He didn’t score a single goal nor block a single shot during the dynastic days of the Oilers, but Glen Sather was the coach and architect of those Edmonton teams and the club is set to honor him for his contributions.
The Oilers announced Monday afternoon that this upcoming season, prior to their Dec. 11 tilt against the New York Rangers, Sather, 71, will be honored at a banner raising ceremony at Rexall Place. He will become the ninth Oiler – and second non-player – to have a banner hung in his honor by the club, joining the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Grant Fuhr and Paul Coffey, all of whom were members of the team during Sather’s days in Edmonton.
“The Oilers organization has been blessed with tremendous leaders, many of them in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Those great teams and players were a part of one of the great dynasties in hockey. But, I can tell you with certainty, none of that success would have happened without Glen Sather,” said Oilers vice-chairman Kevin Lowe in a statement. “Glen was a mentor, leader, protector and father figure for so many players that wore the Oilers sweater. He showed us what it meant to be champions both on and off the ice.
“It will be a very special day for our fans and organization when we celebrate Glen’s contribution and have him join our other legends in raising his banner to the rafters at Rexall Place.”
Sather first joined the Oilers in 1976-77 as a player-coach in the WHA, but ended his playing career the next season while retaining duties as the club’s coach. After two additional seasons in the WHA, which included one Avco Cup final apperance, Sather transitioned to the NHL as the Oilers coach when the NHL absorbed Edmonton before the 1979-80 season. After a successful first campaign as an NHL coach, the Oilers promoted Sather to GM. Before Sather’s first season as GM was through, he was back behind the bench in both coaching and general managing capacities.
In each of Edmonton’s first 10 seasons, Sather was behind the bench, leading the club to four Stanley Cups. He relinquished his coaching duties following the 1988-89 season, but the Oilers won their fifth Stanley Cup with Sather as the team’s GM. The 1980s Cup-winning Edmonton rosters put together by Sather are widely regarded as some of the best teams of all-time.
After 24 years in the Edmonton organization, Sather resigned following the 1999-2000 season, at which point he joined the New York Rangers as the team’s president and GM.
For the past 15 years, Sather has held the post as president and GM of the Blueshirts. He stepped down as GM this summer, handing the reins to Rangers assistant GM Jeff Gorton.
Sather is 23rd all-time in regular season wins with 497 and his 89 post-season victories are the seventh-best mark of all-time. Sather is tied for third in Cup wins by a coach with four – all won as a member of the Oilers – matching the mark of Al Arbour, Dick Irvin and Punch Imlach. Sather briefly stepped back behind the bench in 1993-94 with the Oilers and again in 2002-03 and 2003-04 with the Rangers.
Sather was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1997.