Canadian RB Chuba Hubbard was not a fan of Carolina after Hurricanes beat Oilers in 2006 Stanley Cup Finals

Photo courtesy: Edmonton Oilers

Like millions of Canadians Chuba Hubbard is a hockey fan.

He grew up in Sherwood Park, AB and naturally developed an affinity for the Oilers. While a young Hubbard was turning seven years old, born June 11, 1999, Edmonton made it to the Stanley Cup Finals against Carolina in the summer of 2006.

“Hockey was big for me growing up. Believe it or not, I never played hockey but the time I was most into hockey was when we were playing the Hurricanes in the Stanley Cup,” Hubbard recalled.

The NHL championship series went the distance, seven games and it was decided on Monday, June 19 at the RBC Center. Aaron Ward and Frantisek Kaberle provided a 2-0 lead for the home side. Fernando Pisani cut the lead in half just over one minute into the third, but Cam Ward was not beaten again. The Canes added an empty net goal from Justin Williams and won the first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

“We lost bad, I was mad, I didn’t like Carolina after that — nah I like ’em now,” Hubbard, who is a current member of the Panthers, joked with a smile on his face.

Hubbard continues to support the Oilers and hopes the team can add to its five Stanley Cups during Connor McDavid’s time in oil country. During Carolina’s bye week the six-foot, 207-pound running back travelled home to Alberta and attended a game at Rogers Place to cheer on the blue and orange.

“I’ve only been home twice in the last two or three years, I went back home and saw my family. I was able to go to an Oilers game, they always treat me really well. They treat me pretty good, I ain’t gonna lie,” Hubbard said.

“Hockey’s big, I took my girl back to Canada with me and she was like: ‘This is crazy, this is like a college or NFL game, I didn’t expect this.’ I was like: ‘Yeah, it’s the same atmosphere.’ It’s definitely big up there.”

Even though Hubbard plays for an NFL franchise that has an NHL team in the same city, he remains committed to the Oilers. Part of the reason why, the most famous player in team history, Wayne Gretzky put out a video supporting Hubbard during his Heisman Trophy campaign.

“I talked to him during my 2019 season, Gretzky is a good guy,” Hubbard said. “I’m sure I’ll meet him sooner or later.”

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.