At Friday's open practice at MTS Centre, Mark Messier talked about wanting to entertain the Winnipeg faithful who paid $5 to come see the Jets and Oilers legends tune up in advance of Saturday's alumni contest.
"The Oilers always wanted to put on a show for the fans. Wherever we travelled, we had practices that were short -- 30 or 40 minutes -- but we always did it at a high tempo. Anybody who was able to watch our practices, it was a beautiful concert so to speak. (Today) we wanted to put on at least a little bit of a show for the fans. They made the effort to come here so we wanted to do what we could," Messier remarked.
Messier will be playing in his second alumni game as a member of the Oilers, though the circumstances were different back in 2003 as he was still an active player in the NHL for the New York Rangers at the time.
"It was a real novel idea at the time. I don't think anybody expected what was going to come of it. Couldn't have picked a better city to try it in than Edmonton, knowing they'd get the support and the relationship the team had with the city. And of course, when you bring in all the Canadiens players on top of it. It seems like an obvious idea looking back now but at the time there was some risk to it."