Will Andrew Ference will be the second coming of Lee Fogolin the Oilers captain from 1980-81 to 1982-83 who handed the captaincy over to Wayne Gretzky when he was ready.

With Ference 34 a second-pairing defenceman you’d have to expect he’ll be doing the same thing to Taylor Hall Jordan Eberle Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Sam Gagner Justin Schultz Nail Yakupov or whoever rises to the surface from the rotating system new head coach Dallas Eakins has planned for players to wear the ‘A’ this year.

But for this team right now it’s difficult to disagree or dispute the decision to make Ference the first homegrown one since Mark Messier.

Eakins did it by Twitter.

At 8 a.m. Sunday he sent the following tweet out to his 36.994 followers: “Andrew Ference will UNITE us. 14th Captain in Edmonton Oilers history.”

The tweet included a photo with hockey ops president Kevin Lowe G.M. Craig MacTavish and assistant coach Kelly Buchberger all former Oiler captains presenting the jersey with the ‘C’ stitched on the front at a function the night before at the home of owner Daryl Katz.

“He’s everything you look for” said Eakins of the Sherwood Park product who is entering his 14th season in the NHL a player who has 120 games of playoff experience – the last 69 of which came while the Oilers were accumulating the grand total of zero.

“You start rattling off the words like ‘compete’ ‘honest’ and ‘commitment’ a guy who can communicate.

“Everything you can talk about as a leader that’s what this man is” he began of the defenceman who has been in three Stanley Cup finals winning one with the Boston Bruins.

“The biggest thing for me that I know he can do is unite an organization. He is the most important person in this organization. It’s not Craig (GM MacTavish) and it’s not me. It’s your captain” added the coach of the player who in many ways other than having way more talent is a Dallas Eakins clone complete with the highest mark in fitness testing.

“There were lot of guys we were considering and Taylor Hall wasn’t the only one” said Eakins of the fourth-year-Oiler who has evolved into the team’s top player/face of the franchise who is making the transition from left wing to centre.

“But every time as soon as we got into the conversation whether it was with a coach or a player we always went right back to the same guy. And it was Andrew.

“He’s the right guy for this team.

“He’s the right guy to carry the weight of that letter.