The Oilers made a few big announcements Wednesday morning in southwest Edmonton, the first involving a big lottery prize and the others involving big names and numbers in the organization.
Located at a stunning 5,000-square-foot showhome, the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation's premiere fundraising initiative -- the Winner's Choice Lottery
-- kicked off the announcements. The showhome is the Lottery's magnificent grand prize and, with an virtual sports simulator in the lower level, will make a fabulous home for a lucky Oilers fan.
Among the first to test out the interactive hockey set-up were Oilers first-round picks Taylor Hall
, Jordan Eberle
and Magnus Paajarvi
. The high-profile rookies were invited to check out the home's amenities and also be presented with their long-awaited jersey numbers. Hall was presented with number four, Eberle number 14, and Paajarvi number 91.
- To get your Oilers rookie jerseys, visit The Oilers Store at Kingsway Mall in Edmonton, or call 866-442-6966 to place your order.
For Hall, the announcement was groundbreaking: for the first time in team history, someone other than Kevin Lowe will wear number four.
"I think it's pretty prestigious and [the Oilers] thought it would be a pretty good idea for me to wear it and kind of start a new era," Hall said in his new jersey. "If they do retire his number, I'll give it up right away, but he thought it would be a really good idea to get some excitement for the season and to make me feel comfortable. I'm not a huge number guy, but for me to wear four, like I said before, it is pretty comforting."
Hall wore four throughout his minor and junior hockey careers, and Lowe said the decision to let him keep it was easy.
|A very excited Oilers fan is all smiles after purchasing the first Taylor Hall #4 jersey from the Oilers Store at Kingsway Mall. Visit the mall or call 866-442-6966 to place your order. |
"I saw him and I said, 'He looks good in number four. He's deserving number four.' So it's really as simple as that," Lowe explained. "We have an organizational policy that your number goes up if you're in the Hall of Fame. To this point, I haven't seen mine up there or in the Hall of Fame, so really it just boils down to I really felt that he looks good in the number."
The symbolism is hard to ignore -- Edmonton's first-ever draft pick, Kevin Lowe, presented the club's first-ever first overall pick, Taylor Hall
, with number four. But Lowe insists "it's not a statement."
"People can read whatever they want into it and make it as exciting or not exciting, however they choose. I don't look at it in that respect, personally," he said.
"Who am I to determine who should wear what number? I am President of Hockey Operations, but at the end of the day, it's all about what's right for the organization . . . I think Taylor Hall
looks right at number four, so that's the real reason."
Although their jersey numbers were not a surprise, Eberle and Paajarvi both said they were excited to be a part of the announcement and are eager to hit the ice in their jerseys.
"To have Hallsy wearing four and Magnus and me kind of getting announced here, it's kind of special. To hopefully be a part of this organization one day will be neat," Eberle said.
"I've been wearing  for three years now back in Sweden and I chose that number because my brother had number 19 back home in Sweden and of course it's my birthday as well," Paajarvi explained. "The Equipment Manager just called me and asked what I'd prefer and I told him 91, but I've got to make the team before I can discuss numbers and all that."
Don't miss Paajarvi, Eberle, Hall and their fellow rookies in action at the Canucks Young Stars Tournament Sept. 12-15 right here on edmontonoilers.com
For more information on the Winner's Choice Lottery, visit http://www.winnerschoicelottery.com