Edmonton Oilers jersey sales riding high in playoff excitement

Edmonton Oiler fans snatching up merchandise in playoff excitement.

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As the Edmonton Oilers head to the next round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, jersey sales are ramping up across the city, giving store owners fresh insights into the mindsets of fans.

“It’s literally every single player, every single colour jersey. Kids, women’s and men’s,” said Nick Caputo, manager of Sports Closet Kingsway.

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On Thursday, the Edmonton Oilers head south to take on the Dallas Stars in their ninth playoff matchup dating back to the 1983/’84 season. Riding the high of the Oilers’ seventh-game victory in Vancouver, the Edmonton fans are literally gearing up for the next round. According to a pair of sports stores, the hype around the team’s playoff run is reflected in the Oilers gear sales.

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“It’s grown incrementally, which is usually what happens this time of year,” said Kelly Hodgson, store manager of United Sport and Cycle.

The incremental growth in sales is a reflection of the team’s success over the past several years. While some could argue that the Oilers’ cup-less run isn’t success, compared to the 10 years when the playoffs were out of reach — the so-called ‘decade of darkness’ — the Oilers’ recent four straight years of playoff appearances are decidedly positive. The reappearances have had an effect on merchandise purchasing trends by Oilers fans.

“Round one was the big one where we saw the biggest influx of jersey sales because people weren’t sure how much further we’d go and they wanted to make sure that they jumped on the wagon early enough that they could participate,” said Hodgson of previous year’s trends.

It seems that after a few years of playoff appearances, Oilers fans weren’t as excited for the first round as they used to be.

“It’s like fans have the expectation of the team pushing a little bit further,” said Caputo.

Fans’ expectations may have slowed the initial surge in merch sales, but it didn’t stop it. Caputo said that as the second round went on, the sales pushed higher with the hopes of the fans. He said that by Saturday’s game six, when the Oilers had backed themselves into two do-or-die games, it was a “different level.”

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“It’s like literally all jerseys that you’re selling, like one after the other.”

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The fans’ purchases also tell some other stories besides the hope in the team. For example, both Caputo and Hodgson said that the cooler Edmonton weather over the past few weeks caused items that would traditionally fly off the shelves, like t-shirts and tank tops, to not sell much at all. Instead, customers are opting for jerseys, car flags and wigs, among others.

With so much Oilers fan gear to choose from, consumers have their pick from something as significant as a jersey to as small as a tattoo. But Caputo said for his money, the most ridiculous merch would have to be the chains.

connor mcdavid leon draisaitl
Connor McDavid #97 and Leon Draisaitl #29 of the Edmonton Oilers arrive at the 2023 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic between the Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers at Commonwealth Stadium on Oct. 29, 2023. Photo by Lawrence Scott /Getty Images

“I look at those things and if you’re walking around with one of those, it’s pretty hilarious,” Caputo said.

The thick chain-linked necklaces come in various colours and with different emblems, but Caputo thought the ones showing Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl in their Heritage Classic outfits are the funniest.

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Caputo pointed out that this playoff’s fan favourite seems to be Zach Hyman, whose 13 points and 11 goals has earned him some popularity throughout the city and spurred a flurry of jersey sales.

Whether it’s the sales, the city, or just good Oilers fans, both Caputo and Hodgson predicted an Oilers win.

“I think it’s going to be a real tight series again. I say Oilers in six or seven,” said Caputo.

“I think it’s the Oilers cup to win. It really is up to them. I don’t think any other team is as good in every aspect of the game as we are, as long as we play every aspect of the game to our potential, which is of course the magic sauce,” said Hodgson.

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Twitter/X: @ZacharyDelaney

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