It wasn’t just any old hat-trick. It was one that brought 16,839 fans at Rexall Place out of their seats and thousands more watching at home, offering hope to an Edmonton Oilers nation that has seen its team struggle far too much in the last decade.
Yes, when Ryan Nugent-Hopkins potted his third goal in a 4-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks Saturday night, a collective roar could be heard – all the way to Calgary.
I am based in Calgary and happened to be watching the game with a couple of Oilers fans while doing a draft-style hockey pool. When Nugent-Hopkins scored his third goal, they jumped – both literally and figuratively.
Nugent-Hopkins secured his hat-trick at 16:37 of the second period. By the 15 minute mark, he was off our draft board.
It’s the kind of hope – and confidence – that Oiler fans have in the 18-year-old from Burnaby, BC. In his brief three game career, Nugent-Hopkins has endeared himself to the hockey world.
It’s a world that will not let him go back to Red Deer.
As Peter Loubardias put it, “Right now he looks like he belongs.”
He isn’t doing anything to dispel that notion.
Aaron Vickers is the managing editor of Future Considerations and can be found on Twitter. For all the latest Future Considerations news and posts, follow FC’s Official Twitter Feed, on YouTube and on Facebook!