Superfan Magoo and Nipiyiskwew bring love and inspiration to Edmonton Oilers fans and the Magoo Crew is available for motivational talks and workshops on suicide prevention, anti-bullying and building respect. Photo supplied.Kinnukana, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

There is no one more dedicated and passionate for the Edmonton Oilers than Superfan Magoo, whose real name is Blair Gladue, a Cree from Calling Lake Alberta. He is recognized as a beloved figure among Oilers fans and a role model for Indigenous people. He is often seen at games and events decked out in Oilers gear cheering on the team. He spreads his positivity and love to not just the Oilers, but he also uses it to inspire Indigenous Youth all over Canada.

Blair Gladue is a Cree who was born in Calling Lake, Alberta. He lived there as a young boy and was raised by his grandparents, Alice Gladue (nee Beaver) and Paul Gladue. Right from infancy they spoke only Cree to him. Blair is a fluent Cree speaker and did not speak English until he went to school at age five.

Blair loved growing up with his grandparents. He said that “the most special memory I have with my grandparents is every weekend, every Saturday morning, we would go check our snares in the bush, hike for miles and go hunting. Every weekend, right from when I was a little baby.” They taught him how to set snares, shoot and skin animals. They taught him how to live off the land, pick berries and cones. Blair remembers when he was about ten years old, and he would go pick cones with his grandpa. Every sack that they picked together was dropped off at Forestry and they would receive twenty dollars a bag.

Blair’s love of hockey came from playing ice hockey in the ponds and watching hockey on television. He said he was always a fan of the Edmonton Oilers right from when he was a kid. As he grew up in a log house, he would watch hockey games with his grandpa on their black and white TV. They had an antenna that they had to move around just to get reception for CBC.

Blair was a young man when his grandparents passed away. Afterwards, he moved around a lot. He lived in Wabasca, Athabasca, and Elk Point. Then, Blair ended up living with his mother Virginia in Edmonton. When he moved there, he was already a Superfan of the Edmonton Oilers but didn’t have any money to purchase tickets to attend games. He would walk around with his Oilers T-Shirt and a little Oilers flag that he had, and he would stand on the corner of the street by the rink and pump everyone up before games. At the time, Blair made do with what he had available to him.

Blair says he was not an Angel growing up and did what he needed to do to survive. However, he chose early on not to consume alcohol and has maintained his sobriety throughout his life. Blair said that while growing up, he saw his friends and relatives go through a lot of challenges related to alcohol abuse and he did not want to follow the same path. Blair’s advice for young people is that ‘You have a gift. Use it, don’t abuse it.’

Blair is dedicated to being Superfan Magoo and prefers to be called that. He takes his role of promoting his beloved team seriously. Superfan Magoo is always decked out in Oilers clothing, and he never misses standing outside with his traditional Indigenous drum and flags cheering on the team before games. His special drum was gifted to him by Rocky Morin of Enoch Cree Nation. Superfan Magoo has met many Oilers players, coaches and staff. He said that they have shared with him that the whole dressing room loves what he does, and they can hear his drum which gives them inspiration.

Superfan Magoo also inspires youth through his entertainment crew called the Magoo Crew Entertainment. Superfan Magoo had a crew in the past that focused only on break dancing, but they ended it after a few years. In 2016, Superfan Magoo’s wife, Nipiyiskwew, encouraged him to restart the crew with a different focus. The Magoo Crew consists of up to five members who travel all over Canada to host workshops with youth. They are an entertainment group that does hoop dancing, traditional dancing, jigging, singing, rapping and break dancing. As they entertain, they also speak to everyone about anti-bullying, suicide awareness, respecting yourself, Elders and Culture. They provide a message for kids – “as long as you stay in school, respect yourself and everyone around you, you are going to grow up to be whatever you want to be in life.” The goal of the Magoo Crew is to inspire and motivate youth, adults and Elders everywhere.

Superfan Magoo said, “On social media, and all over the world, there is so much negatively today. I was taught by my grandparents that in order to respect anyone else around you, you have to respect yourself, and the world is a better place when everyone is smiling, having fun and enjoying themselves. That is what I focus on, being positive and spreading love. I just want to be that person that everybody loves because I love everybody, it doesn’t matter who they are or where they come from, I love them. What we need to do as Indigenous people is lift each other up and not bring each other down.”

For more information on the Magoo Crew and to book them in your community, email magoocrew.entertainment@gmail.com

By Kinnukana, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Dec 11, 2023 at 10:42

This item reprinted with permission from   Alberta Native News   Edmonton, Alberta

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