Long before the Oilers made Northlands Coliseum their home, and even prior to their NHL merge in 1979, they called Edmonton Gardens their home and were playing in the World Hockey Association.
It was there that Oilers alumnus Wayne Zuk remembers a specific moment between he and teammate Val Fonteyne.
“[Val] was 38 years old and I was 23 years old and we’re playing on the same team and I’ll never forget, Brian Shaw was our coach at the time, and prior to the warmup he says ‘Val, you’re going to shadow Bobby Hull tonight, and Wayne, you’re going to shadow Bobby Hull tonight,’” he said.
“We couldn’t figure out why it would take two of us to shadow Hull. And the answer to that question was, well, that’s because we could only stay on the ice for about a minute maximum and Hull stayed on three, four minutes as a shift. We figured out later we needed two guys to shadow him.”
It’s one of many memories Zuk says he’ll never forget and is grateful for the opportunity to be present for Oil Country’s final farewell to Rexall Place.
“The Oilers have gone above and beyond, I think, in hosting this event,” he said. “Even reaching back to guys who are older, who’ve never played in the NHL and were WHA guys — the fact that they would invite us and have us be a part of this event, speaks to how classy they are.”