The WHL finals are under way between the Edmonton Oil Kings and the Portland Winterhawks (with the series now at 2-1 in favour of Portland) and the cool fact that has come out of this match up is that the Winterhawks were the original Oil Kings.
The original Oil Kings were created back in 1951 playing in first the Western Canada Junior Hockey League and later the Alberta Central Hockey League (a senior hockey league) league but played against Junior League teams and competed for the chance to play in the Memorial Cup winning it twice in 1963 and 1966 becoming a Jr hockey powerhouse with such hockey legends playing for the club such as future Oilers head coach Glen Sather and former NHL coach and GM Pat Quinn.
The Oil Kings would return to the Memorial Cup a third time in 1971 but would lose a wacky best of three final to the Quebec Remparts in a series that was shortened due to player eligibility and travel disputes with both teams.
As the 70s went on pro hockey returned to Edmonton and the fans craved the higher level of hockey in the form of the new Edmonton Oilers of the World Hockey Association. The crowds began to dwindle for the two time Mem cup champs so they packed their bags and moved to Oregon to become the Winterhawks in time for the 1976-77 season.
Like that old kids song the cat came back, the Oil Kings came back but unfortunately the third version of the club only lasted one year as they played the 1978-79 season and had a dreadful 42 point year but they did shock the CHL upsetting the Brandon Wheat Kings to end their historic 29 game unbeaten streak which turned out to be one of the few bright spots for the club as well as a post season birth but they were eliminated after one game in round robin play. After the season the team packed up again and became the Great Fall Americans (Montana) and took a Great Fall playing only 28 games in 1979-80 and soon moving to Spokane to become the Flyers on the train to defunct team city by 1982.
Almost 20 years passed before another CHL team returned to Edmonton and it was in the form of the Edmonton Ice who began play for the 1996-97 WHL season, whom are now the Kootenay Ice and guess what? Edmonton played them in their first round match up, I know this is getting weird….
The Ice were in hostile territory though as the Oilers wanted no part of them and they were banned from playing at the Edmonton Coliseum (soon to be known as Skyreach Centre and now Rexall Place) and were forced to play at the tiny and ill-fitting Agricom, across from the Coliseum. The Agricom is a 4000 seat facility and it was an awful arena for any CHL team as the Ice were in the basement of the WHL for the 1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons before heading to BC to play in arenas that could fit more than a mouse and his pals who brought some cheese, but hey this was the first that Edmonton hockey fans saw of Jarret Stoll as he played for the team in both seasons.
The twists and turns and travel across North America bring us back to the present incarnation of the Edmonton Oil Kings who were created for the 2007-08 WHL season with Edmonton Oilers ownership and now looking for their first WHL title and a chance to be on top of the Major Junior Hockey world if they could advance and win the 3rd memorial cup in it's franchises history (the team has taken the history of the original Oil Kings to an extent raising the banners of their two prior Memorial Cup wins to the Rexall Place rafters).
That's all for now I'm Avry and I'm out and follow me on twitter, @Avry.