Highlights of the deciding Game 5 of the 1984 Stanley Cup Final. New York Islanders vs. Edmonton Oilers. Oilers win the Cup. You Tube.
|Quick Facts about the Edmonton Oilers|
|Date Founded: 1971 (World Hockey Association); 1979 (National Hockey League)|
|Venue: Rexall Place|
|Team Colours: Copper and blue|
|Stanley Cup Victories: 5|
Early History of Professional Hockey in Edmonton
Senior professional hockey first arrived in Edmonton in 1907 with the formation of the Alberta Amateur Hockey Association. At the time, any team in Canada could challenge another team for the STANLEY CUP anywhere and at any time during the ice season. Thus, the first Stanley Cup challenge in Edmonton was held in 1908 against the Montreal Wanderers. Though the home team lost, Edmonton took a second shot at the Cup in 1910, this time losing to the Ottawa Senators. Not long after, Edmonton's first senior professional team ran out of funding, and closed up shop. The loss of the team was due in part to a lack of a quality public arena in Edmonton. On 25 December 1913, this all changed, as the Edmonton Arena opened to the public. Two Alberta Big Four hockey teams from Edmonton, the Eskimos and the Dominions, played in the Edmonton Arena premier game. The Dominions won the match, 4-2.
Although play lapsed during the SECOND WORLD WAR (WWII), in 1921 the Big Four gave way to the Western Canada Professional Hockey League. During its first year, the Edmonton Eskimos hockey team ranked among the best in the league, coming in second to the Regina Capitals. The next year, the Eskimos and Capitals again met for the league title. This time, the Eskimos came out on top, meaning Edmonton moved forward to the Stanley Cup championship. As they had when the met 12 years earlier, the Edmonton team lost to the OTTAWA SENATORS.
By 1924, the Western Canadian Hockey League became the Western Hockey League. The league, however, did not last. Although the Eskimos joined the Prairie Hockey League, in 1927 the league had folded as well. The Western Canada Hockey League re-appeared in 1932, changing its name a third time to the North Western Professional League, which collapsed by the end of the 1934-35 season had finished. Professional hockey in Edmonton was gone until well after the Second World War.
In 1945, senior hockey returned to Edmonton in the form of the Edmonton Flyers, who joined the Western Canada Senior Hockey League, winning the league's first championship and the national senior trophy, the ALLAN CUP. In 1951, the Edmonton Flyers were embraced by the Pacific Coast Hockey League, which merged a year later with the WCSL to create the Western Hockey League. Although the Edmonton Flyers continued to play, the team met with the fate of previous Edmonton teams; the Flyers' final season was 1962-63.
The Edmonton Oilers in the World Hockey Association
The World Hockey Association was incorporated on 10 June 1971. The league would go on to rival the National Hockey League, with major players leaving NHL teams to join WHA teams. Bill HUNTER, owner of the Edmonton amateur hockey team, the Oil Kings, invested in an Edmonton-based WHA team. "Wild Bill," as he was known, initially named his team the Alberta Oilers; the team was originally intended to be a team for both Edmonton and Calgary, with home games split between the two cities. In 1973, however, the team became the Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers played in the first-ever league game, losing to the Ottawa Nationals on October 11, 1972.
Hunter frequently changed coaches, and had high turnover. In fact, only one Oiler, Al Hamilton, was with the team from its start in 1972 to the WHA's demise in 1979. During their first season, the Oilers won merely one game more than they had lost. Although their second season resulted in the same record, it also marked the Oilers' first appearance in the playoffs. However short the team's first playoff run was, hockey interest was building in Edmonton. This was due, in part, to the construction of the new Northlands Coliseum, which opened on 10 November 1974. Despite the new arena, the Oilers finished the season under for the first time, even with the skill of the team's players.
The 1975-76 season was not much improved, despite the presence of a new coach, Clare Drake, coach of the UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA Golden Bears hockey team. As the Oilers continued to struggle, Bill Hunter lost his grasp on the team, and sold the team to Dr. Charles Allard, who quickly re-sold the Oilers to Nelson Skalbania. In 1976, Peter Pocklington joined Skalbania as equal partner.
Glen Sather was added to the Oilers in the 1976; that year, he was made player-coach, and later head coach, by Pocklington. Not long after, Skalbania signed Wayne GRETZKY to the WHA at Skalbania's home in Vancouver. Pocklington purchased Gretzky's contract from Skalbania, and signed Gretzky to a 21-year "personal services contract" - Gretzky was Pocklington's employee, not the Oilers'. The final game in WHA history was played on 20 May 1979. At the game, the Edmonton Oilers lost the WHA Championship Avco Cup to the WINNIPEG JETS.
