'The house is just booming': Oilers fan from Inuvik, N.W.T., shares her family's excitement ahead of game 4
'We're all yelling and screaming or we're all getting mad because they're losing,' says Anna Pingo
For hockey fans, particularly those who support the Edmonton Oilers, Monday night is a make or break moment.
It's Game 4 of the NHL western conference finals between the Edmonton Oilers and the Colorado Avalanche. Colorado leads the series three to zero, meaning if they win again tonight, the Oilers will be out of the playoffs.
Anna Pingo, an Edmonton Oilers fan who lives in Inuvik, N.W.T., says she's "quite anxious and excited" for the game.
"We're hoping that they come out with a win. We'll be sending positive vibes," she said.
The excitement has been building in her home where the whole family cheer on the Oilers.
"I tell you, the house is just booming," she said of previous games they watch together.
"We're all yelling and screaming or we're all getting mad because they're losing," she said.
Tonight, the family will be getting geared up once again to watch their favourite team.
"We're getting all our gear on, our regalia to represent the Oilers."
Pingo said she's been an Oilers fan since she was a young girl and had the chance to meet famous hockey players at the time, including Wayne Gretzky, during the team's glory days, when they won five Stanley Cups in seven years. Her grandmother lived in Edmonton and her uncle used to work at what was then the Edmonton Coliseum, where the Oilers played.
"He was able to take myself, my brother Roy and my sister Evelyn to a Canada-USA game. We got to meet a lot of the hockey players then and Gretzky was one of them," Pingo said. "Since we got to go to the Canada-USA game, we've been always fans of the Edmonton Oilers."
As an adult, she's gone down to Alberta "many times" to see the team play with her husband who also happens to be a big fan.
"I lucked out and I ended up marrying a man who's a really big Oilers fan too. So we just go all out when it comes to [the Oilers]," Pingo said.
The couple have jerseys from back in the 1980s along with flags, and more.
"Everything about us is the Edmonton Oilers," she said. "I think some people even get a little bit annoyed because we're so defensive of [the] Oilers, even though they were not doing good for so many years, we still stayed behind them."
"We know no matter what, Edmonton Oilers are always gonna be our team and people even know not to tease me too much about it."
She and her sister even led a mini parade of cars with Oilers flags on their windows through Inuvik during the last series against the Calgary Flames.
For tonight, even though the odds are not necessarily in the Oilers favour, with one of their players, Evander Kane, being suspended, Pingo is holding on to hope.
"We have faith in the rest of the guys. It's kind of disappointing, alright, but we're gonna keep our fingers crossed and hope that the boys could hold their own without Kane."
Game night in her home is still exciting in Pingo's home regardless of the nerves, she said.
"Even our grandchildren are big Oilers fans. Sometimes, we have one game happening in the one bedroom, then the living room and then someone else in the other bedroom and all of us are yelling through the house," she said.
It's all in fun, except, perhaps, for the family dog, even though the family has a jersey for him too.
"He's so frustrated with us always putting the jersey on. He starts growling as soon as he sees the jersey coming out," Pingo said with a laugh.
Her family will be getting together for Game 4, which starts at 6 p.m. MT Monday night.
With files from Wanda McLeod