During the Oilers 40th Anniversary Season, EdmontonOilers.com is looking back at the history of the franchise weekly with Throwback Thursdays.
EDMONTON, AB - Before Connor and Leon, it was Wayne & Co.
Before it was a 3-on-3 skirmish, with the four NHL quadrants (Pacific, Central, Atlantic and Metropolitan) vying against one another for All-Star supremacy, it was the reigning Stanley Cup champs stick all, East vs. West then North America vs. World.
Before fans voted online to decide which players would attend and before teams were selected in a gym class style, club general managers worked in conjunction with the NHL's Hockey Operations Department to decide All-Star rosters - which would, at times, cause favouritism.
Video: ALL STAR | Leon's Top 10
The NHL All-Star Weekend, where the most skilled players of the League converge for a weekend to display their skill and charisma, is upon us and of course, a few of Oil Country's own are on hand.
Former Oilers Head Coach and General Manager Glen Sather didn't construct this year's Pacific Division roster but more than one skater from the Oilers organization is on the squad, as Pacific Captain Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are set to attend as teammates, marking the first time that has happened since the 42nd All-Star Game in 1991 when Mark Messier, Bill Ranford and Steve Smith all played, and John Muckler coached.
For nine consecutive seasons from 1982-91, having two or more Oilers at the All-Star Game became routine. No NHL ASG would be right without Wayne Gretzky present, who holds the record for most All-Star Game points with 25 in 18 appearances. The Great One would typically be joined by his Oilers troupe, which included Messier, Paul Coffey, Glenn Anderson, Grant Fuhr and the architect himself, Sather.
From '84-89, five or more Oilers attended the exhibition game. At the 38th All-Star Game in Hartford, CT, 10 Oilers representatives were selected and just a season prior, nine Oilers packed their bags, boarded a plane to take over Calgary and the Olympic Saddledome, donning cowboy hats as Flames fans booed every Oiler who took to the ice.
During those years, All-Star Games were intense and competitive.
"There was lots of pride in which conference was better," said Kevin Lowe, who played in seven All-Star Games.
"No one would go out and try to hurt anybody but guys finished checks and guys drove to the net. Glenn Anderson ran Fuhrsy into the net trying to backcheck."
Oilers players attending the All-Star Game as teammates became routine during the '80s but it wasn't until the early 2000s when two members of the Orange & Blue would play against one another at an All-Star event.
When it was North America against World, Janne Niinimaa and Doug Weight went from friends to foes in Denver, CO, in 2001. Weight was instrumental in orchestrating the 14-12 win for Team NA, producing one goal and three assists himself and combining for 13 points alongside former Oilers mate Bill Guerin and Tony Amonte.
Since then, no more than just a single Oilers has represented the club at the celebration. That has since changed with Draisaitl and McDavd, who's torrid 3-on-3 play could end up stealing the show in San Jose - like Oilers of the past have.
"We've seen the magic they can create in our 3-on-3s," said Oilers keeper Cam Talbot.
"The talent level in the All-Star Game is above and beyond. It's going to be fun to watch those two."