The Edmonton Oilers' in the National Hockey League
The Edmonton Oilers joined the National Hockey League (NHL) in 1979, along with three other former WHA teams. As an expansion team, the Oilers lost many players to NHL teams; Sather thus had no choice but to build a team, adding future HOCKEY HALL OF FAME players such as Glenn ANDERSON, Mark MESSIER, Kevin Lowe, Grant FUHR, Paul COFFEY, and Jari Kurri to the roster during the team's early years. The Oilers' first NHL game took place on 10 October 1979 against Chicago. Although they lost their first NHL game, their first victory would come nine days later, on 19 October, at home against the QUEBEC NORDIQUES. The NHL Oilers were an immediate success in Edmonton, and landed in the playoffs during their first season. Although the Oilers' first post-season was short lived (they were swept in the first three games by the Philadelphia Flyers), Gretzky won the HART TROPHY as the Most Valuable Player in the league. Following the first season, Sather was made coach, general manager, and president. He would lead the team to become one of the league's most successful in the 1980s.
The Edmonton Oilers' 1980s Dynasty
The Oilers played a fast-skating, offensive brand of hockey in the 1980s. The team's first playoff win came on 8 April 1981 when they beat the Montreal Canadiens 6-3; the Oilers eventually knocked Montreal out in the preliminary round before they were themselves knocked out. The Oilers made it to their first Stanley Cup final in 1983, losing to the New York Islanders who won their fourth cup in a row. Having come close to the Cup and losing pushed the Oilers to a new level. The 1983-84 season, the Oilers' fifth, saw the team win 57 games and finish first overall in the league.
Victory was sweet when the Oilers defeated the Islanders on 19 May 1984 to win their first Stanley Cup in Edmonton. The Cup was filled with champagne, and poured over owner Pocklington's head. Although Kevin Linesman was credited with the game-winning goal, Mark Messier was awarded the CONN SMYTHE TROPHY for playoff Most Valuable Player. The win would be a sign of things to come for the team, who won the 1984-85 season Stanley Cup for the second year in a row, followed by two more consecutive cup wins in 1986-87, and 1987-88.
The 1988 win would prove to be bittersweet for the Oilers. After leading the Oilers to the team's fourth cup win, and two Conn Smyth trophies under his belt, Gretzky was immeasurably popular, while Pocklington was losing money. The day after winning the Cup, Gretzky learned of Pocklington's intentions to sell Gretzky's contract. The sports world was shocked to learn that Gretzky, along with Marty McSorley, had been traded to the Los Angeles Kings for Jimmy Carson, Martin Gelinas, and three first round picks. The trade has since been called one of the most significant moments in NHL history.
The season after Gretzky's trade, the Oilers finished third in the Smythe Division, and saw the Stanley Cup find a new home with the Oilers' rival team, the Calgary Flames. The team rebounded to win the Cup again in the 1989-90 season, but, claiming they were unable to pay the rising salaries, continued to trade their superstars for younger players. The dynasty was dismantled, with many of the Oilers top players headed for the New York Rangers. Ironically, when the Rangers won the Stanley Cup in 1994, the team was made up of seven former Oilers.
The Edmonton Oilers in the 1990s
In the mid to late 1990s, the Oilers fought to survive as a franchise, battling the weak value of the Canadian dollar, since salaries and most expenses were in US dollars. The team also suffered from poor performance, missing the playoffs from 1992-93 to 1995-96, despite acquiring one of the NHL's best goaltenders, Curtis Joseph, in 1995.
The first whispers that the Oilers might leave Edmonton came in 1993, when Pocklington and Northlands could not reach a deal on leases at the Edmonton Coliseum. Pocklington stated that he had potential the sell the Oilers to Hamilton, which was anxious to join the NHL. By 1996, amid low season ticket sales, the NHL announced it would not stand in the way of effort to move the franchise elsewhere. By the middle of the 1996-97, however, young players such as Ryan Smyth and Dough Weight began to reignite fan enthusiasm for the team, and the team reached the playoffs for the first time since 1992. They met the Dallas Stars in the opening round of the 1997 playoffs, only to fall to the Colorado Avalanche in the next round.
One month after the Oilers' playoff loss to Colorado, Pocklington announced that the team was up for sale. In February 1998, a Houston businessman put in a formal offer for the team; 30 days was given to find a local owner to come forward and keep the team in Edmonton. A group of 37 business men formed the Edmonton Investors Group and eventually garnered the US $70 million needed to save the team.
Although the Oilers were not expected to beat the Colorado Avalanche in the first round of the 1998 playoffs, the Oilers pulled an upset in seven games. The Oilers would return to the playoffs in 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2003. In all four cases, Edmonton was knocked out of the first round by the Dallas Stars. Under the leadership of coach Craig MacTavish, a member of the 1980s dynasty team, the Oilers made a surprise run to the Stanley Cup final after finishing eighth in the Western Conference. Although they fell behind 3-1 in the series, the Oilers rallied to force a seven game series, only to lose the Cup to the Carolina Hurricanes.
