Edmonton can send a message

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:03 PM ET

EDMONTON - Would it be possible to recreate 1990 and the last Edmonton Oilers five Stanley Cup celebration when about 40,000 fans filled Commonwealth Stadium?

Twenty years later, could the same scene be produced for two gold medal-winning Olympic teams four months after they won those gold medals at Vancouver 2010?

If, as organizing committee chairman Doug Goss telegraphed in an Edmonton Sun exclusive Wednesday, the Canadian Olympic gold medal hockey teams will be paraded into Commonwealth Stadium at a special public event to go with the seventh annual Hockey Canada Foundation Champions Golf and Gala, how big an event could it be?

Consider it something to contemplate as we await an announcement likely early next week.

Could 40,000 people be convinced to gather to cheer Sidney Crosby, Drew Doughty and Roberto Luongo like Oiler fans cheered Mark Messier, Jari Kurri and Kevin Lowe after the fifth Stanley Cup, the one they won without Wayne Gretzky?

Could you pay off Jarome Iginla, Rick Nash, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Roberto Luongo for winning Canada’s second Olympic gold medal of the decade after going half a century since the Edmonton Mercurys won one in 1952?

What if the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup? Would 40,000 fans be in the stands to see Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook sitting in a convertible like Messier, Kurri and Lowe that day, the Cup held high over their heads?

Would that work with Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau ... and, ahem, Dany Heatley?

Or try this, Edmonton. What if the Flyers won?

Could you cheer Chris Pronger for the gold medal around his neck and carrying a Stanley Cup, and hold back the boos until the next time he touched the puck at Rexall Place? No?

OK. Maybe no Cup.

Would it be possible, on a perfect day with plenty of promotions as part of the package, to be able put the 48,000 or so who showed up to watch Christine Sinclair, Kara Lang and the gang play a FIFA U18 Women’s World Championship final at Commonwealth, to have as many show up to celebrate (cigars and beer optional) the success of Haley Wickenhieser, Shannon Szabados and Olympic gold medal winning female friends?

If you charged $10 a ticket and you drew 40,000, that would be $400,000 to the Hockey Canada Foundation — more than the average raised by the annual golf tournament and dinner to celebrate world and Olympic champions in the six-year history of the event held in Toronto, Calgary and Montreal.

Goss says he believes they can raise $1 million with everything involved, half of that being returned to the community for an arena project in the Telus Field area.

Could you draw 40,000 or more if the Edmonton Eskimos and Molsons extended the Green & Go free park and ride program to include the event?

Could such a crowd be produced if radio stations were encouraged to set up remotes and run promotions at the park? What if various Hockey Canada sponsors produced posters and t-shirts as giveaways? What if there were lucky number contests to win autographed jerseys off the backs of the players, signed in person on the property?

How about if fans were allowed to go down and inspect the new FieldTurf after it was over and if kids between, say, the ages of eight and 12 were allowed to run on it?

Perhaps add some entertainment components? Have a pre-parade to promote Edmonton’s fabulous festivals and the 2010 Grey Cup?

Maybe bring in Jordan Eberle, Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson and the just drafted Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin to sit on the new veranda or balcony on top of the roof of the new lyexpanded Eskimos dressing room so the three rookies can see what it would be like to play for a winner here.

Could you convince 40,000 fans to come to Commonwealth Stadium to make a statement to the hockey world about what a great place this can be to play?

It could be something special if they’ve got the guts to do it and do it right.

terry.jones@sunmedia.ca


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