Earlier this year, the Edmonton Oilers formally announced the creation of their own Hall of Fame, something that had been in the works for awhile. The hall was created to honour those who impacted the franchise with those inducted not limited to just players or coaches.
Every year, a maximum of three names will be inducted and this year saw Ryan Smyth and Lee Fogolin get the call. On November 3 at Rogers Place, before the Oilers take on the New Jersey Devils, there will be a formal induction ceremony. The inaugural class will also include those who already have their jerseys or banners up in the rafters.
Going forward, plenty of names from all eras of Oilers history should be up for induction. For right now, let’s take a look at a few names that should be among the three for 2023’s class.
A name that many thought would be part of the inaugural class, it would be hard to imagine not seeing the late Joey Moss in 2023’s Hall of Fame class. For over 30 years, Moss served as a locker room attendant for the both the Edmonton Oilers and Edmonton’s CFL franchise. When it came to faces outside of the Oilers roster, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more recognizable one than Moss.
It was hard to miss Moss’ presence with his work with both clubs and he received numerous accolades throughout his lifetime. In 2003, he was awarded the NHL Alumni Association’s Seventh Man Award for his behind-the-scenes work, and in 2015, he was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall Of Fame. The accolades would also span beyond hockey, as earlier this year, a brand new school in the Keswick neighbourhood of Edmonton was named Joey Moss School.
If you can think of a role in the Oilers organization, Craig MacTavish probably served in that role for a period of time–solid centreman, captain, head coach, GM, and Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations. MacTavish’s impact on the Oilers spans over 30 years after he was given a second chance at an NHL career by Glen Sather. MacTavish would play eight seasons in an Oilers jersey, recording four 20-goal seasons and was a part of three Stanley Cup-winning teams.
His second act in Edmonton as bench boss for eight seasons would see him take the Oilers to the playoffs four times, including the Cinderella run to game seven of the 2006 Stanley Cup Final. While the Oilers only got out of the first round during his tenure, they only had one season of under 85 points, staying competitive for much of his time behind the bench.
MacTavish’s time would also see him be named GM along with other front office roles and media roles covering the Oilers for Sportsnet.
The 2000s and 2010s were not the kindest eras to the Edmonton Oilers, but Ales Hemsky was one of the reasons you turned on a television to watch this club.
Hemsky had 11 seasons in an Oilers uniform and would go on to record 477 points in 652 games; he also led the team three times in scoring, with his career high coming in 2005–06. The 2006 playoffs would also be one of the biggest stages for his career as he’d put up 17 points during the Oilers run, but his biggest moment happened in game six of their Western Quarterfinal series against the Detroit Red Wings. Hemsky’s two goals, including the series winner with just over a minute left to give the Oilers a 4–3 lead, stands as one of the biggest goals of a generation to help finish off an all-time playoff upset.
While he didn’t win a Stanley Cup or any individual hardware in an Oilers uniform, Hemsky was Edmonton’s best offensive weapon by far from an era that saw the Oilers punching back against the giants of the NHL.
Coming out of the dynasty days of the ‘80s and early ‘90s, the Oilers were the furthest thing from a powerhouse in the Western Conference as a small-budget team battling against the league superpowers. What the Oilers did possess though, was a power forward hailing from Warren, Michigan, who gave them a fighting chance at some level of success.
While the Oilers looked to return to the postseason and soon gained a reputation during the late ‘90s as giant killers, Weight put up the points as their most important forward.
Weight had three seasons of 80 or more points in an Oilers jersey, with a career best of 104 points in 1995–96, the first 100 point season by an Oiler since Mark Messier’s 129 point year in 1989–90. Regarding the team’s all-time stats, Weight’s 420 assists still ranks seventh all-time, and his 577 points currently stands ninth all-time.
Sometimes the Oilers of the late 1990s don’t get enough credit for on–ice impact in getting the team back to a level of relevancy, but there are a few names in that group, along with Ryan Smyth, that deserve the Oilers Hall of Fame honour and Doug Weight is one of them.
Edmonton Investors Group
Without the EIG, I wouldn’t be here writing this feature, plain and simple. In the darkest times in the franchise’s history, the Edmonton Investors Group stepped up to purchase the Oilers from Peter Pocklington in 1998, avoiding the future of being based in Houston, Texas. The group of 38 investors led by local businessman Cal Nichols purchased the club for $106 million (CAD).
Although the NHL was usually not in favour of large ownership groups purchasing a franchise, it was approved to avoid putting the league’s Canadian television deal in jeopardy if another Canadian team were to move to the USA; at the time, the league was less than five years removed from the original Winnipeg Jets and Quebec Nordiques moving south.
As a collective, the group should be inducted for their role in ensuring the NHL remained in Edmonton.