Like the Sheep River, Oilers hockey has been a part of the lifeblood of Okotoks for generations. Hockey has been an Okotoks institution since 1919 and the tradition of Okotoks Oilers hockey was born in 1928. Since that time Oilers hockey has become the fabric that bound a community together.
During the tough times through the 1930s and 40s hockey fans could take a break from their day-to-day worries and head to the arena to watch Oilers hockey. The Oilers thrived through the good times as well soaring through the swinging '60s, the '70s on through the '80s. It is difficult to believe a hockey team could have such a profound impact on a community, but the Oilers did just that. Oilers hockey became synonymous with the Okotoks way of life - people worked hard and so did their hockey team.
The arena became a gathering place for the townspeople young and old all with a common purpose - to watch 'their' Oilers play. The youth of the community strived to be a part of the dominant hockey tradition that was the Okotoks Oilers. Parents wanted their young hockey players to grow up to be an Oiler. It is an ideal that still runs strong within the minor hockey program today.
Now a new brand of Oilers hockey hit the ice in 2005 - the Okotoks Junior 'A' Oilers hockey club. With the coming of Junior 'A' hockey dawns another era of Okotoks Oilers tradition. Will the Junior 'A' Oilers convey the same sense of pride that resounded throughout the Oilers' storied history? Just look in the stands on game night for the answer. Ask the young minor hockey player struggling to get his bag in the arena door, "Who do you want to play for when you grow up?" The answer is sure to be simple, "The Okotoks Oilers!"
The essence of Oiler hockey is best described in the statement by famous former Oiler Greg Wedderburn that adorned the team's T-shirts at the inaugural training camp. It stated, "Being an Oiler is like breathing."
We believe it truly is.
Contributed by John Barlow & Karen Arnholtz
On June 8, 2004, the Crowsnest Pass Timberwolves received the AJHL Board of Governor's approval to relocate the franchise to Okotoks. Due to the hard work and dedication of the new ownership group formed by the Charter Members, the Okotoks Oilers thus became the newest addition to the AJHL.
The Okotoks Oilers, a community and non-profit organization, were then granted a years leave of absence effective July 15, 2004 in order to get fully prepared for the 2005-2006 season, Their current roster players were distributed throughout the AJHL and BCJHL member teams for the 2004-05 season.
The Okotoks Oilers were also given the honour of being the host for the 2004-05 All Star Game.
The Charter Members are dedicated to the mission of the AJHL and to the community of Okotoks. The opportunity to watch skilled athletes that have aspirations to obtain an education through college or university scholarships, as well that chance to enhance their hockey careers, make for exciting hockey.
The Oilers are strong supporters of the Okotoks Minor Hockey program and will work to enhance that program within the community.
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