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One Hall of a Story, Part 3

Cam Tait wraps up his three-part series on the Oilers Hall of Fame, which has been featured on over the past several weeks

by Cam Tait @camtait /

I never thought the Hockey Hall of Fame (HHOF) in Toronto would give me anxiety, but it sure did.

In 1991, I took my dad - a goaltender when he was a boy growing up in Saskatchewan - to the HHOF.

We arrived at 1:00 p.m., so I thought we would have lots of time to catch our 5:30 p.m. flight back to Edmonton.

Then, at 4:15 p.m. I panicked.

"I'm going for one more look," Dad said as he walked away from me in the Hall's lobby - with our ride waiting.

"You've already been through it eight times," I said. "We're not going to make our flight."

Dad kept walking. "I'll be fast," he said. And, true to his word, he was: we even made pre-boarding.

I share this story now with the opening of the Oilers Hall of Fame in Rogers Place. The displays might be different than the ones my father and I saw 25 years ago. But the magic and nostalgia never gets old.

One of Dad's defencemen in minor hockey was Keith Allen, who played for the Detroit Red Wings in the 1950s.

In the 1970s, Mr. Allen won two Stanley Cups as General Manager of the Philadelphia Flyers.

Dad passed away in 2007. But one of my most vivid memories I have of him is looking at the Stanley Cup in the HHOF and, very carefully, finding Mr. Allen's name. Dad stood there for a good 10 minutes - and the look of pride he had, knowing his childhood buddy was a Stanley Cup Champion, was absolutely priceless.

Those same types of moments and memories are going to be created, over and over again, in the Oilers Hall of Fame room.

The room has countless displays from the 1980s when the Oilers were on top of the NHL. 

And for those of us old enough to remember, it's a most wonderful walk down memory lane. 

Because if you're an Oilers fan from that era, you'll know exactly where you were and who you were with when the team hoisted each Stanley Cup.

Some of us can share those memories with our children and grandchildren.

I can't wait to take my grandson, Nic, to the Hall of Fame room to show him the jerseys, the pucks, the helmets and sticks of the Oilers greats.

More importantly, perhaps, are the stories about the men that played. And what great people they are.

Manager of Alumni and Community Arena Retail Barrie Stafford, Rogers Place Chief Development Officer Bob Black and Oilers Manager of Game-Used Inventory Dwain Tomkow have done a fantastic job in creating the right feel, the right look and the right atmosphere of the room.

It's something the city can be proud of.

When Rogers Place announces its tour program in the new year, including a stop at the Oilers Hall of Fame, Nic and I will be going. And we're going to stay as late as we can.

Because we won't be in a rush to catch a flight home.

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