Ryan Smyth and Lee Fogolin Called to Edmonton Oilers Hall of Fame
Photo credit:Edmonton Oilers
By Jason Gregor6 months ago
Earlier this summer the Edmonton Oilers announced they would establish an Edmonton Oilers Hall of Fame. It would include people, not just players, who have played a large role in the history of the Edmonton Oilers. Prior to this announcement, the only people honoured by the organization were those who had their jerseys retired and the organization has a policy that only players who are in the Hockey Hall of Fame will have their jerseys retired. By establishing an Oilers Hall of Fame, it allows the organization to honour those who played a major role in the history and fabric of the organization and Edmonton.
The inaugural 2022 Class of the Oilers Hall of Fame will those who have a banner hanging at Rogers Place: Al Hamilton, Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, Grant Fuhr, Paul Coffey, Mark Messier, Glenn Anderson, Kevin Lowe, Glen Sather and Rod Phillips. They been inducted automatically by virtue of their respective Oilers banner honour, but they will not have a ceremony to commemorate their induction to the Oilers Hall of Fame, because they already had that when their jersey was retired. Some of them will be in attendance on November 3rd to watch and support the induction of Lee Fogolin and Ryan Smyth.
Fogolin was acquired by the Oilers from the Buffalo Sabres in the 1979 NHL Expansion Draft. He played 586 regular season games with Edmonton recording 36 goals and 124 assists along with an impressive +153. He was the Oilers’ Captain for a few seasons and won Stanley Cups in 1984 and 1985. He was also the face of Mr. Plywood commercials for a few seasons. He was an actual handyman in real life, so the spots made sense. The promotions worked and eventually, Dave Semenko joined him for some spots and even Randy Gregg.
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Fogolin was highly respected by the young stars on the Oilers. He was like an older brother/father figure to them.
“He was the foundation for all of us,” Kevin Lowe said in a text. “He was a driven, blue collar, hardworking leader on the ice, and off the ice he was respectful, honest and a great family man we could all look up to,” Lowe added.
The Oilers Hall of Fame won’t just be for players who put up points. They want it to be for people who made an impact in various ways, and Fogolin did that. The players and people in the organization in the 1980s believe his attitude and leadership was vital for them having success.
Ryan Smyth was the heartbeat of the Edmonton Oilers for 14 seasons. Edmonton selected him 6th overall in the 1994 NHL entry draft and played 48 games for the Oilers in 1995/1996 after a brief nine-game stint in the AHL. In 1997 he exploded with 39 goals and became a fan favourite for most Oilers fans due to his dogged work ethic and relentless effort. He played 971 games for the Oilers, second only to Lowe. He is 5th all-time in goals with 296, and 6th in points with 631.
He also had great success representing Canada at various tournaments. He won gold at the 2002 Winter Olympics (2002), the 2004 World Cup, the 2003 and 2004 World Championships, the 2012 Spengler Cup and the 1995 World Juniors. He was captain for Canada on six occasions at the IIHF World Championships and earned the moniker, Captain Canada.
Smyth not only shined for the Oilers he lived in the community. He and his wife Stacey worked with numerous charities in Edmonton and gave lots of time and money to various causes.
Fogolin and Smyth will be inducted on Thursday, November 3rd when the Oilers host the New Jersey Devils.
HALL OF FAME DECISIONS…
I’ve had a few people reach out and ask how the inductees are chosen.
There is a panel of 11 members who vote. The selection committee includes former Oilers Wayne Gretzky, Ron Low, Louie DeBrusk and Chris Joseph, former player and executive Bruce MacGregor, media members Jim Matheson, Terry Jones, Bob Stauffer and me along with community members Chief Wilton Littlechild (International Chief and former U of A Golden Bear) and two-time Team Canada Olympic gold medalist Shannon Szabados.
How the process works is straightforward. In August the committee will meet and each member presents a person they deem worthy of induction to the Oilers Hall of Fame. You present reasons why they deserve the honour. Once all 11 people have presented there is a ballot sent out. In order to gain entry a person has to receive nine votes.
This year only two members were allowed in, but in future years a maximum of three can be inducted.
This year a total of seven names were put forth. Some members nominated the same person. The committee does not talk to each other prior to the meeting, so if two of us present the same person, then that person is guaranteed two votes.
The ballots are secret and not discussed among the members, so I only know who I vote for, and I can’t discuss my ballot. I can say that I did nominate Smyth.
I’m honoured to be on the committee, and really enjoyed the process. The presentations are great, and really make you think about someone you might not have considered. I think an Oilers Hall of Fame is long overdue and there are many people like Smyth and Fogolin who did great things for the organization and deserve to be honoured. It will be fun seeing who else gets voted in the future.
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