Fans show their adoration

CON GRIWKOWSKY

, Last Updated: 8:59 AM ET

Are the gods smiling down on Glenn Anderson?

An overflow crowd of hundreds of Oilers fans crammed city hall to watch deputy mayor Ed Gibbons declare yesterday Glenn Anderson Day in the city of Edmonton.

Before the festivities got underway, master of ceremonies Mark Scholz pointed out one interesting coincidence.

"Appropriately, Environment Canada has predicted a high of plus-nine for Sunday," Scholz said, referring to Anderson's No. 9.

Among the dignitaries in the crowd was Anderson's 83-year-old father Magnus, the retired fisherman who now calls New Westminster his home.

And it took little time for the crowd to warm up to the moment and show their love.

They rose as one as Anderson was first introduced and then escorted up to the stage and just before a short video package of his career highlights was presented.

It was the first of several standing ovations Anderson received during the course of the program.

"They gave us the best hockey anybody can remember," said Gibbons during his speech.

Gibbons then read out a declaration from Mayor Stephen Mandel, who could not attend.

"The Edmonton Oilers and the entire city celebrate No. 9," said the statement.

There was a human side of Anderson not many fans got to see during his decade-long career with the Oilers and that became an important part of the program.

Anderson's charity work with the Cross Cancer Institute while he was an Oiler carried on as he presented cheques, including one for $10,000, to the charity.

Anderson took the honour of having yesterday being designated Glenn Anderson Day graciously.

"Wayne Gretzky's got a highway named after him, Mark Messier's got a part of St. Albert Trail named after him and now I have a day named after me, which I think is brilliant," said Anderson.

"I think it's awesome that the city has done this."

He spent most of his time onstage talking about his teammates.

That was pretty characteristic of Anderson, who would prefer to have others talk about his own exploits. He never was the type of player to blow his own horn and during his playing career shied away from one-on-one interviews.

Anderson made his own pitch for the player he thought should be the next Oilers inductee into the Hall of Fame and that is current Oilers president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe.

"There was a lot of pressure and a lot of outside noise," said Anderson. "When we walked through the threshold of our dressing room and walked through the Oilers doors, there was a calm and a sense that we knew we were going to win ... all the time.

"That's because of Kevin. In my opinion, I think he's the greatest leader ever and I still think he is today and he's doing a great job with the Edmonton Oilers."

Anderson also praised the calmness of Jari Kurri, the tenacity of his former centre Ken Linesman, the contribution of Ron Low, the fun he had with Dave Semenko and the friendship he has with Dave Hunter.

He also had words for how much the fan support has meant to him and his teammates.

"Looking out into the crowd today, I see familiar faces of family and friends," said Anderson. "This is how we win in Edmonton, this is how we win in Alberta, this is how we win in Canada. We're all one.

"I look around this room and I'm so proud and privileged to be here. Standing here in front of you, you are the guys who make it happen for us. Thank you."


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