Wanye has an air of mystery. If you're on twitter, you may know him as the overly positive caps lock addict who cannot stop talking about the Oilers. Fans of his hockey blogging and social media antics have speculated his true identity for the past seven years. His real name is... drum roll... fog machine... spotlight... Clark Murray (as first revealed in this Avenue article by Omar Mouallem) and there is a lot more to him than means the eye.
For starters, he is the biggest Oilers fan ever. Or at least the most optimistic. When he was 14 years old he shovelled snow to pay for season tickets and went to every game with his grandmother. When they lost in game 7 in 2006, he cried for so many hours that his girlfriend at the time dumped him for being such a baby. Actually.
He started Oilers Nation in 2007 (with Adam Rozenhart and others) which has since grown into a big network of sites about other teams and NHL stats. They started it as a space to chat about the Oilers with the hope of making enough money to pay for beer and season tickets. Little did they know they'd be projecting over 60 million visitors to the Nation Network in 2015 (whoa!). To start, they reached out to all the hockey bloggers they could find in the city offering to pay them for their posts on Oilers Nation. Not one person replied. Clark followed up. Nothing. So with no blogging experience under his belt, he decided he'll write them himself—one post per day for a year. With no interest in self promotion, he decided to use the nom de plume Wanye Gretz—his favourite combination of hip hop and hockey—and hasn't stopped since. For the Wanye fans out there, you'll be happy to know that he talks the way he writes. His recent piece about how the Edmonton economy will affect the Oilers might just be a transcript from when we met.
Wanye has always been entrepreneurial and is one of Edmonton's biggest cheerleaders. Besides all the Oilers Nation stuff, he's a noodle mogul (part owner of Oodle Noodle), developing a revolutionary point of sale tool for small businesses called Dub5, and set to open a really unique cafe/events space/office/general store called Little Brick. He has partnered with Nate Box (of Elm Cafe, District Coffee Co, and Burrow) to open a cafe and general store in an old farmhouse in Riverdale. The Dub5 offices will be tucked away upstairs while coffee is served and events are hosted in the great room and garden of the historic property. It's going to be a really cool place and it's set to open in March. Can't wait!
Wanye's Favourite Places
Elm Cafe - 10140-117 Street
He claims it's the best coffee shop in the world. Lucky that he lives close by!
University of Alberta Main Campus
It's his favourite place to walk around, especially in Quad during Week of Welcome. We bonded over our shared love for nostalgic walks around campus. Only if the weather is nice.
Little Brick - 10004-90 Street
Shameless plug. I've seen it with my own eyes, and let me tell you, you'll be seeing/hearing a lot of great things about this cafe/store/venue/garden/river valley gem.
Edmonton's River Valley
He's a self-appointed river valley inspector. What this means? I can only assume a lot of walking around, discussing oilers news with small woodland creatures, putting litter in its place, and forgetting you're in the middle of a city for a while.
Rexall Place - 7424-118 Avenue
This is a favourite place without question, because the Oilers play there.
High Street - 125 Street & 102 Ave
Loves the design of the area. Cool shops that are a far cry from the standard power centre.
Wanye's Recommended Reads
read// The Snowball by Alice Schroeder
Wanye loves the first half of biographies, the part that talks about their beginnings. This one is about Warren Buffett.
read// 1984 by George Orwell
He likes a lot of George Orwell's books, but this sticks out in his memory because it was the first book he read that showed a disrespect for authority (piquing the interest of junior high aged Wanye).
Wanye's Words of Wisdom
His wise words are pretty simple: We become what we think about. If you think you're awesome, eventually you'll become that.
For his note, he drew a little Wanye that he signs letters with. He didn't travel a lot until his late 20s, which was fine because he loves Edmonton. But now that he is fortunate enough to travel a lot of the world, he can say without question that Edmonton is the best place in the world.