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The Tulsa Oilers are a professional ice hockey team in the Central Hockey League. They played their home games at the Maxwell Center (also known as Tulsa Convention Centermarker) until 2008, when they moved into the new BOK Centermarker. 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 four teams that have played each season in the CHL since its rebirth in 1992 (the other three being the Memphis RiverKings, the Wichita Thunder, and the Oklahoma City Blazers; however, the Blazers announced in July 2009 that they were ceasing operations.) 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 not made the playoffs since 2005 nor won a playoff series since 1994.

Owner Jeff Lund played an integral part of 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. 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. He has also been active in the af2 arena football league; a member of the af2's Executive Committee, he owned the Tulsa Talons from 2001 to 2004, and then was owner of the Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz.

Championships

Year League Trophy
1992-1993 CHL William “Bill” Levins Memorial Cup


History

Tulsa has had several other hockey teams in its history, all nicknamed "Oilers."

AHA

Tulsa Oilers (1968)
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, Minnesotamarker and became the St. Paul Greyhounds, but half way 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 Famersmarker Duke Keats and Bill Cowley played for short periods on the Tulsa Oilers during this period.

USHL

Tulsa Oilers (1972-1982)
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.

CHL

The original Central Hockey League was founded in the 1963-64 season. The second version of the Tulsa Oilers joined that league for the 1964-65 season. The team left Tulsa in February, 1984, when its owners went bankrupt and the team went into receivership. Other teams in the league paid to keep the Oilers in operation so as not to unbalance the schedule, and the team — under coach Tom Webster — went on to win the league championship, despite playing all games on the road after February. The league disbanded following the end of the season. 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.

CHL Reborn

A new Central Hockey League was created in 1992 as a centrally owned league, owned by Ray Miron and Bill Levins, and operated by Ray and Monte Miron and funded by Chicago businessman and minor league sports entrepreneur Horn Chen, and the Tulsa Oilers were a team once again. Ray once coached the Tulsa Oilers in the old CHL and his son Monte had played for the Tulsa Oilers in 1973-74. Tulsa claimed the CHL championship in the inaugural season.

References

  1. Bill Haisten, "Blazers' end might spell trouble for Tulsa Oilers", Tulsa World, July 15, 2009.


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