I have my personal opinions about jersey tossing. Last season, during a Winnipeg Jets/ Nashville Predators game, some of my Thrashers friends made the trek northward with jerseys in tow. It was a statement piece on how terrible the old ownership group was, but all I saw on TV that day was a crest that I once cared about lying there in the middle of the ice at Bridgestone Arena. It made me sad.
That was for a team that no longer exists. Imagine being a player on a team that does still exist and seeing your own jersey tossed over the glass. This has already happened once at an Edmonton Oilers game, and coach Dallas Eakins called that fan a “quitter.” Never mind the past five or so seasons of terrible management, ownership decisions, and play on the ice, of course.
I can empathize with Edmonton fans who are tired of their team being awful. I can also empathize with goalie Ben Scrivens, when he skated up to a tossed jersey, picked it up with the blade of his stick, and flipped it back over the glass.
“Pay your money, you get to do whatever you want. You want to boo me? Go for it. You want to jeer me, call me every name; you’re entitled to that. You can spit on me for all I care if I deserve it.
“But when I see a jersey thrown out on the ice … I’m from here. You’re not just disrespecting guys in the room, you’re disrespecting guys who wore this jersey before us. All the great guys who played for this organization and pulled that sweater over their heads. The Messiers, the Gretzky’s, they take pride in wearing that jersey. Joey Moss, every day. The unsung heroes around the rink who pride themselves on that logo.
Like I said, you’re a fan, you get to say and do whatever you want. Call me whatever name you want. But when it comes to that logo, that’s a sacred thing for us. It’s disheartening for me to see our fans treat it that way.”
He’s right, the logo is sacred. It must be hard for him as a new(ish) member of the Oilers to fully comprehend the fact that the team itself has drug that logo through the mud for season after season. No one wants to see your jersey disrespected, and I don’t condone what that fan did.
However, if the Oilers would like to stop having this happen on a regular basis, perhaps not getting blown out 8-1 by the Calgary Flames on home ice would be a decent start. Scrivens can’t be the only guy on the team who cares. The rest of the organization needs to step up and follow his lead.