Oilers to host celebration for 1984 Stanley Cup team

Tuesday, 08.19.2014 / 5:43 PM
Derek Van Diest  - NHL.com Correspondent

EDMONTON -- Wayne Gretzky is getting the Boys on the Bus back together again.

The Edmonton Oilers will commemorate the 30th anniversary of their first Stanley Cup with an event bringing together the members of the 1984 team and staff for a reunion at Rexall Place on Oct. 10. The reunion will coincide with the Oilers' 2014-15 season opener against the Calgary Flames on Oct. 9.

"One of the great things about being a professional hockey player is the fond memories that you have over the years and the friendships that you develop," Gretzky said Tuesday. "Kevin [Lowe] and I lived for a lot of years together in Edmonton and when I saw him this winter, I started thinking about something really unique and something really special. The Oilers and the city of Edmonton have always been leaders in doing things that are innovative. The first outdoor game was in Edmonton where it was 40-below [Celsius] and it was spectacular.

"So we started talking about doing something special and bringing this team that won their first Stanley Cup in Edmonton back to Alberta to reminisce and selfishly have some fun together. A lot of players made a lot of great friends in Edmonton over the years and they maybe haven't seen people for a long time, and just as important, to be able to raise money for a great cause."

Proceeds from the reunion will go to the Stollery Children's Hospital in Edmonton, through the Oilers Community Foundation. Tickets for the event go on sale Aug. 22 at $99 per seat.

"It's a really special group, we beat a really great hockey club, a dynasty team that taught us how to win from the previous year," Gretzky said. "I think the biggest goal in all of Oilers' history was the one Kevin McClelland scored [in Game 1]. He got one all year and he got one in Game 1, which was big [1-0 win].

"I think we lost Game 2, 6-1 and the previous year, I think that team might have not responded in Game 3 the way we did. I think the experience and what we learned the previous season definitely made us a team that was ready to win a Stanley Cup and a championship. Without question in Game 3 the goal that Mark [Messier] scored, might be one of the greatest goals in hockey history."

The Oilers defeated the Islanders in five games to win the Cup in 1984, clinching the championship with a 5-2 victory in Game 5, and successfully defended it the following year. A documentary, entitled "Boys on the Bus," premiered in 1987 featuring the team.

"To finally win the Stanley Cup, we really didn't know what to expect," Gretzky said. "We were kids living that dream of wanting to win the Stanley Cup like Jean Beliveau and Gordie Howe, Dave Keon and here we were getting a chance to win the Stanley Cup. It was so unique.

"I remember I was the last person in the locker room with my father and we were sitting with the Stanley Cup and I said to Glen [Sather] and asked him what to do with the Stanley Cup? We didn't know what to do with it. I remember he stopped and looked back at me and said, 'You guys won it, take it,' and we took it all around town and that's where that tradition also started."

Gretzky won the Stanley Cup four times with the Oilers before being traded to the Los Angeles Kings following the 1987-88 season. He led the Kings to the 1993 Stanley Cup Final, losing to the Montreal Canadiens.

Gretzky retired in 1999 as the highest-scoring player in NHL history.

"I have to be really honest, I'm really excited about this day," Gretzky said. "I feel like I did the first time I came to Edmonton when I got traded there in 1978 that I'm coming in there knowing something special is going to happen.

"I'm really looking forward to going there and seeing a lot of old friends and seeing a lot of familiar faces and sitting down with the players, trainers and stick boys, that's what it's all about. In life it's friendships and memories and this is going to be a tremendous two or three days. I hope everyone in Edmonton gets an opportunity to see the guys and be around the guys that are coming to the event, because like the Heritage [Classic] game, it's going to be a once in-a-lifetime event."

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