EDMONTON — The Edmonton Oilers honored the inaugural class of their new Hall of Fame team before hosting the New Jersey Devils at Rogers Place on Thursday.
Former defender Lee Fogolin and striker Ryan Smyth were inducted along with players Al Hamilton, Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, Paul Coffey, Mark Messier, Glenn Anderson, Kevin Lowe, former general manager Glen Sather and broadcaster Rod Phillips, who are also members of the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Fogolin, 67, played 924 NHL games with the Buffalo Sabers and Oilers. He played 586 regular season games with the Oilers over eight seasons from 1979-80 to 1986-87, winning two Stanley Cups. Fogolin was Oilers captain before passing it on to Gretzky in 1983.
“I was just holding the ‘C’ so Wayne didn’t have all this pressure on him all the time,” Fogolin said. “He was such a great player, and I often tell people what you saw on the ice was the best, but what you didn’t see off the ice was amazing.”
Fogolin acknowledged Gretzky in his acceptance speech on Thursday.
“Last year Wayne was playing in New York, there’s a knock on my front door [in Edmonton], and guess who’s standing there, Wayne,” Fogolin said. “He has hockey sticks for my sons Michael and Rory. I thought to myself: ‘Who would think of that, too bad to do it’, he’s just an incredible individual.”
Smyth, 46, was selected by the Oilers No. 6 in the 1994 NHL Draft. He played 10 seasons in Edmonton before being traded to the New York Islanders in 2007.
Smith returned to play his final three seasons with the Oilers and retired after the 2013-14 season. He played 1,270 regular season NHL games with the Oilers, Islanders, Colorado Avalanche and Los Angeles Kings.
Smyth made it to the Stanley Cup Finals with the Oilers in 2006, losing in Game 7 to the Carolina Hurricanes.
“Some of the best moments of my career have been centered around hard-working teams,” Smyth said. “And one team that comes to mind is, obviously, the ’06 team. I believe that if ‘Roli’ [goalie Dwayne Roloson] was healthy, we would have won in 2006.”
Roloson was injured in the Finals game against the Hurricanes and missed the rest of the series.