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Couple skips prom to attend Stanley Cup Game 4

EDMONTON — In a crowd of Edmonton Oilers jerseys, Connor McDavid T-shirts and at least one woman dressed as the Stanley Cup outside of Game 4 stood a couple in formal evening wear.

Renee Nickel-Lane was in a dress with stars embroidered on it. Gregory Laburenko was in a gold suit. They were dressed for a special occasion, though not the one they had been planning to attend.

“We chose to come here over prom,” said Nickel-Lane, about 20 minutes before the start of Game 4.

The prom dates stood in what’s known as the Moss Pit, a viewing party of 5,000 fans located in the ICE District Plaza near the arena. Edmonton fans named it after Joey Moss, the Oilers’ longtime locker room attendant who died in October 2020.

It’s the place where Nickel-Lane and Laburenko had to be Saturday night.

“We’ve got to be here,” she said. “Win or lose, it’s just such a momentous moment. This is a superior decision in every way,”

The couple took prom photos at 2 p.m. The McNally High School prom was scheduled to start about an hour after puck drop.

“We were going to stream the game at the dance anyway,” Nickel-Lane said. “We got there, sat around for five minutes, looked at the clock, said there’s probably time to get into the Moss Pit before game starts. It’s a way better party.”

She said her family and friends were totally supportive of their decision to ditch the prom, which was a financial commitment.

“We’d be paying this much for tickets to the game anyway. We’d rather be inside actually watching, but we’ll watch it out in the heat,” she said.

Despite Edmonton trailing in the series 3-0, the prom dates have kept the faith.

“I say we win it,” Nickel-Lane said. “We saw McDavid in the all-black suit the other day. It looked like he was going to a funeral, and I think that was the Panthers’ funeral.”

She said that if the Oilers win Game 4, they’ll share a dance in the Moss Pit.

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