SUN Hockey Pool

Surprises, special moments await Coffey

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:12 AM ET

It's the kind of event where you don't want to let everything out of the bag. You want surprises. You want moments.

"You want them each to be different and yet them all to have their similarities," says Don Metz of producing yet another Oiler banner-raising event. "You don't want it to be cheese ball. You don't want to drop Paul Coffey from the rafters. You want it to be classy and memorable."

Metz says the Oilers will minimize their scoreboard commercial load throughout the game to make way for additional Coffey highlights, which aren't part of the actual banner-raising ceremony, before the game.

"We're making Paul the theme of the whole night. We're giving sponsorship a night to breathe. There's a time to sell and a time not to sell. This is a time not to sell."

The big questions are whether Mark Messier will show up and what part Wayne Gretzky might play in the proceedings given that he'll be behind the bench, making his first appearance here as the Coyotes' coach.

"We'll see which level Wayne wants to participate," said Metz of No. 99, who first played with Coffey when they were 14 years old.

"Whatever we do with the two, it will be what Wayne feels is appropriate and Paul feels appropriate. We have a foundation for it all but we can adapt to create a magic moment quickly."

Gretzky was paraded around the arena and loved the idea that he could see the same faces of the same fans sitting in the same seats.

Kurri skated in wearing his old uniform.

Fuhr was also dressed in full gear and spotlighted in the goal crease.

Kurri, Fuhr and Al Hamilton, whose jersey from the WHA also hangs from the rafters, will be here for the ceremony. But Metz swears he has no idea if Messier will fly in to be part of it, too.

The Oilers had to build a new contraption to make room for Coffey's banner to join those of Gretzky, Kurri, Fuhr and Hamilton hanging from the roof.

The new one will hold three more. Messier for sure next year. Glenn Anderson and Kevin Lowe would be on deck and in the hole. "That will probably be it before we get into a new building," said Metz.


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