Coming off their surprise playoff run, the Oilers seemed to continue their success. However, the team would soon begin a slump. The end of February 2007 saw the team trade star Ryan Smyth to the New York Islanders (he would return to the Oilers in the 2011-12 season). Meanwhile, the team won just two games the rest of the season, and finished in last place. The Oilers were sold to Daryl Katz, owner of the Rexall drugstore chain, in 2008 for close to $200 million. Additionally, Katz purchased the name of the Oilers home arena, once known as Northlands Coliseum, now known as Rexall Place. In 2009, the Oilers failed to reach the playoffs for the third season in a row; consequently, coach Craig MacTavish was fired, to be replaced by Pat Quinn. The coach change, however, did not improve the Oilers' performance. The Oilers finished in last place in the league, and Quinn was replaced by coach Tom Renney.
The Oilers have pinned their recent hopes on cost-effective, young draft picks. This includes Jordon Eberle, a first round draft pick in the 2008 NHL entry draft, Taylor Hall, the first overall pick in 2010, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the first overall pick in 2011.
Game one: Carolina 5, Edmonton 4
Game two: Carolina 5, Edmonton 0
Game three: Edmonton 2, Carolina 1
Game four: Carolina 2, Edmonton 1
Game five: Edmonton 4, Carolina 3 (OT)
Game six: Edmonton 4, Carolina 0
Game seven: Carolina 3, Edmonton 1
Carolina Hurricanes win series 4-3, and the Stanley Cup
1990 Stanley Cup Playoffs
Game one: Edmonton 3, Boston 2
Game two: Edmonton 7, Boston 2
Game three: Boston 2, Edmonton 1
Game four: Edmonton 5, Boston 1
Game five: Edmonton 4, Boston 1
Edmonton Oilers win series 4-1, and the Stanley Cup
1988 Stanley Cup Playoffs
Game one: Edmonton 2, Boston 1
Game two: Edmonton 4, Boston 2
Game three: Edmonton 6, Boston 3
Game four: Edmonton 3, Boston 3 (game cancelled in second period due to power outage)
Game five: Edmonton 6, Boston 3
Edmonton Oilers win series 4-0, and the Stanley Cup
1987 Stanley Cup Playoffs
Game one: Edmonton 4, Philadelphia 2
Game two: Edmonton 3, Philadelphia 2 (OT)
Game three: Philadelphia 5, Edmonton 3
Game four: Edmonton 4, Philadelphia 1
Game five: Philadelphia 4, Edmonton 3
Game six: Philadelphia 3, Edmonton 2
Game seven: Edmonton 3, Philadelphia 1
Edmonton Oilers win series 4-3, and the Stanley Cup
1985 Stanley Cup Playoffs
Game one: Philadelphia 4, Edmonton 1
Game two: Edmonton 3, Philadelphia 1
Game three: Edmonton 4, Philadelphia 3
Game four: Edmonton 5, Philadelphia 3
Game five: Edmonton 8, Philadelphia 3
Edmonton Oilers win series 4-1, and the Stanley Cup
1984 Stanley Cup Playoffs
Game one: Edmonton 1, New York 0
Game two: New York 6, Edmonton 1
Game three: Edmonton 7, New York 2
Game four: Edmonton 7, New York 2
Game five: Edmonton 5, New York 1
Edmonton Oilers win series 4-1, and the Stanley Cup
|Name||Number, Position or Title||Year Inducted|
|Glen Sather||Head Coach, President, General Manager||1997|
|Roger Neilson||Video Analyst||2002|
Author J.D.M STEWART Revised: CHERYL WILLIAMS
Kevin Lowe, Stan Fishchler, et. al., Champions: The Making of the Edmonton Oilers. (1988); Douglas Hunter, The Glory Barons: The Saga of the Edmonton Oilers (2000); Ray Turchansky, Edmonton Oilers hockey club: Celebrating 25 years in the heartland of hockey (2003); Mike Leonetti, The Battle of Alberta Trivia Book (2011).
Links to Other Sites
National Hockey League
The NHL website features the latest league news and statistics, video clips of game highlights, and more. Check the bottom of the page for additional links.
Check out the sportsnet.ca website for the latest sports news and videos.
The website for Andrew Podnieks, the author of more than 50 books on the sport of hockey. Also see the gallery of Dennis Miles photos of hockey players and the bios of members of the "Women's Hall of Fame."
Gretzky cracks 200-point barrier
A brief note about the first time Wayne Gretzky scored more than 200 points in a single season. From the espncdn.com website.
The official website for the Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club. Check out the latest news and statistics, team history, and much more.
The Hockey News
The website for The Hockey News, which has been reporting the latest news about the world of hockey since 1947.
How much of the enduring appeal of that goal is owing to the subsequent tragedy is hard to say. Certainly no one foresaw that it would be Barilko’s last game...