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Sporting sequins and silver, Mama Stanley becomes an Edmonton celebrity for playoffs

Oilers fans cheers as they watch the Edmonton Oilers score a goal against the Florida Panthers during a watch party for Game 5 of the NHL Stanley Cup final, in Edmonton on Tuesday, June 18, 2024.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson Oilers fans cheers as they watch the Edmonton Oilers score a goal against the Florida Panthers during a watch party for Game 5 of the NHL Stanley Cup final, in Edmonton on Tuesday, June 18, 2024.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
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Edmonton Oilers fans crowd around Mary Loewen in a plaza outside the team's home arena during every playoffs game, asking to have their pictures taken with the superfan who's dressed as the Stanley Cup.

Loewen dons a sequined blazer, wears silver gloves and glasses, and covers her face in silver makeup. Then she puts on her "crown" which is meant to imitate the bowl of the famous trophy.

It has 3,500 sequins, and they were all put in by hand.

"There were three people yesterday that cried when they met me, they were so happy," Loewen said the day after the Oilers 5-1 win on Friday night, evening the best-of-seven final series at three games apiece.

"To me, I'm just a normal old lady that loves being at home with my dog, and being with my family."

The unlikely celebrity, affectionately known as "Mama Stanley," gladly returned the love with an appearance at a fundraiser for Hope Worldwide Canada, which raised money on Saturday for programs for children with special needs and for families experiencing food insecurity.

Kathryn Taylor, director of the charity's Edmonton chapter, said she'd only met Loewen a few days earlier.

"I ran into her at Shopper's Drug Mart on Wednesday and we sat talking for about a half an hour or so, and the whole time we were there, about 20 people came up and asked for a selfie with her," Taylor said, adding that's when she asked Loewen if she'd be available to come to Saturday's fundraiser.

"I just said, 'Would you be willing to come?" And she said yes, if you could just give me money for gas."

Loewen has long been a hockey fan and cheered for the Oilers during the team's dynasty back in the 1980s. She typically just watched the games at home on TV, but was extremely enthusiastic, noting she's a "screamer" and a "yeller" when she watches.

A couple of years ago, she said she and her daughter went to a game, each wearing a silver blazer. People noticed them, and her daughter suggested her mom should dress like the Stanley Cup.

This year, Loewen said she's dressed as Mama Stanley for fan parties in the plaza known as the Moss Pit — named for the team's late, much beloved locker room attendant Joey Moss -- during every Oilers playoffs game. 

Now, she said, she gets interviewed by international media and has fans from Australia to Germany.

One generous fan, she said, even offered to buy her a ticket to go inside the arena to see Game 6 live on Friday night, but Loewen said she turned it down because she's become such a fixture at the parties.

"I want to be with the people in my kingdom," said Loewen. "It's just crazy to me but I love it, and I love them all back."

Eight-year-old Austin Ndlovu, a huge hockey fan who was at Saturday's fundraiser, wasn't expecting to see Loewen that day.

"Just seeing a woman dressed as the Stanley Cup, it's crazy," said the boy.

Lesa Mayes Stringer, who was a volunteer with the Hope Worldwide fundraiser, said Loewen was an "inspiration."

"She's supporting her community. She's just an amazing woman who's giving to people. I'm really impressed by her."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 23, 2024.

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