Paul Coffey was named as a member of Canada’s Hall of Fame Class of 2015 on Wednesday and had a chance to reflect on his time in Edmonton in a phone interview following the announcement.
“That’s where we all cut our teeth, so to speak,” Coffey said of Edmonton. “That’s where we all learned to do a lot of things on and off the ice. Your independence. We were all young, we were learning as we went. There are no instructions, no directions, there’s no book on how to act as an 18-year-old playing hockey in the NHL, you’ve got to figure it out by yourself.”
Coffey said the city of Edmonton and playing for the Oilers is a long list of memories he keeps close to him even now. It was the team that drafted him sixth overall in 1980, and gave him a chance to become a professional. The Hockey Hall of Famer and superstar defenceman returned to the city this past fall for the 1984 Stanley Cup reunion at Rexall Place.
“You know what the best part was? Nobody has changed,” said Coffey of the reunion. “Everybody is the same. We’re all older, but everybody is the same. Everybody has the stories and fortunately or unfortunately, everybody remembers them a little different. But the conversations were easy. The genuine concern about how everybody is doing was real. Everybody was interested in other guys’ families and how they’re doing, where they’re living and what they’re doing to keep busy. I enjoyed that the most. I don’t need to chat to a guy about what happened 30 years ago. That’s all fun for a short chuckle, but I think the interesting thing for me was to chat with everybody and see how they’re doing. Everybody is great and everybody was proud to come back to Edmonton.”
Coffey finished his career with over 1400 regular season NHL games under his belt, along with four Stanley Cup championships and 194 playoff games.