The Edmonton Oilers may sound a rather crude industrial name for a sports team but there is a not unsentimental reason for it. Bill Hunter, the first owner, owned a junior hockey franchise in the 1950s and 1960s known as the Edmonton Oil Kings. The Oil Kings were often nick-named the Oilers and that is why he selected that name for the major franchise. Based in Edmonton, Alberta, the Oilers play in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL).
When the major professional World Hockey Association was started, the Oilers were one of twelve founding franchises. They were originally intended to be one of two WHA teams in Alberta (the other one being the Calgary Broncos). However, when the Broncos moved to Cleveland, Ohio, before the WHA's first season began, the Oilers were renamed the Alberta Oilers. They returned to using the Edmonton Oilers name for the following year, and have been called that ever since. 1979 saw the Oilers subsequently join as part of the NHL as one of four franchises introduced through the NHL-WHA merger.
Their new league certainly suited the Oilers who won the Stanley Cup on no fewer thanfive occasions: 1983–84, 1984–85, 1986–87, 1987–88 and 1989–90. This is a record for any team post-merger and also for any team joining the league in or after 1967. Among all NHL teams, only the Montreal Canadiens have won more Cups since that year. For their success in the 1980s, the Oilers team of this era has been honoured with dynasty status by the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Let’s look at a few of the leading Oilers over the years. Wayne Gretzky has been called the greatest player in the history. He rewrote the NHL record book during his career, and he enjoyed his peak years while as a member of the Oilers. Four times he topped the 200 point mark with the club. No other player in NHL history has accomplished that feat.
Mark Messier played an equally important role to that of Gretsky. Mark topped 100 points on five separate occasions with the Oilers, earning a Conn Smythe Trophy and a Hart Trophy during his tenure, but he brought a lot more than offensive production to the table. He was as feared an opponent as there was in the game.
Paul Coffey is arguably the greatest skater the sport has ever seen and he pulled fans out of their seats on a regular basis with his electrifying end to end rushes.
In the mid-80s, Janni Kurri from Finland challenged for the title of the greatest sniper in the game, scoring 50+ goals in four straight seasons, including a whopping 71 in 1984-85
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