Five decades in the making, the long-awaited establishment of an Edmonton Oilers Hall of Fame was proudly announced by the hockey club this week.
Created to honour outstanding contributions or service to the Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club by past members of the organization, the Edmonton Oilers Hall of Fame is to include players, coaches, trainers, staff, executives or any other person whose role or service in the organization since its founding in 1972 is recognized as extraordinary.
The inaugural 2022 Class of the Oilers Hall of Fame, named in early September, will include Al Hamilton, Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, Grant Fuhr, Paul Coffey, Mark Messier, Glenn Anderson, Kevin Lowe, Glen Sather and Rod Phillips, all of whom have been inducted automatically by virtue of their respective Oilers banner honour.
In addition to this year's ten banner inductees, the 2022 Class will include two inductees as voted by the Oilers Hall of Fame Selection Committee. Those additional two inductees will be announced in advance of the start of Oilers Training Camp.
Oilers executive vice-president of communications Tim Shipton said the Oilers Entertainment Group (OEG) has been talking about a hall of fame since before the pandemic, but with the excitement in the market after the last season's playoff run, the group felt now was the time.
"This is for the people who have contributed, but also for the fans. It's a great way for them to celebrate the greats who wore the jersey or contributed off the ice," said Shipton, adding the spotlight on those from past eras allows the younger generation to learn about the greats. "And there are a lot of people who never put the skates on but made significant contributions. That's where we get excited about being able to recognize what they've done."
The Oilers Hall of Fame Selection Committee is made up of 11 individuals appointed based on their significant and varied experience in the game of hockey and the community. Each has been appointed for an initial three-year term and can serve for a maximum of 15 years.
Committee members may each bring forward one name annually as their official nomination for consideration. A maximum of three nominees will be elected to the Oilers Hall of Fame annually, each requiring an affirmative vote of at least 75 per cent.
The Oilers Hall of Fame Selection Committee includes: former Oilers Wayne Gretzky, Ron Low, Louie DeBrusk, Chris Joseph, as well as former player and executive Bruce MacGregor, in addition to media members Jim Matheson (Elmer Ferguson Award winner 2000), Terry Jones (Elmer Ferguson Award winner 2011), Bob Stauffer and Jason Gregor, as well as community members Chief Wilton Littlechild (International Chief and former U of A Golden Bear) and two-time Team Canada Olympic gold medalist Shannon Szabados.
Members of the Edmonton Oilers Hall of Fame will see their names permanently displayed on the ring above the PCL Loge Level at Rogers Place. The inaugural induction ceremony is scheduled to take place pre-game on Thursday, Nov. 3 when the Oilers host the New Jersey Devils.
In future seasons, the Oilers Hall of Fame induction ceremony will coincide with a homecoming initiative featuring past members of the organization returning to Edmonton to celebrate the team's rich history while taking part in fan events and charitable endeavours.
Beginning with the Class of 2023, Oilers fans will be provided the opportunity to nominate individuals for subsequent consideration by members of the Selection Committee. Full details on the fan nomination process will be announced at a later date.
Former Oilers players are eligible for nomination into the Oilers Hall of Fame after they have been retired from playing for five years. Non-players are eligible for nomination at any time. In future, Oilers banners raised in Rogers Place will generally be reserved to recognize Oilers alumni who have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.