First and foremost, it's a love story. It always was with Ryan Smyth.

"I didn't ever want to leave in the first place," said the repatriated Edmonton Oiler.

"I feel like Edmonton is home."

Finally it became official Sunday. Captain Canada is coming home.

"We wanted to come back to Canada. Our kids are starting out in school. Two of our three kids were born in Edmonton."

That's it. No seriously ill parents or grandparents. The end of the big homesick.

It was Smyth, saying Los Angeles and his previous stops in Long Island and Denver "were different lifestyles for my wife and family to live in".

On the media conference call, he first of all thanked the Los Angeles Kings "for accepting my wish to come back and be an Oiler where I first started my career. I'm thrilled and overwhelmed being an Oiler again.

"Everything I went through for the last six weeks was tough and emotional for my wife and I and I'm extremely thrilled to come back to Edmonton," he said of son Alexander who turned three Sunday and daughters Isabella, 8, and Elizabeth, 6.

Because he was in the interior of B.C., it was clear Smyth had no clue of the overwhelming extent of the out-pouring of love in his direction from fans in Edmonton, fans who were clearly outraged at the idea of him wearing No. 94 for the Calgary Flames as it looked like for a few hours Friday.

"I guess I won't know until I get to the city. It's really been pretty exhausting and tiring with everything that went on. It was a pretty emotional ride."

Both ways.

A town which had the heart and soul of its team torn away when Ryan Smyth was sent away over a dispute over $100,000 with then GM Kevin Lowe on the day of Mark Messier's banner raising, showed the love and maybe even forced Steve Tambellini to do a deal he didn't necessarily want to do.

Smyth, in the end, thanked Calgary.