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Oilers express thanks as 2020-21 season ends

OKOTOKS, AB (May 4, 2021) ““ The Okotoks Oilers of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) have concluded their 2020-21 season, the team announced today.

The team finishes the season with a 7-1 record in eight regular season games, after participating in nine exhibition development season games.

Executing a season in the midst of a global pandemic required an incredible amount of effort from a variety of different stakeholders, to each of whom the team wishes to express its utmost gratitude.

The players who agreed to engage in an isolated cohort, as well as their parents, sacrificed the usual normalcy of a hockey season to make this campaign possible. The organization hopes that they were able to benefit as much as possible from this season, and appreciates the sacrifices and dedication of all of their families this year.

In a similar vein, the players”™ extended families, the billets, had their already-admirable dedication tested to new extents this season, with all of them responding in incredible fashion to take care of our players under the toughest of circumstances. To them, the team”™s gratitude is equally immense.

“We”™re extremely grateful for the support from our entire Okotoks Oilers family, from volunteers to billets to rink staff and beyond, and to everyone who supported us in what we”™ve done this season,” said Oilers General Manager Tyler Deis. “Our players impressed us with their willingness to stay positive throughout this situation, dating back to last year”™s playoffs; they stayed hungry, and truly appreciated that they had the opportunity to practice and play.”

“For our 20-year old players, they graduate having made our program better, always showing the professionalism and accountability in making us one of the better programs in Canada, and they have helped to pass that on to the new and younger players who are going to continue to take us where we need to be,” he added.

Though the Oilers”™ full team of volunteers could not contribute to all games this season, those who remained vital to the operation of each game never wavered in their desire to maintain the highest of standards. As always, volunteers did this out of their own dedication to keeping local junior hockey alive in Okotoks, and the team looks forward to having their full contingent back in September.

The Oilers also express their deepest gratitude to the Town of Okotoks”™ staff, and the Government of Alberta as well, for making this season possible through ongoing operation of the Pason Centennial Arena, and the approval of the league”™s return to play plan, respectively. With so much to manage to keep our communities safe, the organization is extremely appreciative that government partners took the time to ensure this valuable season could still operate within the public health measures in place.

Finally, the organization wishes to acknowledge the incredibly hard work of the AJHL Office, from Commissioner Ryan Bartoshyk and all of his Vice Presidents, to craft the return to play plan and make it possible for this season to happen. This season has shown why the AJHL is exceptional among Junior A leagues, and it has only enhanced Okotoks”™ pride in its membership.

To Oilers fans far and wide who kept in touch with our team however you could, from broadcasts to social media, we thank you for cheering us on during the most difficult of years. We, like everyone, look forward to brighter days ahead, and the opportunity to play with you in the seats once again.

Preparations for the 2021-22 Okotoks Oilers season, the team”™s sixteenth since joining the AJHL, will begin this month.

Photo: Chad Goddard Photography