Edmonton Oilers: Remembering Glen Sather


This coming season, one final banner will be raised at Rexall Place to honor the man responsible for assembling one of the greatest dynasties in all of professional sports. As one of the most successful Hockey executives in the history of the game, Glen Sather served as the architect of assembling four Stanley Cup winning teams. During the pinnacle of the Edmonton Oilers Dynasty Sather served as a General Manager and Head Coach to the unrivaled Oilers team of the 1980’s.

When the Oilers were transitioned into the National Hockey League during the merger from the World Hockey Association, Glen Sather was promoted from a player/coach to the role of President and General Manager for the team’s inaugural season in the NHL. Immediately Sather worked at acquiring the rights to Wayne Gretzky and drafting future core pieces Paul Coffey, Jari Kurri, Andy Moog and Grant Fuhr. Such a tremendous amount of talent among the young prospects at the time required a steady and patient hand to develop these players. Sather drafted significant pieces to add to an already emerging core of Mark Messier and Glenn Anderson.

After a lack-luster start in the 1980-81 campaign, Sather stepped down from the catwalk boots and behind the bench and coached and groomed his young players. Once the team developed a clear identity and the true potential of the Edmonton Oilers squad emerged they immediately began their run in the 1981-82 season, improving on their win totals of the previous season by winning an additional 23 games. His keen attention to detail and knowledge of the evolution of the game led to a prolonged Oilers dynasty, winning five cups in the next seven seasons. Under the on ice performance of Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Jari Kurri, Paul Coffey and countless others Sather achieved considerable success in a short amount of time. The banners already hanging at Rexall Place represent the winning teams from the 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988 and 1990 respectively.

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Sather was also the own that signed off on sending star player Wayne Gretzky to the Los Angeles Kings on August 9, 1988. While under tremendous criticism rained down on Sather for such a decision, the Oilers would go on an bring home two more cups without Gretzky. However, the success of the Oilers teams led to lower draft picks and sub-par scouting, drafting and development models that eventually caused the Oilers to slip back into mediocrity.

Known for his bold decision making and signature cigar dangling out of his mouth, Sather will be remembered as one of the greatest Edmonton Oilers executives to grace the franchise. His legacy as the architect as the 1980’s Oilers dynasty will resonate with the passionate fans. Rightfully so his banner will hang next to the very players that helped champion the Stanley Cup to the city of Edmonton. On December 11, 2015 a ceremony As a fan that never saw the Edmonton Oilers dynasty play live (I wasn’t born yet) I can only reflect back to old footage and pay homage to the Oilers greats of yesteryear. However, I know that when the banner is raised to the rafters that old, familiar “Sather Smirk” will be seen one last time.

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