Father and son from Fort Simpson show off N.W.T. flag as Edmonton Oilers advance to final

William Michaud, right, holds the N.W.T. flag with his son after the Edmonton Oilers defeated the Dallas Stars for the NHL Western Conference championship on Sunday. (Submitted by William Michaud. - image credit)
William Michaud, right, holds the N.W.T. flag with his son after the Edmonton Oilers defeated the Dallas Stars for the NHL Western Conference championship on Sunday. (Submitted by William Michaud. - image credit)

A father and son from Fort Simpson have generated a buzz on social media after holding up an N.W.T. flag during Sunday night's National Hockey League Western Conference championship game, which saw the Edmonton Oilers defeat the Dallas Stars to advance to the Stanley Cup final.

William Michaud and his son, Joseph, had front-row seats to the game and were repeatedly captured by television cameras holding the flag against the glass.

"The plan was to be in the front row and have that flag available, and as soon as the opportunity was there, we were going to hold the flag and represent the N.W.T. and let everybody know that we were there," Michaud said.

That caught the attention of Cole Marshall, a Whitehorse resident who was born and raised in N.W.T. and who had just stopped into work, where a colleague was watching the game.

Though not a big Oilers fan himself, he said he ended up sticking around to watch the third period.

The Edmonton Oilers celebrate their 2-1 win over the Dallas Stars in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs in Edmonton on Sunday.
The Edmonton Oilers celebrate their 2-1 win over the Dallas Stars in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs in Edmonton on Sunday.

The Edmonton Oilers celebrate their 2-1 win over the Dallas Stars in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs in Edmonton on Sunday. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

"Anytime you can see your flag in that kind of situation, you have to think it's awesome," Marshall said.

Patty Olexin-Lang, who spotted photos of the flag on social media and shared them, said it's exciting to see any territorial flag at a big event.

"[It's a] proud moment, whether it's a NT flag, polar bear or even a Nunavut flag," she said.

"You wonder, 'Do I know that person? Who is it?'"

Marshall also found himself questioning how the N.W.T. fans managed to afford the pricey tickets, he joked.

Michaud bought the tickets for his son, Joseph, as a birthday gift, he said, after Edmonton pulled ahead in the series on Wednesday night.

He was unsure if there would even be a sixth game in the series, he said.

"Had that not happened, we were going to have a wonderful night at that Fantasyland Hotel nonetheless," he said.

"But things worked out in [Joseph's] favor and we got the win."

The best part, Michaud said, was having his son turn to him at the end of the game and say, "My ears are ringing."

"It was deafening," he said of the audience reaction when it became clear that the Oilers would take the series.

Michaud and his son are now slowly making their way back to Fort Simpson, he said, calling the game a once-in-a-lifetime experience.