On this day in 2016, the Edmonton Oilers play their final game at Rexall Place
By Zach Laing7 months ago
It was six years ago today that the Edmonton Oilers played their final game at Rexall Place.
The Oilers closed out their 2015-16 season with the Vancouver Canucks coming to town ultimately securing a 6-2 win. The night featured three-point performances from Taylor Hall and Connor McDavid, each scoring a goal and two assists, and Leon Draisaitl was the last player to ever score a goal at Rexall. He fired home a powerplay goal with 1:57 left in the third period.
Here’s some of what the Edmonton Journal’s Dan Barnes wrote about the final night at the house that Gretzky built:
The Edmonton Oilers franchise grew up in a constant state of celebration, and the lessons learned through the heady 1980s have served them well for three decades.Say what you will about the organization’s many on -ice foibles, their mistakes at the draft, their coachingcarousel and management miscucs, the Oiler salute has always been a first-class affair, be it a banner raising or, as it was on Wednesday, the fondest of farewells to their old hockey home.And yes, the highlight packages provided by Wayne Gretzky and company offer them a leg up on most of their National Hockey League peers, right out of the gate. Those champagne-soaked moments in the old dressing room, victory parades and civic receptions all make for tear-jerking celluloid not readily available in Winnipeg, for instance. And who doesn’t love a long, nostalgic pull on the heartstrings?Their glory gang was ou t in full force again Wednesday Gretzky, Mark Messier, Paul Coffey, Grant Fuhr, Kevin Lowe, Jari Kurri and many more smiling through another proper fete. The current Oilers played their part as the warm-up act too, hammering Vancouver 6-2, and damn the draft lottery implications.But no matter the guest list, or stock footage at your disposal, you still have to take care of the details, and the Oilers made sure of i t again. How about name-plated orange jerseys for all alumni players; a champagne-and-orange juice mixer and dressing room tour for them on Wednesday morning; video of the late Paul Lorieau on the big screen at Rexall, handing the anthem over to the crowd in 2006, with thou sands more joining in one last time; the mass ceremonial faceoff with Cal Nichols, former ownership chair, doing the puck-dropping honours; retiring P.A. man Mark Lewis announcing that the fans were chosen first star, ahead of Patrick Maroon and Connor McDavid, who combined for five points. After the game, Messier and Gretzky were in the dressing room for a photo op with McDavid when Maroon was getting ready to go to the showers. He was told to pose for a picture with the legends, and he couldn’t wipe the smile off his face. It was that kind of night, old mixing with new, all one big happy Oiler family.
Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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