By Kelli Gustafson – RogersPlace.com
An unassuming box of pucks once shared a space with a lawnmower and garden shovel. Now, the contents of that box act as a primary display inside the newly unveiled Oilers Hall of Fame room at Rogers Place.
When Oilers Head Equipment Manager, Barrie Stafford, first caught wind that Glen “Slats” Sather had saved many of the record-setting pucks from his time spent as Head Coach and General Manager of the Oilers in the 1980’s, he quickly jumped in his car and drove the four hours to Banff to retrieve the box that had been safely tucked away inside Sather’s garage.
From Wayne Gretzky’s 1049th NHL assist scored on February 17, 1988, tying Gordie Howe for the all-time assist record, to his 573rd NHL goal scored on December 30, 1987 against Philadelphia, each puck displayed on the wall acts as a timeless memento of a single, celebrated and historic moment in Oilers history.
Aptly named “Slats’ Historical Pucks,” the display case not only allows fans to view the original pucks — many taped and labelled on the bench at the time of the goal by Stafford himself — but fans can re-experience the exact moment the puck hit the net, setting off the historic red light, by pressing the corresponding button on the screen to see the original footage.
Waiting for the right opportunity, Sather told Stafford he always knew the pucks would eventually return to the team. With the move to Rogers Place, that opportunity has finally come.
“They belong to the Oilers — They belong in Edmonton,” said Sather.
On Wednesday, October 12, Oilers Entertainment Group (OEG) officially unveiled the Oilers Hockey Hall of Fame room inside Rogers Place. A room, which until the day of the Oilers Home Opener, had remained a secret kept only by those involved in its conception.
Working in close partnership with the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, the past year has been spent carefully designing the room and finding, curating and displaying memorabilia throughout this unique space.
“When we first saw the renderings of this room, we thought it was going to be good. We had no idea it was going to be this great.”
The first of its kind — somewhat of an extension of the Hockey Hall of Fame at Brookfield Place in Toronto — the room acts as an exhibit to showcase the history of the Oilers and its players who stamped their mark on the team and the City of Edmonton.
Before the unveiling, pedestrians walking underneath Ford Hall along 104 Avenue were met only by large white tarps covering the windows and siding along the exterior of the Southwest side of Rogers Place.
Unbeknownst to those who passed by, behind the canvas stood cherished memories that celebrated the Oilers dynasty and their continuing legacy in Edmonton.
Joined by Wayne Gretzky, Oilers alumni and Hockey Hall of Fame legends Jari Kurri, Grant Fuhr, Paul Coffey, Mark Messier and Glenn Anderson, stood together as they pulled back the white coverings to officially unveil the Oilers Hall of Fame room.
Taking a moment before posing for a photo in front of the large glass windows looking into the room, the men admired the five full-sized Stanly Cup replicas that stood proudly facing out onto 104 Avenue.
Even Lanny McDonald — a former Flames forward who battled against some of the Oilers greats in the Battle of Alberta of days gone by — admitted to getting goosebumps while watching the six Hall of Famers unwrap the windows.
“To see the unveiling of the Great Hall — we’ll call it Hall of Fame West — I had goosebumps,” said the now-Chairman of the Hockey Hall of Fame.
“This is a fabulous day for hockey and a wonderful day for Oilers.”
McDonald explained that besides a few smaller past displays in Montreal and Toronto, Edmonton is the first to …Read full story on EdmontonOilers.com