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Basement testament to Alberta woman's Oilers fandom

Patricia Lesyk's basement, which features a large collection of Edmonton Oilers and hockey-related memorabilia. (Dave Mitchell/CTV News Edmonton) Patricia Lesyk's basement, which features a large collection of Edmonton Oilers and hockey-related memorabilia. (Dave Mitchell/CTV News Edmonton)
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As soon as you pull into Patricia Lesyk's driveway, it's apparent she's an avid collector.

Statues of wildlife line the approach to the St. Paul-area home she shares with her husband.

Enter the garage and you'll find extensive assortments dedicated to Harley-Davidson motorcycles and Coca-Cola.

In the basement, however, is evidence of her most treasured and sizable collection of all: that related to hockey and her favourite team, the Edmonton Oilers.

The one-time Edmonton resident and Oilers season-ticket holder says she always bought an item before leaving a game. Lesyk enjoys adding to her menagerie of keepsakes via auctions, too.

Her 5,000-plus piece collection of sports memorabilia gathered over 44 years is a testament to that. It resides in her home's lower level, focusing heavily on the Blue and Orange with a smattering of collectibles representing other teams and players.

And while favourite player Connor McDavid's No. 97 features heavily among the mementos adorning the walls, those sporting Wayne Gretzky's No. 99 are among Lesyk's most-prized items, including an autographed pair of the Great One's game-worn gloves won at a charity auction.

"They were like my favourites," Lesyk told CTV News Edmonton.

"We've met him a few times. Very, very nice person."

Jerseys, artwork, equipment and sticks of several players from different eras adorn the approximately 2,000-square-foot space among cabinets filled with curios both purchased and crafted.

And while the Oilers are by far the most well-represented, Lesyk keeps souvenirs of other teams and their players, particularly those of her first hockey team love, the Montreal Canadiens.

Her father was a Habs fan, and she has fond memories of growing up in the 1960s watching black-and-white TV with him while the Canadiens — featuring her favourite player at the time, goalie Gump Worsley — battled the rival Toronto Maple Leafs.

"That's all we had on a Saturday night was Hockey Night in Canada, so that's where it all started," said Lesyk, recalling growing up skating in her backyard with "every kid in the neighbourhood" on a rink her parents flooded on top of the garden.

"I think I could skate before I could walk ... Hockey was just part of our family."

Today, however, there's no question who she cheers for.

"The Oilers will always be on top," she said.

"Even if Montreal was winning, which they haven't for a while, I would still pick the Oilers. The Oilers are my team now."

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