Release: Who Will Be Crowned Chili Champion?

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Edmonton Oil Kings Facing Off Against Hunger at Chili Cook Off in support of Food Banks Alberta

FEBRUARY 21, 2023 (Leduc, AB): Food Banks Alberta has partnered with the Edmonton Oil Kings in a unique activation to recognize their week-long  Together At The Table events. Members of the Oil Kings will compete in a chili cook off at Rogers Place to highlight the 73.3% increase in food bank use within the province since 2019.

The chili cookoff is part of a week-long series of activations that have taken place in communities across the province – from Lac La Biche to Medicine Hat, with the goal of bringing Albertans together to share a meal in support of their communities. During Wednesday’s event, the players and their billet families will prepare a chili meal and compete to become Food Banks Alberta’s first Ultimate Chili Champion.

Event Details: 

  • Wednesday, February 22, 2023
  • 12 PM – 1 PM
  • Oilers Hall of Fame Room at Rogers Place (10220 104 Avenue NW, Edmonton AB)
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John Szabo, 17, is a Lethbridge, AB product and is in his second season with the Edmonton Oil Kings. He is a former sixth-round pick of the team and helped the Club capture the 2022 WHL Championship last season.
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Nathan Pilling, 19, is a Calgary, AB product and is in his first season with the Edmonton Oil Kings after being acquired by the Club this past December from the Moose Jaw Warriors. Nathan is a second-generation Oil King following in the footsteps of his Grandfather Gregg Pilling who played with the original Oil Kings franchise in the early 1960’s.

Why Chili? 

“The answer is simple. Chili has cowboy roots, just like Alberta. It’s a simple, hearty, and soul-filling dish that can be enjoyed after a long day of family-centered activities like skating or snowshoeing. The best part? Chili ingredients are readily available in food bank hampers,” says Arianna Scott, CEO of Food Banks Alberta

Food banks across the country have seen unrelenting demand due to a perfect storm of the affordability crisis, rising grocery prices and other essentials, which has created a ripple effect in the number of families needing support. Many food banks have reported that donors who previously donated food and monetary gifts are now turning to their food banks for support.

Yet Scott says the one thing that continues to encourage food banks is the continued support of communities, and Together At The Table events aim to celebrate that. 

“Wednesday’s chili cookoff with the Edmonton Oil Kings demonstrates the collective strength of our partnerships and our communities,” says Scott.  “Food banks across the province have received tremendous support over the past few months from Albertans eager to help, and we are so grateful. We know that sharing a meal is a unifying experience – from physical presence, to social engagement and conversation. It is our hope that the Together At The Table campaign and events across the province can bring Albertans together over a savory bowl of chili, and remember that food banks are here for anyone in need.” 

Scott shares that support from the Edmonton Oil Kings has echoed that support, and the provincial Association first reached out to the Western Hockey League team because a chili cookoff seemed like the right energy for a team of young hockey players who understand the importance of teamwork. 

“When we were first envisioning the Together At The Table events, our first thoughts gravitated towards chili meals at hockey rinks  – something so quintessentially Canadian,” says Scott. We began reaching out to different hockey organizations in the province to see who might be interested, and the Oil Kings organization and team jumped at the chance.”

“The Edmonton Oil Kings are proud to partner with Food Banks Alberta on this initiative,” says Kevin Radomski, Oil Kings Director of Business Operations. “Food Banks Alberta and Edmonton’s Food Bank are extremely important to our community and the ability to lend a hand to support and bring awareness to these great organizations is an opportunity we are more than happy to jump on.

“Giving back to the greater Edmonton community is an internal mandate of our group and participating in this initiative is unfortunately one that we know is a growing need given the current economic climate.” 

Albertans looking to participate in their local events can find out more at


About Food Banks Alberta: 

Food Banks Alberta is the provincial association of food banks in Alberta, with a mission to strengthen the impact of the provincial food bank network by creating new opportunities, increasing knowledge, providing resources, and delivering innovative programs. We seed connections for positive social change. We are composed of a strong network of more than 113 member food banks across Alberta. 

About Edmonton Oil Kings:

The Edmonton Oil Kings are a major junior hockey team based in Edmonton, Alberta. They are regarded as a premier member of the 22-team Western Hockey League (WHL) and, subsequently, one of 60 teams that comprise the Canadian Hockey League (CHL). The Oil Kings provide Family Fun Second to None and are three-time WHL Champions (2012, 2014, 2022), one-time Memorial Cup Champions (2014) and twice have had players named the WHL’s Humanitarian of the Year (Will Warm, 2019 – Luke Prokop, 2022) for their outstanding contributions within the community.

Since their inaugural season in 2007-2008, the Club has had 23 players selected in the National Hockey League (NHL) Draft with 11 players selected in the first round. As of the 2022-23 season, the Oil Kings have graduated 15 players that have gone on to play in the NHL.

Media Contact:

Shannon Donogh

Food Banks Alberta Media Relations   |  780-616-1816

Andrew Peard

Edmonton Oil Kings, Broadcasting and | 780-262-0090