The logical hockey reasons for why the Edmonton Oil Kings became the road team to win Game 7 of the Western Hockey League, and then beat the more rested Guelph Storm to win the Memorial Cup last Sunday, are manifold.
It's also fun to think they might have earned some good karma — after some twists of fate whilst losing two of their first three Cup games — thanks to the gesture goalie Tristan Jarry and his teammates bestowed on a young Portland Winterhawks fan named Bauer Wilson during their league final.
Following his 37-save effort in Edmonton's 3-2 win in Portland in Game 5, Jarry was named the No. 2 star. As Guy Flaming of The Pipeline Show (who also serves as the Oil Kings colour commentator on TSN 1260) relates, the ritual in Portland is for each of the three stars to pose for a picture with "a child in the range of 3-8 years old." The Oil Kings did not play in Portland during the regular season, so Jarry was initially unsure of the protocol. What the Pittsburgh Penguins draft pick did, though, created a lasting memory.
From Flaming (@TPS_Guy):
Jarry gave the boy his stick. The young lad, not sure what to do and barely able to hold the heavy stick, eventually dragged it off the carpet where his father was waiting for him.... The WHL on Shaw broadcast crew was on the ice waiting to interview Jarry. The goalie answered a few questions from Stu Walters, turned back to find the boy, spotted him and then skated over to him. Once he got there he bent on one knee to sign the stick.
Jarry skated across the ice on his path through the Oil Kings bench and off to the dressing room to a terrific round of applause. The fans who had stuck around and saw the moment were impressed by his gesture.
By the time [Oil Kings play-by-play man] Corey Graham and I were done with our post game show, the press conferences with both teams were long over and most of the media had cleared out. Corey and I were chatting with Paul Owen, the Oil Kings Communications Manager, when I spotted the boy and his family, his grin still extending from ear to ear.
In the time between meeting Jarry on the ice and my seeing them after the game, the entire team had taken the time to sign the stick for the family. (Coming Down The Pipe!)
Talk about creating your luck. Young Bauer's mother, Jenna Wilson, plays Tom-a-hawk, the Winterhawks' mascot. His father, Scott Wilson, was on the spot to snap some pictures you would do well to click through and see.
— Jenna Wilson (@ladyhawk00) May 10, 2014
No one would have noticed if Jarry had just hung on to his goal stick. Who knows how many among the crowd of 10,947 that was in the Moda Center even picked up on the gesture. Jarry also had a hot hand at that moment after backstopping Edmonton to a third consecutive win in the series, so that would lead one to think he would prefer to keep the same tool. I guess he's not superstitious.
One of Tristan Jarry's ancillary goals, apparently, is to score an empty-net goal at some point in his career. The 19-year-old from Delta, B.C., hit the post during an Oil Kings win over the Saskatoon Blades this season. A week later, Ottawa Senators signing Chris Driedger of the Calgary Hitmen — Edmonton's rival, no less — became the first WHL goalie in a decade to be credited with a goal after the Kootenay Ice scored into their own net during a delayed penalty. Jarry getting that goalie goal next season would be a nice coda to this vignette, especially if it happened in Portland.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.