He arrived in Edmonton as that rarest of all things: an NHL free agent signing. We were told he was the Thrasher captain, and we had to ask why an expansion team would cut loose their leader. These many years later we know the answer: it wasn’t Steve, it was the Thrashers.
Although Edmonton is the capital and is home to thriving universities, it is in fact a blue-collar town. There are things about Edmonton you can only know by living here: there’s old money in this city you’ll never find by looking for said millionaire’s to flaunt it, there’s a tremendous sense of charity that can be overwhelming when you’re in need of it, there’s a pride that likely comes from isolation and independence.
Edmonton likes their hockey players tough. Al Hamilton gave everything he had when he played and for that effort owns the town in a way others can only dream of; Lee Fogolin’s name has a cachet that might only be reserved for elite talents (Lee Fogolin was not an elite talent) and Jason Smith’s name is referenced often in terms of what the current team needs to add to the roster.
Steve Staios was cut from the same cloth as Hamilton, Fogolin and Smith. On top of that, Staios had a keen sense of community and (along with his wife and family) a certain flair that drew both positive attention and helped local charities. In this way, he is an excellent comparable for old timey Leaf Bob Baun, who represented exactly this type of personality 45 years ago in old, old Toronto.
Steve Staios was born in Hamilton, Ontario. A working class kid who made good and never forgot his roots. On or off the ice. He was one of us.
All the best, Steve. We’ll remember you.