||This article may contain excessive or improper use of non-free material. (May 2012)|
|2010–11 Tulsa Oilers season|
|League||Central Hockey League|
|Home arena||BOK Center|
|General manager||Taylor Hall|
|Head coach||Bruce Ramsay|
|Regular season titles||None|
|Ray Miron President's Cup||1993|
The Tulsa Oilers are a professional ice hockey team in the Central Hockey League. The Oilers played their home games at the Maxwell Center (also known as Tulsa Convention Center) until 2008, when they moved into the new BOK Center. For many years, the Tulsa Oilers name was shared with Tulsa's former minor-league baseball team that pre-dated the Tulsa Drillers. To reduce confusion in local news reporting, the hockey team was often called the "Ice Oilers", a moniker that continues to this day among many Tulsans.
The Oilers are one of only two teams that have played each season in the CHL since its rebirth in 1992 (the other being the Wichita Thunder).1 The Oilers established a winning tradition, making the playoffs in nine of their first 13 seasons. However, their performance in recent years has been less successful: they have only made the playoffs once since 2005. In 2011, they won in the first round against the Mississippi RiverKings, but lost in the second round to the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs.2
Present owner Jeff Lund played an integral part in assembling the 1992–93 team, a scrappy bunch led by veteran minor league coach and former NHL ironman Garry Unger. The team, anchored by high-scoring forward Sylvain Naud and veteran goalie Tony Martino, finished the regular season in second place, right behind intrastate rival Oklahoma City. However, in the revived league's first championship series the Oilers handily defeated the Blazers, clinching the title on OKC's home ice. Lund assumed ownership of the franchise in February 1999 after being the team's General Manager.3 Under Lund's direction, over two million fans have attended an Oilers game at the Tulsa Convention Center. Lund currently sits on the CHL Executive Committee.
Tulsa has had several other hockey teams in its history, all nicknamed the "Oilers."
The original Oilers joined the five team American Hockey Association as an expansion team in 1928. Their first home game was January 1, 1929, against the Duluth Hornets as part of the grand opening of the Tulsa Coliseum. The team won the AHA championship that season, and again in the 1930–31 season. For the 1932–33 season, the Oilers moved to St. Paul, Minnesota and became the St. Paul Greyhounds, but halfway through the season they moved back to Tulsa once again becoming the Tulsa Oilers. At the end of the 1941–42 season the AHA disbanded due to World War II.
- Hockey Hall of Famers Duke Keats and Bill Cowley played for short periods on the Tulsa Oilers during this period.
The AHA was reorganized as the United States Hockey League for the 1945–46 season as a seven team league, once again including the Oilers. That league folded after the 1950–51 season. The team played at Avey's Coliseum during this time.
- Hockey Hall of Famer Clint Smith played the 47–48 season with the Tulsa Oilers after a stellar 11 year career in the NHL with the New York Rangers and Chicago Black Hawks and won the USHL Most Valuable Player award.
The original Central Hockey League was founded in the 1963–64 season, and the Tulsa Oilers joined that league for the 1964–65 season. The team suspended its operations on February 16, 1984, when its owners went bankrupt and the Tulsa Oilers went into receivership. Other teams in the league paid to keep the Oilers in operation so as not to unbalance the schedule, but the Oilers played only road games for final six weeks of 1983–84 season.4 Despite this difficulty, the team (under coach Tom Webster) went on to win the league championship before the CHL disbanded following the end of the season.5
- Ice hockey commentator Don Cherry best known for his work at Hockey Night in Canada played one season with the Oilers in 65–66.
- Hockey Hall of Famer Marcel Pronovost followed his 20 year NHL career with two seasons of play on the Tulsa Oilers in the 69–70 and 70–71 seasons.
- Five players from the 1980 Miracle on Ice team played for the Tulsa Oilers in the late 70s and early 80s. These include Dave Silk, Bill Baker, Steve Janaszak, Rob McClanahan, and Bob Suter.
- The General Manager of the Washington Capitals, George McPhee, played for the Tulsa Oilers in the mid 80s, including the 1983-84 team which won the CHL championship while being in receivership status.6
A new Central Hockey League was created in 1992 as a centrally owned league, owned by Ray Miron and Bill Levins. The league was operated by Ray and Monte Miron and funded by Chicago businessman and minor league sports entrepreneur Horn Chen. With the creation of the new CHL the Tulsa Oilers were a team once again. Ray Miron once coached the Oilers in the old CHL and his son Monte had played for the Oilers in 1973–74. Tulsa claimed the CHL championship in the CHL's inaugural season under General Manager Jeff Lund as head coach Garry Unger.7
The Oilers established a winning tradition, making the playoffs in nine of their first 13 seasons. However, with a decline in their performance and not qualifying for the playoffs since 2005 nor winning a playoff series since 1994, owner Jeff Lund hired former player Taylor Hall as Oilers General Manager on May 3, 2008.8 After finishing third to last in the CHL with 18 wins in 64 games in the 2008–09 season, Hall hired Head Coach Bruce Ramsay, fresh off a trip to the IHL's Turner Cup finals with the Muskegon Fury, on May 21, 2009.9
In Ramsay's first season as coach in 2009–10 season, the Oilers rebounded with 28 wins in 64 games to post the second highest point total increase in the CHL from the previous season.10 On September 2, 2010, the Oilers announced their first National Hockey League affiliation since their reformation in 1992 with the Colorado Avalanche, joining the Lake Erie Monsters of the AHL.11
|1928–29||AHA||Harry F. Sinclair Trophy|
|1930–31||AHA||Harry F. Sinclair Trophy|
|1992–93||CHL||William “Bill” Levins Memorial Cup|
- Bill Haisten, "Blazers' end might spell trouble for Tulsa Oilers", Tulsa World, July 15, 2009.
- "CHL Playoffs 2011". Central Hockey League. Retrieved 2013-01-13.
- "Tulsa Oilers owner Jeff Lund wins 2008-09 CHL Rick Kozuback Award". mlntherawfeed.com. 2009-03-19. Retrieved 2010-09-02.
- "1980 draft pick-Bob Scurfield". hockeydraftcentral.com. 2008-03-21. Retrieved 2008-03-21.
- Cory Erdman (2008-03-20). "The Tulsa Oilers were true road Warriors". The Hockey News. Retrieved 2008-03-21.
- 1983-84 Tulsa Oilers [CHL]
- "Unger in Alumni game". Tulsa Oilers. 2010-08-26. Retrieved 2010-09-02.
- "Former player Taylor Hall rejoins the Oilers as General Manager". mlntherawfeed.com. 2008-05-03. Retrieved 2010-09-02.
- "Tulsa Oilers name Bruce Ramsay coach". mlntherawfeed.com. 2009-05-21. Retrieved 2010-09-02.
- "Oilers to play in Berry conference". Tulsa Oilers. 2010-08-04. Retrieved 2010-09-02.
- "Tulsa announces affiliation with Avs". Colorado Avalanche. 2010-09-02. Retrieved 2010-09-02.
- "Tulsa Oilers - Team". Tulsa Oilers. Retrieved 2013-01-09.
- "The Center of Hockey - News". Central Hockey League. Retrieved 2013-01-09.