Edmonton Oilers: Top 10 moments from 2015

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Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Number Four: Glen Sather Night

On December 11th, the Edmonton Oilers honoured the man responsible for assembling the great talent that lead the Edmonton Oilers to winning 5 Stanley Cups in 7 years, Glen Sather.

Glen Sather joined the Edmonton Oilers in 1976 and by the time the Edmonton Oilers joined the National Hockey League, Sather was both the Head Coach and the General Manager of the team. With Barry Fraser as head scout, Sather was able to draft players such as Paul Coffey, Mark Messier, Glenn Anderson, Grant Fuhr, Charlie Huddy, Kevin Lowe, Jari Kurri, Andy Moog and Steve Smith between 1979 and 1981.

Of course, leading the charge, was a kid named Wayne Gretzky.

In Peter Gzowski’s book, The Game of Our Lives (which is a must read for any Oilers fan), details the balance that Sather had to bring to a team filled with teenagers. Sather was a fiery competitive person, making anything into a competition, even when conversing with others. Sather always wanted an edge over someone. It was his nature.

Sather fuelled the Edmonton Oilers sense of cockiness. With the media, according in Mark Spector’s book Battle of Alberta (another solid read for Oilers fans), Sather would be combative and would respect media members that could go toe to toe with him.

It was not all roses and sunshine with Sather: Paul Coffey would be the first to leave as Sather would often be very critical towards Coffey. The relationship did not exactly get any better when Coffey would hold out for nearly two months, leading to his trade to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1987.

Sather would be put in a tough situation regarding the Gretzky trade and would soon lose the other members of the core, such as Fuhr, Anderson and Messier. Frustrated by the small market, never being able to afford players, Sather would head the New York Rangers as General Manager and President of Hockey Operations in 2000. After using the financial muscle of New York, his high pay roll transactions did not pay off, as players like Theo Fleury and Eric Lindros. However, under Sather, the Rangers drafted players such as Henrik Lundqvist, Marc Staal, Derek Stepan, Ryan Callahan and Chris Krieder. The Rangers would make one Stanley Cup appearance with Sather at the helm, losing in 2014 against the Los Angeles Kings.

Still, on December 11th, it was a great sight. You had almost all of the former big name Oilers attending (Save for Gretzky, who had family matters to attend to). You had Sather descending through the crowds of Rexall place, shaking hands and waving at fans. There was also a touching moment where he hugged Joey Moss, the long time locker room attendant of the Edmonton Oilers.

It was fitting for Glen Sather to have his banner raised in the final season at Rexall Place. His former team would defeat his current team in a throw back, fire wagon 80s hockey, with a final score of 7-5. It was a back and forth game, where Henrik Lundqvist was pulled for the first time this season.

I’ve included both Sather’s entrance and speech. It’s definitely a good look towards a man who built the Edmonton Oilers into a dynasty.