Elk Point resident Jennifer Van der Hoek’s basement is lined with Oilers memorabilia.
Although it’s not the first Edmonton Oilers contest Jennifer Van der Hoek was won, this one is for a good cause.
When the Oilers posted a Twitter contest on May 11 to come up with the best goalie helmet design to honour frontline workers and give back in the COVID-19 fight, Van der Hoek wasn’t sure if she’d enter.
But then her “Our Heroes Wear Masks” design won 70 per cent of the final vote, meaning her helmet will be made, signed by Mike Smith, and auctioned off towards COVID-19 relief.
“I just thought it was a great project–a great cause,” said Van der Hoek.
“I know a lot of frontline workers lots in the family. So I wanted to keep creative during this whole pandemic and give it a shot, and I almost didn’t submit it because I kind of got that same defeatist attitude, but then I went for it and it turned out perfectly.”
She’s been a super fan for a long time and her basement has several signed jerseys and framed pictures from local-area Oilers’ Mark Letestu and Sheldon Souray, not to mention some of the young stars throughout the early 2010’s in Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall.
“Back when Taylor Hall was drafted by the Oilers, I actually won tickets to a baseball game that he was attending with a bunch of the other prospects and I got to play street hockey goalie against him before he was even an NHL player.”
“And he let me win,” she said.
She got to meet Oilers netminder Mike Smith and artist David Arrigo who is bringing her design to life.
“I wanted to go with a clean, simple design with the Oilers colours, but throw in the mask because there’s the parallels between mass protecting goalies, as protecting frontline workers, as well as the superhero theme because frontline workers are heroes. And lots of heroes wear masks.”
The mask is currently being made before the Oilers auction it away online July 7-21.