Mark Messier is glad to be home.
Earlier this week, after much speculation, the Edmonton-native received clearance to skate with the Edmonton Oiler MegaStars in Saturday's Heritage Classic Alumni game.
The Messier- Wayne Gretzky- led Oilers will faceoff against former Montreal Canadiens legends in front of more than 50,000 fans on an ice rink built in the middle of Commonwealth Stadium.
On Friday, Messier got a chance to catch up with his old Oiler pals and stretch his legs on the outdoor ice surface.
"The ice was hard, it was great, and I think it will be better (Saturday) after a little bit of use (Friday)," said Messier.
"It's just amazing to come back and for it to be that easy for everybody -- to fit in, to say hello, to get out there and practice -- it was like we just left off," added Messier.
"All the pieces fit comfortably together."
Just like they did during their playing days.
Messier, along with Gretzky, Paul Coffey and Jari Kurri, dominated the NHL during the 1980s, winning five Stanley Cup Championships during the decade.
All four, and Charlie Huddy, are slated to start Saturday's
game for the Oilers. Grant Fuhr is expected to open the game in
Glen Sather will be behind the Oilers' bench.
Sather, who now coaches the perennially underachieving New York Rangers, said Friday's skate with the Oilers "was kind of a romantic moment."
There was some thought that Messier wasn't going to play in the game because he's still an active NHL player. But those issues were resolved earlier this week.
"Mark wanted to come here to be with his friends and share in giving something back to hockey and the fans who love the sport," said Sather.
with files from Canadian Press