It’s supposed to be a photo-op for the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation Winner’s Choice Lottery, but Wednesday’s grip and grin will be much more than that when Kevin Lowe hands Taylor Hall his No. 4 jersey.
As symbolic gestures go — I wrote about it here back on March 14 and now Dave Mitchell of CTV is saying it’s a done deal — the timing of Lowe’s decision to pass his old number on to Hall couldn’t be better.
With the Oilers looking to put four straight seasons out of the playoffs (and 20 mostly forgettable years since the 1990 Stanley Cup) behind them and Hall the centre piece of a rebuild the team hopes will result in a return to the glory of days gone by, Lowe’s linen will become a beacon for the future rather than serving as a relic of the past.
As it should be.
LOOK TO THE FUTURE
Lowe’s No. 4 has been in mothballs for years. He’s the only Oiler ever to wear the digit. Former equipment man Sparky Kulchisky had it safely tucked away — not retired like numbers 99, 11, 17, 7, 31, 9 and 3, but not available to players who’ve been here since Lowe last wore it.
That’ll change with Hall, who wore No. 4 with the Windsor Spitfires and will be on hand with Lowe tomorrow morning to accept the linen from the Oilers former captain and president of hockey operations.
Like I said in March, "As symbolism goes, having the first player ever drafted by the Oilers pass on his number to a kid who has a chance to be this franchise’s next great player could signify a real change in philosophy.
"By letting go of a dusty convention, Lowe could show fans this is an organization willing to resist clinging to a reverence for the now-distant Boys on the Bus era and embrace the promise of the future. That’s long overdue."
The time has come.
The time is here.
— Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.