The Okotoks Junior A Oiler who scored the first goal in the team’s history now has a new goal with the club — putting fannies in the seats at the Centennial
Former Oiler Dallas Hand has rejoined the organization as the team’s
new marketing manager.
“My job is selling tickets, advertising, organizing golf tournaments and
trying to get more people in the stands at the Centennial Arena,” Hand
said. “I have a lot of plans in my head right now.”
Hand has a minor in sports management and a major degree in marketing
at the New England College in New Hampshire, where he played for two years and coached for another. It was his one-year stint with the Oilers in 2005-06 that got his foot in the door to play college hockey.
“Playing with the Oilers basically got me into New England,” Hand
said. “The coaching staff did a great job of helping me out with the program.
Garry (VanHereweghe) was the main one who got me into it.” VanHereweghe was the Oilers’ first coach and is now the player
Hand came to the Oilers as a 20-year-old after playing for the Rimbey
Colts of the Heritage Junior B Hockey League. He was a long shot to make the
club, but his strong pre-season forced the Oilers to keep him on the
roster. They are certainly glad they did as Hand made an excellent first
impression in Junior A hockey.
He made history when he slipped a puck past Sherwood Park Crusader goalie
Trevor Peeters on Sept. 9, 2005 at the Murray Arena.“It was a greasy rebound goal,” Hand said with a laugh. “All I really remember was that we won the game.
Hand did whatever was asked of him in his time with the Oilers. He
started out as a forward but also had a stint on the blueline when injuries
took their toll on the team. “I was all over the place that year. It was more or less wherever they needed me, I played there,” Hand said.
His dedication to the team and community resulted in Hand being named the first recipient of the Mr. Oiler Award. Hand admits he might have to wear a few hats in his first year working with the Oilers and he credits his predecessor Greg Davenport with creating a strong foundation from which he can work. However, Hand is starting his new gig like he was down a goal — he’s battling harder times. “It is an easy sell because it is such a good product,” Hand said. “Some of the businesses have had to cut back because of the economic situations over the past two years and that is understandable.”
Although Hand won’t recognize any of the players in the Oilers’ locker room, he’s found out that sometimes the more things change the more the stay the same. “I am really excited to be back in Okotoks,” Hand said “Right
now, I’m living next door to one of my old billets.” His former billet — Greg Davenport, the man he replaced as marketing manager.
By Aaron Carr