AUGUST 16, 1950 - Jim Christiansen, prominent Edmonton businessman and sponsor of the Waterloo Mercuries hockey club, announced that he would also sponsor the newly formed Junior 'A' team, later to be named "Oil Kings".
The plan was for players to come from the four athletic clubs in the city; Edmonton Athletic Club, Maple Leaf Athletic Club, Southside Athletic Club, and Canadian Athletic Club.
In it's first year of operation, the Oil Kings were refused entry into the Western Canada Junior Hockey League, playing only exhibition games, mostly against it's member clubs, however they were granted direct entry into the Memorial Cup playdowns facing the junior champs from British Columbia. That series winner would then face the winner of the WCJHL vs Northern Sakatchewan series.
OCTOBER 20, 1950: The first practice for the team was held, with 100 players turning out, and the team was officially named "Oil Kings".
NOVEMBER ?? 1950: Their first game was a loss to the Waterloo Mercurys (Intermediate) by an 11-4 count.
November 23, 1950: The Oil Kings played their first game, against a junior 'A' team, the Crowsnest Lions of the WCJHL, coached by legendary Scotty Munro. The game was played before 1200 fans in Edmonton, with the Oil Kings registering the win 6-4. Scotty commented afterwards "The Oil Kings could more than hold their own in the WJHL".
The Kings Line-up for that historic game was as follows: (A big thanks to James Vantour for providing this info)
GOAL: Buddy Noon
DEFENCE: Gord Stogryn, Bill Geary, Ed Zeniuk, Grant Gilbertson.
FORWARDS:Bruce Dickson, Mike Kinasewich
LEFT WING: Russ Kowalchuk,
CENTRE: Don Fraser, Roger Gelinas
RIGHT WING: Jerry Prince
OTHERS: Bill Hodgson, Otto Letourneau, Red McNicholl, Frank Elniski, Bill Lupul, Ron Trepanier, ?? Black. (Can anyone provide us with
the first name of player "Black"?)
Coach: Morey Rimstad.
General Manager: Ernie Smalian.
Trainer: Lou Warring
Oil Kings first goal against Junior 'A' competition was scored at 2:16 of the first period: Kowalchuk from Fraser (Powerplay)
Kowalchuk also scored the winning goal, again from Fraser, at 6:42 of the third period.
The big line was Kowalchuk, Fraser and Prince. Jerry Prince also had 2 goals in that game.
Once again, thanks to James Vantour for providing us with this information.
The club finished the year with an overall record of 10 wins & 12 losses. Against the WJHL clubs, it was 8 wins against 9 losses.
In the Memorial Cup playdowns, Edmonton beat the BC champion Trail Smoke Eaters, but lost to the WCJHL champs, the Regina Pats.
APRIL 1951: The Western Canada Junior Hockey League accepted the Oil Kings application for membership.
From 1950 to 1976 the Edmonton Oil KIngs reached the national junior championship 10 times, including 7 consecutive years, from 1960 through 1966. The Oil Kings won the Memorial Cup in 1963 and 1966.
During their existence, the Oil Kings played in the following leagues:
1951-1952: Western Canada Junior Hockey League.
1952-1956: The league changed it's name to Western Junior Hockey League.
1956-1964: Central Alberta Hockey League
1964-1966: The league changed it's name to Alberta Senior Hockey League.
1966-1976: Western Canada Hockey League.
1976- : Western Hockey League.
At the end of the 1976 season, the team moved to Portland, Oregon and became the Portland Winterhawks.
After two seasons without a major junior hockey franchise in Edmonton, Bill Hunter and Vic Mah purchased the Flin Flon Bombers WHL franchise and brought it back to Edmonton, and re-named it Oil Kings. Poor attendance doomed the team and it was sold to a group who moved it to Montana and named it the Great Falls Americans.
A third version of the Oil Kings was reborn, this time owned by the NHL Edmonton Oilers. They played their first game back in the WHL on September 20, 2007.
Refer to the present Edmonton Oil Kings' team website for further information concerning their current team.