Post by Asaemon on Aug 14, 2021 12:09:49 GMT 1
Edmonton Oilers - The Dynasty Years
Edmonton Oilers were officially founded in 1971. The team played its first season in 1972, as one of the twelve founding franchises of the major professional World Hockey Association. They were originally intended to be one of two WHA Alberta teams, along with the Calgary Broncos. However, when the Broncos relocated and became the Cleveland Crusaders before the WHA's first season began, the Oilers were renamed the Alberta Oilers. They returned to their current name in the following year. Although the Oilers' on-ice performance for most of the WHA's history was mediocre, they remained relatively well-supported and financially stable by WHA standards.
The team's fortunes improved dramatically in 1978 when Pocklington acquired underage player Wayne Gretzky, as well as goaltender Eddie Mio and forward Peter Driscoll, for cash, from the recently folded Indianapolis Racers. 1978–79, saw the Oilers finish first in the WHA standings, posting a league-best 48–30–2 record. However, Edmonton failed to win the championship, as they fell to the Winnipeg Jets in the Avco World Trophy Final.
The Oilers joined the NHL for 1979–80, along with fellow WHA teams Hartford Whalers, Quebec Nordiques, and the Jets following a merger agreement between the two leagues.
The Oilers lost most of the players from 1978–79 when the NHL held a reclamation draft of players who had bolted to the upstart league as they were allowed to protect two goaltenders and two skill players. Originally, Gretzky was not eligible to be protected; under the rules of the time, he normally would have been placed in the Entry Draft pool. However, Pocklington had signed him to a 21-year personal services contract in 1979 and Pocklington used the contract to force the NHL to admit the Oilers and allow the Oilers to keep Gretzky.
The 1979, 1980 and 1981 NHL Entry Drafts allowed the Oilers to put together a young, talented, experienced team very quickly. Within these three years, Sather and chief scout Barry Fraser have drafted Mark Messier, Glenn Anderson, Jari Kurri, Paul Coffey, Kevin Lowe, Grant Fuhr and Andy Moog.
WHA 1972-1979NHL 1979-present
The Oilers are one of two NHL franchises based in Alberta, the other being the Calgary Flames. Their close proximity to each other has led to a fierce rivalry known as the Battle of Alberta.