‘I want kids to have the opportunity like I do.’ Oilers superfan fundraises to send low-income kids to playoffs

The first thing Ryan Wolfert will tell you is he’s been to ten Oilers hockey games this season, and 13 last year.

“They’re a great hockey team,” he said. “They’re like so much fun to watch, especially with Connor McDavid, who is my favourite player.”

But Wolfert, 22, doesn’t want to be the only fan experiencing all the fun — and drama — when watching games on home ice.

That’s why he has raised $953 for the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation, in hopes the organization uses the funds so kids who can’t afford playoff games can experience them.

The foundation contributes funds to programs that support education, health and wellness for kids and teens.

“Ticket prices always cost more for playoffs,” he said. “The Oilers are going for playoffs for the first time in a while (11 years), and I want kids to have the opportunity like I do, and cheer them on.”

Playoff games are extremely important, he added.

“It’s so important to have these fans go to the games and support the team,” he said.

“There’s such a big difference going to live game. It’s probably more fun than watching it at home.”

Wolfert kick-started his fundraising efforts on GoFundMe — a website that lets donors help people in need — pledging he would run 10 kilometres around downtown and Oliver.

He ran on April 1, beginning and finishing the leg at Rogers Place.

“I’m passionate about running. I was also on the track and cross-country team in high school,” he said. “I’ve run five half-marathons over the last five years.”

Though a representative from the Oilers Community Foundation confirmed they received funds from Wolfert, a spokesperson was unavailable to comment by press time on what the group did with them.

Still, Wolfert said they were pleased with his efforts.

“They were so happy and loved what I did,” he said. “After, they gave me an awesome prize. I got to walk the tunnel that the Oilers come out of from the dressing room. It was so awesome.”