It's been four decades since the Edmonton Oilers first stepped onto the ice as a fully-fledged NHL franchise and to celebrate the occasion this season, the team brass announced the introduction of a commemorative jersey.
The milestone-marking apparel, which will be alternating orange and blue jerseys, will be most noticeable on the shoulder patches where the hockey stick-wielding roughneck used to reside.
In its place will be the number 40, which recognizes the number of years Edmonton has been in the NHL, with a banner indicating the year range of their involvement in the league (1979 to 2019) and images of the five Stanley Cups they've won during that time.
And finally, bookending the Oilers logo at the bottom of the shoulder patch design are the team numbers of six players who have since made the NHL Hockey Hall of Fame. All of them played during the Oilers dynasty years from 1984, when they first won Lord Stanley's prized hardware to 1988, the last year the team had superstar Wayne Gretzky in their lineup before his heavily publicized trade to Los Angeles. Naturally, Gretzky's number is first (99), followed by linemate Jari Kurri (17), Paul Coffey (7), Grant Fuhr (31), Mark Messier (11) and Glenn Anderson (9).
The uniforms will receive an official introduction Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018, on Fan Day, which will see the team do a meet and greet with its loyal legion, play an open scrimmage game, host a mini locker room sale, and have legends Grant Fuhr and Glenn Anderson available for a chat and autograph session.
The Oilers will suit up in these jerseys only four times this year, when they play at home against Los Angeles (Nov. 29), Calgary (Dec. 9), Winnipeg (Dec. 31) and Vancouver (March 7).
The rest of the 82-game schedule will see the Oilers dress up in their more conventional garb, which hasn't undergone many changes throughout its history. Despite the odd tweak on its borders, the Oilers logo still looks the same as the time the team first entered the professional hockey realm as part of the rival World Hockey Association in 1972. Although better known for their navy-blue apparel worn during their Stanley Cup routes in the '80s and early '90s, the original uniforms worn during their early WHA years were orange.