Fandemonium ... at -23C

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:06 AM ET

More than 90 minutes before the start of the event, fans were lining up outside Rexall Place.

And it was -23 C.

Yesterday an announced crowd of over 15,000 braved the frigid temperatures and showed up to watch the Edmonton Oilers Superskills competition.

"It's great to see people come out here and have a good time," said Oilers defenceman Matt Greene.

"It lets some guys have some fun in front of the fans and that's all that really matters.

"The guys had a good time and the fans had a good time, too."

The annual event has always been a big draw for the Oilers. Last year just over 10,000 fans packed into Rexall Place.

Some might argue this year's extra large crowd was due to the fact that the Oilers actually have some skill to show off this season.

"It's fun for the city," said Oilers defenceman Marc-Andre Bergeron, who was the fastest skater and had the hardest shot.

"I think the support is there for the ownership and the people are comfortable with them and hope they keep doing what they're doing.

"For us, sometimes we play in some buildings that are empty and it's kind of sad. We're fortunate to be able to do things like this."

The competition proved to be a relaxing break for the Oilers, in what can amount to a very long season.

Heading into the event on a five-game winning streak is good for everyone as well.

"We used to do this in Anaheim and we'd maybe get 5,000 people out," said king of the shootout Joffrey Lupul.

"This is awesome. I was quite surprised when I went out there, especially with the weather.

"It's nice to have that support and hopefully we put on a good show for them."


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