The Edmonton Oilers play their final home game at Rexall Place on Wednesday, facing Pacific Division-rival Vancouver. Next season, the Oilers will move into Rogers Place, a state-of-the-art facility under construction in downtown Edmonton.
Originally known as Northlands Coliseum, Rexall Place opened Nov. 10, 1974, when the Oilers were in their third season in the World Hockey Association. The team joined the NHL after the NHL-WHA merger in 1979.
Rexall Place is the second-oldest building in the NHL. Only the “new” Madison Square Garden is older (opened in 1968, but renovated extensively in recent years).
Rexall Place is affectionately known as "The House That Wayne Gretzky Built" and was the site of some of the greatest moments in NHL history. A statue of Gretzky, which sits out front, will be moved to Rogers Place, along with numerous other pieces of memorabilia.
The Oilers have won five Stanley Cup titles (1984, 1985, 1987, 1988 and 1990) with all but the last being clinched on home ice.
Below is a subjective list of the top 10 memorable moments at Rexall Place.
1. May 19, 1984: The Oilers won their first Stanley Cup title and ended the New York Islanders’ dynasty in the process. Gretzky scored a memorable breakaway goal as the Oilers wrapped up the series in five games.
2. Dec. 30, 1981: Gretzky scored five goals against the Philadelphia Flyers to reach 50 goals in 39 games. Gretzky broke the NHL record of 50 in 50 set by Maurice Richard and Mike Bossy. Gretzky's fifth goal that night was an empty-net goal with three seconds remaining.
3. Oct. 15, 1989: Gretzky, in his second season with the Los Angeles Kings, tied and then broke Gordie Howe’s all-time NHL record of 1,850 points. Gretzky’s goal with 53 seconds left in the third period tied the score and was the record-breaking point. After a lengthy on-ice ceremony, Gretzky punctuated the night by scoring the winner in overtime.
4. Oct. 19, 1988: Less than 2½ months after the most shocking trade in NHL history, Gretzky made his first appearance at Rexall Place as a visiting player. He had two assists, but his Kings lost 8-6 as Mark Messier scored twice for the Oilers.
5. April 30, 1986: In Game 7 of the Smythe Division finals against the Flames, Oilers defenseman Steve Smith banked the puck off goaltender Grant Fuhr and into the net for an own goal. That broke a 2-2 tie in the third period and was the decisive score in the Flames’ 3-2 series-clinching win.
6. Feb. 27, 2007: Talk about mixed emotions. On the same day the Oilers traded fan-favorite Ryan Smyth to the New York Islanders, they retired the number of native son Messier, who skated onto the ice in full equipment, holding the Stanley Cup over his head. And, of course, Messier cried throughout the ceremony.
7. Feb. 2, 2012: Sam Gagner tied an Oilers record, held by Gretzky and Paul Coffey, with eight points in one game (four goals, four assists) in an 8-4 win against the Chicago Blackhawks. Gagner was awarded all three stars of the game, a first in Oilers history.
8. May 1, 2006: Ales Hemsky broke a 3-3 tie with 1:06 remaining in the third period, securing an upset victory against the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Red Wings in the conference quarterfinals. It was the Oilers’ first playoff series win since 1998.
9. April 13, 2014: Playing his final NHL game, longtime Oilers forward and Alberta native Smyth received lengthy standing ovations on one of the most emotional nights in the building’s history.
10. Jan. 29, 2014: Ben Scrivens made 59 saves in a 3-0 win against the Sharks. It set an expansion era-record for the most saves in a shutout.