The Edmonton Oilers: An Early History


The Edmonton Oilers have been a symbol of this city since 1973. Initially, they played as part of the World Hockey Association. Shortly before 1973, they were known as the Alberta Oilers, and they played their first game on October 11, 1972 against the Ottawa Nationals. In 1979, the Edmonton Oilers were inducted into the National Hockey League, with their first game taking place on October 10, 1979 (they lost to the Chicago Blackhawks). Their first win as an NHL team was against the Quebec Nordiques on October 19, 1979.

For the first two seasons, the Oilers only won one more game than total losses. However, in their second season, the Oilers successfully made their first playoffs. At this time, construction of the Northlands Coliseum was taking place – it first opened on November 10, 1974. This new addition to Edmonton ignited more and more buzz around hockey in Edmonton.

Unfortunately, as the next couple of years progressed, there was a lack of success for the Oilers. As a result, Bill Hunter (who owned the team at that time) sold the Edmonton Oilers to Dr. Charles Allard, who soon after sold the team to Nelson Skalbania – Peter Pocklington partnered with Skalbania in 1976. In this same year, Glen Sather joined the Edmonton Oilers as player coach and later on was moved to head coach by Peter Pocklington.

Wayne Gretzky was also signed to the team in 1979, though he was considered an employee of Peter Pocklington instead of the Edmonton Oilers due to a contract signed between the two. This agreement caused controversy in 1988. Although Gretzky led the team to many victories, including the first Stanley Cup win, Pocklington had been losing money over their contract. He sold the contract and traded Gretzky to the Los Angeles Kings in 1988.

Speaking of the Stanley Cup, the Oilers’ first win occurred on May 19, 1984 against the New York Islanders. This was only the beginning, as the Oilers successfully claimed the Stanley Cup in 1985, 1987, and 1988. The last time the Oilers won the Stanley Cup was in 1990.

Connect with the Edmonton Oilers on Twitter and Instagram by searching @EdmontonOilers and on Facebook by searching /Oilers.NHL.