Edmonton Oilers, the No. 1 Popular Hockey team in Canada

The Edmonton Oilers, a professional Canadian ice hockey team, are located in Edmonton, Alberta, and participate in the National Hockey League (NHL). They are part of the Western Conference’s Pacific Division.

The team calls Rogers Place, which was inaugurated in 2016, their home arena. Jay Woodcroft, the current head coach, was appointed on February 11, 2022, while Ken Holland has been a general manager since May 7, 2019.

Edmonton Oilers share their home province of Alberta with another NHL franchise, the Calgary Flames, leading to a heated rivalry called the “Battle of Alberta.”

They embarked on their inaugural season 1972 as one of the twelve original teams in the World Hockey Association (WHA), a major professional league. 

The Calgary Broncos assumed the name “Alberta Oilers” after the Broncos moved and became the Cleveland Crusaders before the WHA’s first season.

However, they reverted to the “Edmonton Oilers” name the following year and eventually became part of the NHL in 1979 when the NHL merged with the WHA, absorbing four WHA franchises.

Following their entry into the NHL, the Oilers established themselves as a dominant force in the league, securing the Stanley Cup on five occasions in 1983-84, 1984-85, 1986-87, 1987-88, and 1989-90. 

The Montreal Canadiens are the only NHL team with more Stanley Cup wins since the league’s expansion in 1967. The Oilers clinched six consecutive division titles from 1981-82 through 1986-87.

Notably, the Edmonton Oilers have not secured a division title since 1987, making it the longest-standing division title drought among all major North American professional sports.

Edmonton Oilers’ achievements in the 1980s and early 1990s have earned them dynasty status as recognized by the Hockey Hall of Fame.

However, after their last appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals in 2006, the team faced struggles, enduring a decade-long playoff drought.

In the last 16 years, the Oilers have made 12 first-round selections in the NHL Entry Draft. Ten of these picks were within the top ten overall, with six in the top four.

Some notable first-overall picks include Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nail Yakupov, and Connor McDavid. As of 2023, Nugent-Hopkins and McDavid continue playing for the Oilers.

History of Edmonton Oilers

Edmonton Oilers’s WHA Era

Edmonton Oilers joined the World Hockey Association (WHA) on November 1, 1971, as one of the pioneering franchises in a league that started with 12 original teams.

 The visionaries behind this enterprise were “Wild Bill” Hunter (1920–2002) and his partner, Dr. Charles A. “Chuck” Allard (1919–1991), the father of Vancouver lawyer Peter Allard. They also brought the beloved SCTV sketch comedy series to Edmonton a decade later. 

Hunter’s previous efforts to bring major professional hockey to Edmonton through an expansion NHL franchise were thwarted by the NHL. Therefore, he turned to the fledgling WHA as an alternative.

Hunter is the one who bestowed the name “Oilers” upon this new WHA franchise, a name with historical ties to the Edmonton Oil Kings of the 1950s and 1960s.

Additionally, Hunter took on the head coach role during the 1974–75, 1972–73, and 1975–76 seasons.

Originally called the “Alberta Oilers” because they intended to divide their home games between Edmonton and Calgary, the team eventually settled in Edmonton, becoming the “Edmonton Oilers” after their first season.

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They started their journey with a historic 7-4 win over the Ottawa Nationals and began to build a devoted fan base thanks to players like Al Hamilton, Dave Dryden, Blair MacDonald, and Bill Flett.

Nevertheless, a seemingly unremarkable acquisition in 1976 had far-reaching consequences for the franchise. It was in that year that journeyman forward Glen Sather joined the Oilers.

This turned out to be his final season as a player, and he assumed the role of player-coach late in the season before transitioning to a full-time coaching position after the season. Sather served as the coach and general manager of the Oilers for the next 23 years.

During their time in the WHA, the Oilers’ on-ice performance was generally average, but they enjoyed stability and good support within the WHA.

In 1976, the franchise was sold to Nelson Skalbania, a Vancouver real estate magnate known for his property transactions, including franchise ownership.

Skalbania quickly made local businessman Peter Pocklington a full partner and sold his shares to him the following year.

The team’s fortunes underwent a transformative shift in 1978 when Pocklington secured the services of underage player Wayne Gretzky, goaltender Eddie Mio, and forward Peter Driscoll through a cash transaction from Skalbania’s recently dissolved Indianapolis Racers.

Wayne Gretzky’s inaugural WHA season in 1978–79 prevented him from qualifying as an official NHL rookie in 1979–80. The Oilers topped the WHA standings in that single WHA season, achieving a league-leading 48-30-2 record.

However, they fell short in the championship quest, losing to the Winnipeg Jets in the Avco World Trophy Final. The Oilers’ Dave Semenko scored the last goal in WHA history during the third period of the final game, which they lost 7-3.

