Glenn in the club!

TERRY JONES, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:49 AM ET

Other banner-raisings have been more momentous.

And others were more emotional than when Glenn Anderson's No. 9 finally went up to the rafters at Rexall Place last night.

But what made this one extraordinarily memorable was the players from the past who showed up to be there for the player who had to wait the longest to get there.

"Everybody was there," said Anderson when it was over.

"It was tough to hold back the emotions. They were right there with you," said Anderson.

No. 9 said he's glad he didn't have the banner-raising before his Hockey Hall of Fame induction.

"If it had been the other way around, I don't think I'd have been able to go through my speech.

"It was amazing to have them all there. I think we showed the strength of the organization and the team we had and what we meant to each other. Everything was overwhelming," said Anderson.

"It was a real good feeling," said Glen Sather of being out there with all his players of the past.

"It's nice to see everyone back here. This is what it's all about," said Wayne Gretzky.

The Oilers do banner-raisings better than anybody, but after you've done Gretzky, Mark Messier, Paul Coffey, Jari Kurri, Grant Fuhr and Al Hamilton, how do you top that with the one guy who had been overlooked by the Hockey Hall of Fame for so long?

Simple. Play the theme from the Magnificent Seven and introduce them one by one. Then cut to the Zamboni entrance where No. 9 stood in the dry-ice fog, his back to the crowd.

Except that wasn't Glenn Anderson.

It was the Edmonton Oil Kings' Drew Nichol.

"I got to be Glenn Anderson. And I get to keep the uniform," said the Oil Kings tough guy.

The spotlight then hit the Oilers bench. And the real Glenn Anderson stood up, jumped over the boards and began a slow trip around the rink, waving to the crowd, many of whom were sitting in the same seats when he was scoring more game-winning goals, than any player in Oilers' history.

There were lots of little touches, like Anderson stopping to pick up his six-year-old daughter Autumn, and to have a special moment with wife Susan and his dad Magnus who, despite his health, was able to make it after not being able to attend his Hall of Fame induction in November.

Anderson shook hands with Sather and John Muckler, who Gretzky put to work behind the Phoenix Coyotes bench as a coach for the occasion.

One by one, he did the same with every former teammate.

Eventually, Anderson took his place to watch No. 9 make the slow trip to the top of Rexall Place, the crowd standing from beginning to end when, taking a page from the Coffey banner-raising, they called on Messier to send Anderson a pass on the right side to break in on the net and score.

The only thing that might have made it better was if Billy Smith had been in the goal in a New York Islanders uniform, slashing him with his goal stick as Anderson crashed the crease to score.

Oilers president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe gave the banner-raising speech.

"Glenn, it's nice to see you back in that uniform," he said.

"And it's terrific to see all these other guys. We haven't had as many of these guys on the ice at the same time since the Heritage Classic.

"I was beginning to wonder if we'd ever get to have this celebration," he said of the time Anderson had to wait to finally make it into the Hockey Hall."

He spoke of Anderson's "courage, guts and bravery" and how "when it came to crunch time, there was never anybody any better."

"As much as Glenn marched to his own drummer, when the chips were down, we knew Glenn would deliver."

Lowe ended it by saying, "Tonight, I hope this makes your dream come true."

Messier's eyes were wet as he listened to Anderson start his speech.

"It was a lot easier watching someone else," said Messier, who was the focus of the previous banner-raising.

"He was nervous before it. As we waited for it to start, you could tell the moment got bigger and bigger."

Messier said he wouldn't have missed this.

"We played on the same line, roomed together on the road, lived together here in town.

"To me, he's my brother.

"We're all like brothers. To look out there at all our guys together again, it felt like we should still be playing," he said.

Anderson told the crowd, "It's great to be back in this uniform again. This jersey represents home and home is where the heart is. Right here is where my heart is."

His last comments he saved for the fans.

"You are the greatest hockey fans in the world," he said. "We had the time of our lives here."

Last night was another of those times.


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