The Edmonton Oilers will honour the inaugural class of their team’s Hall of Fame inductees in a special ceremony on Nov. 3 before hosting the New Jersey Devils.
The Edmonton Oilers Hall of Fame was announced last month. The ceremony will start at 6 p.m. before the pre-game warmup, and a limited number of tickets for the induction ceremony game are on sale now.
Al Hamilton, Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, Grant Fuhr, Paul Coffey, Mark Messier, Glenn Anderson, Kevin Lowe and Glen Sather will be added automatically, as their numbers have already been recognized in a banner-raising ceremony.
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This year’s new additions are Lee Fogolin and Ryan Smyth.
“I’m really honored and humbled by it,” said Fogolin.
“I look at special players that I got to play with, on and off the ice, these guys who are so enthusiastic and want to win.”
A former captain and a member of the first NHL club in 1979, Fogolin helped the Oilers win their first Stanley Cup in 1984.
“We all look back and we remember the great times but there was a lot of hard work,” said Fogolin.
He credits fellow Hall-of-Famer and former coach Glen Sather for developing the team.
“He saw these young guys and he didn’t just say, ‘I’m going to get some older guys and plug the holes here.’ He had a game plan, how he’s going to develop these kids into great hockey players, all stars, Hall-of-Famers.”
Oilers president and chief revenue officer Stew MacDonald said Fogolin was key in that plan.
Smyth, an inductee from a more recent generation of the team, said growing up in Alberta helped solidify his love for the team.
“This is just a great feeling, to be a part of numerous generations,” said Smyth.
“The history of the Oilers is amazing, even to this day with Leon Draisaitl and (Connor) McDavid and (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins) is still going,” said Smyth.
“Ryan Smyth, maybe more recent for a lot of our younger fans, but again certainly a heart-and-soul member of the organization. A captain and another player, much like Lee, who left everything on the ice,” said MacDonald.
MacDonald said he couldn’t think of two more deserving members to make up the first class.
“Both of those individuals resonate heavily in Oil Country for the style of their play, which was to give it all for their team and their teammates and the fans.”
Fogolin and Smyth, as well as other inductees and Oilers alumni will be there Thursday to see their names permanently enshrined in the ring above the PCL Loge Level at Rogers Place.
“Joining them on the ice will be Al Hamilton, Jari Kurri has flown over from Europe, Paul Coffey will be here, as well as Kevin Lowe,” said MacDonald.
Kurri said he’s happy his former teammate Fogolin will be recognized.
“There’s not enough talk about the type of players who don’t get enough recognition, how important they are for the team, and especially the way that Lee played, the amount of blocking the shots and with the team always ahead, everything else,” said Kurri.
The inaugural class was selected by a committee consisting of former players Wayne Gretzky, Ron Low, Louie DeBrusk, Chris Joseph and Bruce MacGregor, media members Jim Matheson, Terry Jones, Bob Stauffer and Jason Gregor, and community members Chief Wilton Littlechild and Shannon Szabados.
Each year the committee will be able to choose three new members for the Hall of Fame. MacDonald said to expect the annual Hall of Fame ceremonies to be memorable.
“As we move into future years there’ll be much more theming around that window with the alumni activities in town and a bit of a homecoming to bring even more alumni back for the celebrations,” he said.
Fans can listen to the game Thursday live on 630CHED — the Faceoff Show with Reid Wilkins starts at 5:30 p.m. and puck drop is at 7 p.m.