OILERS CELEBRATE 72ND YEAR WITH COMMEMORATIVE JERSEY HONORING PAST TEAMS
TULSA, Okla. — Today the Oilers unveiled a special commemorative jersey that will be worn during Tulsa’s home opener on Saturday, Oct. 28 against the Cincinnati Cyclones.
The commemorative jersey, celebrating 72 seasons of Tulsa Oilers hockey, features eight, repeating logos that represent different eras of Oilers hockey.
Founded in 1928 by Minnesotan turned Tulsan Walter R. Whiteside, the Tulsa Oilers began in the six-team American Hockey Association, winning the league title in their first year of operation. Tulsa was the only team south of the Mason-Dixon line in the infancy of the AHA, with three teams hailing from Minnesota (Duluth, Minneapolis, St. Paul) and two from Missouri (Kansas City, St. Louis). The league expanded to seven teams in 1930, and the Oilers once again won the regular and postseason titles. The AHA ceased operations with eight teams in 1942 due to the Second World War. The league’s geographic footprint at the time meant the Oilers were no longer the only team in the South, with Dallas and Fort Worth both fielding squads. This historic era of Oilers hockey is represented on the sweater by the original logo — Tulsa script situated in a parallel rhombus.
Upon completion of the war, the Oilers joined the original United States Hockey League, which has no connection to the current Junior A league of the same name. Tulsa played in the league until 1951. In 1952, the Oilers original venue, the Tulsa Coliseum, burned down due to a lightning strike, leaving the Oilers homeless. The USHL was the only league the Oilers have participated in that they didn’t win a championship in.
Hockey returned to Green Country in 1964, joining the Central Professional Hockey League. Twenty of the Oilers’ 72 seasons took place in the CPHL, which changed names to the Central Hockey League in 1968. This era saw great success for the Oilers, winning three Adams Cups, including the 1983-84 championship which the Oilers won without a home rink. Due to financial problems for ownership at the time, the Oilers played exclusively on the road starting in February of that season, practicing at the University of Denver’s rink when not traveling.
Success was not limited to the team as a whole during the 20-season stretch of history. Several individuals went on to stamp their mark on the game of hockey in a multitude of roles. Affiliations with Vancouver, Toronto and the New York Rangers saw historic names play and coach for the Oilers at the time, including Bill MacMillan, Rick Bowness, Robbie Ftorek, Marcel Pronovost, Jim Wiley, Pat Quinn and more. Multiple members of the 1980 Miracle on Ice Team Olympic team played in Tulsa as well during this period.
This historic period of hockey in Northeast Oklahoma is represented twice on the 72-season homage jersey. The original logo used in the CPHL was the first oil derrick logo in Oilers history. A simple design, the towering derrick is made of two hockey sticks separated by horizontal cursive script reading “The Oilers”.
More recognizable is the iconic “Oil Drop” crest. Still worn by the team on their alternate jersey, the logo combines three elements. An oil drop, a skate and a puck which represents the letter O in “Tulsa Oilers”. In the early 70s a maple leaf was nestled within the puck to represent Tulsa’s affiliation with the Toronto Maple Leafs. The logo was also worn by the Canucks-affiliated 1975-76 Jolly Green Giants team, a championship-earning squad that boasted 24 NHLers.
Which brings us to the current franchise in Oilers history, entering its 32nd consecutive season — the longest active streak in team history. In a nod to the original 1928 franchise, the Oilers won the inaugural Central Hockey League Ray Miron Cup in 1992-93, defeating Sooner-State rivals the Oklahoma City Blazers, 4-1 in a best-of-seven series. The Dallas Freeze took Tulsa to seven games the round before.
The era of stability sees five references on the 72-year homage jersey, starting with the franchise’s original logo. Different from all previous logos, the primary colors are orange and blue. Similarly to how a puck represented the “O” in Oilers on the Oil Drop logo, or how the oil derrick is made out of sticks, the letter “L” in Tulsa is represented by a stick. The stick leads to the word “Oilers” with the “O” once again being replaced by a puck.
The “Tulsa Stick” logo lasted for two seasons before a familiar face made its debut. The primary “Oil Head” logo that is so recognizable today originally appeared in 1994, but with some crucial differences. The team still used orange and blue as the primary colors, which is reflected in the original logo. In addition, the words “Tulsa” and “Oilers” are flipped from the modern logo, with “Oilers” situated in larger letters atop “Tulsa”.
The next logo comes from the era of beepers, dial-up and CRT televisions. Another unique selection, this logo is the only one in Oilers history to show the body of an “Oiler”. The representation of Tulsa’s mascot Sledge with gritted teeth, a stick and gloves, and an aggressive stance also ushered in a branding change for the Oilers. Moving from orange and blue to the current maroon and navy, the Sledge caricature was the first logo featuring the modern scheme. Following tradition, the logo features the words “Oilers” and “Tulsa”, with "Oilers" still sitting on top.
From 1992-2014, the Oilers played in the CHL. An anchor of the league, the CHL’s logo is displayed throughout the jersey. The CHL’s surviving members eventually merged with the ECHL, the league the Oilers currently play in. To represent how important being able to join the ECHL was for the history of the team, the Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League’s logo is also featured throughout.
A modern twist on the popular “Oil Derrick”, the final highlighted logo is the lone nonprimary logo appearing on the sweater. Using the modern navy and maroon color scheme and advances in illustration technology, the new derrick was a massive hit. This logo is best known for being worn by Angela Ruggiero when she became the first woman to skate out in a men’s professional game. Angela and her brother Bill became and remain the only brother-sister duo to play in a professional game. You can find equipment used by each of the siblings in the game at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. Angela Ruggiero is widely considered the best American-born women’s player of all time.
Tulsa has proven time and time again, through multiple stints, milestones, trials and tribulations that it is a hockey town. From having the first purpose-built spectator rink south of the Mason-Dixon Line, to breaking the gender barrier in professional hockey, this jersey is the ultimate celebration of 72 years of pro hockey in Green Country.
These jerseys will be worn to kick off the 72nd defending of the Rig at the BOK Center on Saturday, Oct. 28. These game-worn, one-of-a-kind kits will be auctioned off following the conclusion of the game in the Riverspirit Lounge. The Oilers are also offering replicas of the jerseys through Shop.TulsaOilers.Com