Edmonton Oil Kings (WCHL)

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This article is about the original Oil Kings franchises that existed until 1978. For the current team that began play in 2007, see Edmonton Oil Kings.
Edmonton Oil Kings
Edmonton-Oil-Kings.jpg
City Edmonton, Alberta
League Western Hockey League
Operated 1951 (1951)–79
Home arena Edmonton Gardens, Jasper Place Arena
Colours Red, Blue, White
              
Championships 1963 & 1966 Memorial Cup Champions
Franchise history
1967–78 Flin Flon Bombers
1978–79 Edmonton Oil Kings
1979–80 Great Falls Americans
1980–82 Spokane Flyers
Previous franchise history
1951–76 Edmonton Oil Kings
1976-Present Portland Winterhawks

The Edmonton Oil Kings were a junior ice hockey team, and founding member of the Western Hockey League. They played at the Edmonton Gardens in Edmonton, Alberta, and later the Northlands Coliseum. In 1976 they moved to Portland, Oregon to become the Portland Winter Hawks. A second incarnation of the team played only one season in 1977–78 before moving to Great Falls, Montana.

Franchise history[edit]

The Edmonton Oil Kings have a history that predates the founding of the Western Hockey League. They won the Memorial Cup in 1963 and 1966 as members of the senior men's Central Alberta Hockey League. The team was required to defeat the Alberta Junior Hockey League champion to earn the right to play for the national junior championship. They were also cup finalists seven different years between 1954 and 1971.

In 1966, Bill Hunter, the team's General Manager, was concerned about the state of junior hockey in western Canada. Each of the west's four provinces all had their own junior league, and Hunter felt that this put them at a disadvantage when competing nationally against the powerful leagues in Ontario and Quebec. Hunter hoped to form a unified western league to compete.

Hunter's hopes became reality in the summer of 1966, when a revolt within the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League caused several of its top clubs, the Estevan Bruins, Regina Pats, Saskatoon Blades, Moose Jaw Canucks and Weyburn Red Wings, to leave the league and join Hunter's Oil Kings in forming a new league. A seventh franchise was also added in Calgary, the Calgary Buffaloes.

The Oil Kings captured back to back President's Cup titles in 1971 and 1972, however it would prove to be the final titles in the celebrated franchise's history, as the Oil Kings found it difficult to compete with the lure of pro hockey provided by the WHA's Edmonton Oilers. The Oil Kings moved to Portland, Oregon in 1976, to become the Portland Winter Hawks.

There was a second Edmonton Oil Kings hockey team in the WHL that played only one season. The Flin Flon Bombers moved to Edmonton for the 1978–79 WHL season, but only survived one year and moved on to Great Falls. The team folded as the Great Falls Americans, then was revived as the Spokane Flyers for two seasons before folding for good.

A new WHL team began play in Edmonton in 2007–08, reviving the Oil Kings name.

League membership[edit]

The Oil Kings played in the following leagues during its existence:

Season-by-season record[edit]

Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against

Western Canada Junior Hockey League (1951-56)[edit]

Season GP W L T Pts GF GA Finish League Playoffs Memorial Cup
1951-52 44 29 14 1 59 - - 2nd Lost final
1952-53 36 28 6 2 58 218 97 1st Lost final
1953-54 36 33 3 0 55 263 84 1st Won Championship Lost Memorial Cup final
1954-55 40 23 16 1 47 173 115 3rd Lost semi-final
1955-56 36 17 19 0 34 150 143 3rd Lost semi-final

Central Alberta Hockey League (1956–66)[edit]

Season GP W L T Pts GF GA Finish League Playoffs Memorial Cup
1956-57 40 24 16 0 48 - - 2nd Lost semi-final Lost Western semi-final
1957-58 40 20 19 1 41 161 164 3rd Lost semi-final Lost Western semi-final
1958-59 40 13 26 1 27 - - 4th Lost semi-final Lost Western semi-final
1959-60 30 12 18 0 24 157 171 4th Lost final Lost Memorial Cup final
1960-61 30 12 18 0 24 - - 4th out of playoffs Lost Memorial Cup final
1961-62 34 14 17 3 31 - - 5th out of playoffs Lost Memorial Cup final
1962-63 34 21 12 1 43 - - 1st Lost final Memorial Cup Champion
1963-64 40 31 8 1 63 - - 1st Lost semi-final Lost Memorial Cup final
1964-65 - - - - - - - - out of playoffs Lost Memorial Cup final
1965-66 - - - - - - - - Co-Champion Memorial Cup Champion

During this period The Oil Kings were still a Junior team that challenged in the Memorial Cup Playoffs, but played their regular season in a Senior League. The 64-65 and 65-66 regular season results are unavailable.

Western Canada Hockey League (1966–77)[edit]

Season GP W L T Pts GF GA Finish League Playoffs Memorial Cup
1966–67 56 34 12 10 78 281 188 1st Overall Lost semi-final
1967–68 60 38 16 6 82 303 194 3rd Overall Lost semi-final
1968–69 60 33 25 2 68 229 206 1st West Lost final
1969–70 60 35 25 0 70 254 217 2nd West Lost final
1970–71 66 45 20 1 91 346 258 1st West Won Championship Lost Cup final
1971–72 68 44 22 2 90 320 246 2nd West Won Championship Lost Cup round robin
1972–73 68 40 20 8 88 311 240 1st West Lost semi-final
1973–74 68 25 36 7 57 252 301 4th West Lost quarter-final
1974–75 70 34 29 7 75 340 321 5th West Out of playoffs
1975–76 72 25 42 5 55 312 400 5th West Lost preliminary round

Western Hockey League (1978–79)[edit]

Season GP W L T Pts GF GA Finish League Playoffs Memorial Cup
1978–79 72 17 43 12 46 288 403 3rd East Eliminated in round robin

NHL alumni[edit]

Hockey Hall of Fame

NHL 1st round draft picks

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Oil Kings Heritage