'Is it real?': Fans at Oilers rally celebrate return of playoff experience

'Is it real?': Fans at Oilers rally celebrate return of playoff experience

Hundreds of Edmonton Oilers fan spent their lunch hour on Thursday getting psyched for Game 5 of the first-round playoff series against the San Jose Sharks.

Before the rally even started in Churchill Square, Blair Gladue had the fans around him in a frenzy feeding off his energy.

Along with a small entourage, Gladue wore an orange suit and a blue and orange wig as he banged on a traditional Indigenous drum.

"I'm feeling so excited. So nervous," Gladue said Thursday. "So overwhelmed with all the fans and our city coming together and our team playing awesome."

On the podium, Mayor Don Iveson got the crowd riled up with a speech and a dig at the Oilers' rivals, the Calgary Flames.

"No matter how cold it is, no matter the price of oil, no matter what's happening on the ice, we never give up on our team," Iveson said, followed by a loud cheer from the crowd.

"The only thing I'm worried about is that Calgary didn't work Anaheim very hard."

A group of Oilers alumni helped to get the fans pumped up, including former players Fernando Pisani, Raffi Torres, Dave Semenko and Kevin Lowe.

Mark Sokolowski has been an Oilers fan for 35 years. He made signs in anticipation of today's rally. For him, the whole experience seemed unbelievable.

"Is it real? It's been 10 years — well, over 10 years — unbelievable," said Sokolowski. "You can see the emotion here.

"You can just feel the buzz. A playoff buzz. We've only had two playoff games, but it feels like we never left, actually."

Game 5 starts at 8:30 p.m. at Rogers Place with the Oilers hoping to take a 3-2 series lead heading back to San Jose.