Sandy Langley, 53, is one of those people. She started working for the Oilers as a 15-year-old usher at the old Northlands Coliseum. Since 1993, she has worked in the team’s front office in various administrative capacities.
“My husband was a bouncer at one of the main bars here,” Langley said. “Back then, all of us became really, really good friends. They were just very approachable. They went out quite a bit, so you saw them, you know, at the grocery store. People felt that they could talk to them.”
Through another schoolmate, Langley said she got to know the former Oiler Esa Tikkanen and his first wife, Lotta.
“I think as soon as a player feels comfortable with you, they kind of welcome you into their whole group. So when we became friends with Lotta and Esa, we would go to their house. Grant Fuhr and his wife would be there, and Jari Kurri and his wife. We were almost like a family for them, because they didn’t have family here.”
Langley and her husband got married in June 1988, two months before the blockbuster trade that sent Gretzky to the Los Angeles Kings. The Tikkanens were wedding guests.
“It wasn’t anything, to ask them if they would come to our wedding,” Langley said. “Then, for my husband’s stag, Esa brought the Stanley Cup. That was unbelievable.”