages when it happened.

"It's the kind of game that people almost expect to change your life," said Joffrey.

"But it was one game. That's the thing. In the playoffs, you turn the page quickly.

"But it was a special night and I'll remember it forever. The response was incredible.

"The first thing it does is remind you how many people in Canada are watching the Stanley Cup playoffs no matter what teams are playing. By the time I turned on my phone had had 20 calls and 30 text messages and most of them were from back home."

And Joffrey Lupul goes out of his way to say that home is Fort Saskatchewan not Edmonton despite the fact most who live in one of the city's bedroom communities see ourselves as Edmontonians.

"People in Fort Saskatchewan are very sensitive about that," he said. "If they put Edmonton on the back of my hockey card or something like that, they get upset."

Lupul is aware that three Edmonton area players - Carolina's Cam Ward, Edmonton's Fernando Pisani and himself - have all made themselves special stories this year.

"I'd love to go against Cam in the Stanley Cup final," he said. "We know each other very well. We train together in the summer."

But just coming home to play in a series against the team he cheered for as a kid is as big a thrill as any.

"Just to be in the playoffs for the first time and the success we've had has been pretty neat but to play in the playoffs in Edmonton is going to be great. That building is pretty special at playoff time.

"I went to a lot of playoff games there in the past with my dad and my grandparents on my mother's side. My grandpa, when he became one of the Oiler owners, took me in the Oilers dressing room a couple of times."

Now, in the Oiler dressing room, they'll be spending a lot of time trying to figure out how to stop him. And at least half his family hopes they won't.


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