1972/73: With eccentric owner Wild Bill Hunter at the forefront the Alberta Oilers playing in Edmonton are one of 12 teams in the upstart World Hockey Association. On October 11th the Oilers would win the first game in WHA history beating the Ottawa Nationals on the road. However, the Oilers played mediocre hockey all season before Hunter decided to take over the coaching reigns. In 26 games as coach the Oilers went 14-11-1, to finish tied with the Minnesota Fighting Saints for the final playoff spot in the west with a 38-37-3 record. However, in a one game playoff the Oilers would fall by a score of 4-2.
1973/74: The Alberta Oilers become the Edmonton Oilers as Bill Hunter returns to the front office. On the ice the Oilers post a 38-37-3 record for the second straight season this time making the playoff by finishing in third place. However, in the playoff the Oilers would be knocked off quickly by the Minnesota Fighting Saints in five games.
1974/75: The Oilers move to a new arena the Northlands Coliseum. However on the ice they struggle as the WHA is divided into three divisions with the Oilers in jeopardy of missing the playoffs at 30-26-3. Wild Bill Hunter gabs the coaching reigns at the end of the season. However, this time the move backfires as the Oilers slip into last place in the Central Division and finish with a 36-38-4 record.
1975/76: The Oilers change division again this time playing in the Canadian Division. Despite a poor 27-49-5 record the Oilers make the playoffs by finishing in fourth place. However, in the playoffs it would be a quick exit again as the Oilers are swept away by the Winnipeg Jets in four straight games.
1976/77: The WHA returns to two divisions as the Oilers are moved back to the Western Division. Once again the Oilers would struggle again posting a 34-43-4 record. However, by finishing in fourth place they would make the playoffs again. Once again it would be one and done as the Oilers fall to the Houston Aeros in five games.
1977/78: Talks begin to heat up that the WHA will fold and the NHL will absorb some of their teams. The Oilers would end up finishing in fifth place, as the WHA is now just one division with a 38-39-3 record. In an interesting side not touring group of Soviet and Czechoslovakia teams play in the WHA and the games are counted in the standings. In the playoffs the Oilers would be sunk by the New England Whalers in five games.
1978/79: The Oilers fortunes are forever changed when Wayne Gretzky the 17-year old super rookie signed by the Indianapolis Racers lands in the Oilers laps after the Racers fold in the middle of the season. The Oilers would go on to finish with a league best 48-30-2 record. In the playoffs the Oilers would struggle again as they needed seven games to beat the New England Whalers. In the Finals for the first time the Oilers would fall to Winnipeg Jets in six games. It would end up being the last WHA games ever played, as the league folds. However, the Oilers would be among four teams (Whalers, Jets and Quebec Nordiques) adopted into the NHL. Under a special agreement the Oilers were able to keep Wayne Gretzky who was on the verge of greatness.
©MMXIII ank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, all information, and team names are property of the World Hockey Association. This site is not affiliated with the Edmonton Oilers or the WHA. This site is maintained for research purposes only. All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page.
Page created on August 17, 2013. Last updated on August 17, 2013 at 2:50 am ET.