Edmonton Oilers Team History

Updated October 2018.

One of the most storied sports franchises, the Oilers are five-time Stanley Cup champions.

oilers logo oldIt all began in 1972 when the Oilers started play in the World Hockey Association (WHA). Named after the oil refineries found throughout Alberta, the Oilers saw minimal success through the 1970s. It was the acquisition of one player that turned it around.

Peter Pocklington, the team’s owner, acquired Wayne Gretzky in 1978. He played one season in the WHA before the two leagues merged in 1979.

It took four seasons, but the Oilers achieved playoff success in 1982-83 when they made it to the Stanley Cup Final. They lost to the New York Islanders in a four-game sweep.

Led by Gretzky, along with future Hall-of-Famers Mark Messier, Paul Coffey and Grant Fuhr, the Oilers went on to win Stanley Cups in four of the next five seasons. Gretzky broke many single-season records along the way, including goals (92 in 1981-82), assists (163 in 1985-86) and points (215 in 1985-86).

oilers logo currentThe prestige had to end, though, as Pocklington traded Gretzky to Los Angeles in 1988 for cash to aid in the team’s financial troubles. The Oilers still triumphed with one more Stanley Cup in 1990, but a steady decline came shortly after.

A four-year absence from the playoffs began in 1993. The Oilers sputtered in the standings until after the 2004-05 lockout.

However, Edmonton snuck into the 2006 playoffs with the eighth seed and surprised the hockey world when they went all the way to the Stanley Cup Final. The Oilers stretched the series to seven games but eventually lost to the Carolina Hurricanes.

Edmonton immediately entered a rebuild after the loss, but has already put together the looks of a contender yet again. The team selected the first overall pick in the draft for four out of six draft years (2010-12, 2015), and current ownership is solidifying a young, steady group, led by 2017 Hart Trophy winner Connor McDavid. Despite missing the playoffs in 2018, a second-round run in the 2017 playoffs proved that the young core is ready to make the next leap and, eventually, return the Cup back to Edmonton after a long hiatus.


Feature photo courtesy IQRemix | Flickr

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Jeff Ponder

The author Jeff Ponder

Jeff brings a wealth of hockey retail experience to xHockeyProducts, as well as a vast knowledge of marketing and content development. Jeff is also a former hockey reporter for various media outlets in the St. Louis area and has attended numerous NHL Entry Drafts. He has played hockey since the age of 10.

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