Well, it’s the middle of summer, and hockey fans are clamouring for anything about hockey. Myself, I’ve been on Youtube searching up old WHA videos, which will probably explain why I am writing this article today.
I have come to the conclusion that the Edmonton Oilers need to honor their past history from the former WHA more than they have, as they are the final WHA franchise remaining active. This season also marks the 40th Anniversary of the founding of the World Hockey Association, which was on June 10th, 1971.
The franchise is one of the Charter Franchises of the WHA, beginning operations as the Alberta Oilers in 1972. They went on to become one of the most prominent and stable franchises in the league, and attracted many fans to their games throughout the years. They signed stars such as Jacques Plante, Al Hamilton, Jim Harrison, Ron Chipperfield and more. They also have the distinct prestige of having played the first and last games ever played in the WHA. The Oilers also scored the first and last goals in WHA history as well. This team has so much history and prestige behind it, that it is kinda puzzling why they don’t flaunt it a bit more.
So, how could they honor that part of their history? Well, here are some suggestions of mine, feel free to make your own suggestions at the bottom of this page. I am eager to hear them.
One would be to introduce (or re-introduce) this jersey as an alternate;
This was the first jersey ever worn by the Oilers, which was in the first game played in the WHA, in Ottawa, where they defeated the Ottawa Nationals 7-4 on October 11th, 1972. The Oilers’ Rob Anderson scored the first goal in WHA history in that game. I personally think that this jersey is a classic and should be worn once in a while by the club.
Another option would be to retire Jacques Plante’s #30 which he wore during his tenure with the Oilers. I cannot understand why they haven’t done this yet. Plante is a legend to hockey and its fans, and his contributions to the Oilers’ legacy MUST be recognized. To me, it almost feels like Plante is being snubbed by the Edmonton Oilers organization. His number deserves to be in the rafters of Rexall Place.
A third option could be to put the WHA logo on the ice of Rexall Place or on the shoulder of the Edmonton Oilers’ jerseys, with a script reading “40th Anniversary” across the top or bottom of the logo.
Whatever the case, it seems to me that the Edmonton Oilers should call more attention to their WHA history, as without the World Hockey Association, Edmonton would not have the Oilers, and would not have the reputation as the City of Champions. Let’s give the WHA and the Oilers’ the credit and the accolades they so deservingly ought to have.
By Paul Neumann
By Paul Neumann