The Oilers transitioned to the NHL for the 1979–80 season, joining fellow WHA teams, namely the Hartford Whalers, Quebec Nordiques, and the Winnipeg Jets, as part of a merger agreement between the two leagues. 

Among these four teams, the Edmonton Oilers are the only ones that have yet to relocate or rebrand.

Edmonton Oilers’s Entry into the NHL

After the 1978-79 season, the Edmonton Oilers faced significant player losses when the NHL conducted a reclamation draft of players who had defected to the new league.

The rules allowed teams to protect two goaltenders and two skilled players. Initially not eligible for protection, Wayne Gretzky would have typically been placed in the Entry Draft pool.

However, Peter Pocklington had secured Gretzky with a remarkable 21-year personal services contract in 1979. Pocklington leveraged this contract to compel the NHL to admit the Oilers and enable them to retain Gretzky.

Upon entering the NHL, the Oilers were in the Campbell Conference’s Smythe Division. Their performance during their initial two seasons in the league was modest, finishing sixteenth and fourteenth, respectively.

However, given that 16 of the 21 NHL teams qualified for the playoffs at the time, the Oilers managed to provide valuable playoff experience for their young players. Remarkably, they made the playoffs in their first 13 years in the NHL.

In their early years, they won just one playoff series, an upset victory over the Montreal Canadiens in 1980-81. During this period, Gretzky set new NHL records for assists (109) and points (164).

They also continued to enjoy advantageous draft positions, allowing them to assemble a young, skilled, and experienced team rapidly. 

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In just three years, Glen Sather and chief scout Barry Fraser handpicked critical players like Mark Messier, Glenn Anderson, Kevin Lowe, Grant Fuhr, Jari Kurri, Paul Coffey, and Andy Moog, setting the stage for the team’s success.

During the 1981-82 season, Wayne Gretzky stole the spotlight by setting a single-season record with 92 goals and becoming the first NHL player to reach 200 points with 212. The Oilers also became the first team to score 400 goals in a season for five consecutive years.

Despite their stellar performance, they faced a shocking upset by the Los Angeles Kings in the “Miracle on Manchester” game.

In the 1982-83 season, the Oilers finished third in the NHL and reached the Stanley Cup Finals, where they were swept by the defending champion New York Islanders.

During that season, Gretzky, Messier, Anderson, and Kurri exceeded 100 points, with Coffey behind at 96. Following the season, Lee Fogolin stepped down as the Oilers’ captain, passing the torch to Gretzky.

Dynasty years

The Oilers accomplished a historic campaign in the 1983-84 season, securing first place overall in the NHL. They won an impressive 57 games, amassing 119 points, a staggering 15 points ahead of the second-place Islanders. 

This outstanding season, we witnessed the Oilers achieving a historic feat as the first team to have three players scoring 50 goals, with Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, and Glenn Anderson accomplishing this remarkable milestone.

Gretzky embarked on the season with a spectacular streak, recording at least one point in the first 51 games. Additionally, Paul Coffey made history as only the second defenseman to score precisely 40 goals in a single season. The team collectively netted a jaw-dropping 446 goals, setting an NHL record.

Determined to clinch the Stanley Cup, the Oilers even enlisted the services of Roger Neilson as a video analyst. The Oilers’ playoff journey started with a sweep of the Winnipeg Jets in the Smythe Division semifinals.

They faced a more formidable challenge in the Calgary Flames but came out on top in seven games during the division finals.

Subsequently, the Oilers swept the Minnesota North Stars in the conference finals, setting the stage for a Stanley Cup Finals rematch against the Islanders.

The Edmonton Oilers split the first two games in Long Island but then secured three consecutive victories in Edmonton, becoming the first former WHA team to claim the Stanley Cup. 

The Oilers rebounded to win the next four, securing their second consecutive Stanley Cup. Paul Coffey had an unforgettable playoff performance, setting records for the most goals (12), assists (25), and points (37) ever by a defenseman in a single playoff year.

Furthermore, Jari Kurri equaled Reggie Leach’s record for the most goals in a playoff year with 19. However, Gretzky claimed the Conn Smythe Trophy after setting a new record for the most points in a playoff year with 47.

Notably, the 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers were honored to be named the most excellent NHL team ever during the league’s centennial celebrations in 2017.

During the 1985-86 season, despite facing legal issues in the off-season, the Edmonton Oilers once again dominated the NHL with 56 wins and 119 points, earning them the inaugural Presidents’ Trophy for the best regular season record. Notably, Gretzky, Kurri, and Anderson each scored 50 goals.

Kurri led the NHL in goals with an impressive 68 and amassed 131 points. Paul Coffey set a new record for the most goals in a season by a defenseman with 48, narrowly missing Bobby Orr’s record for points by a defenseman with 138 (Orr scored 139 in 1970-71).

Gretzky also left his mark, setting records for assists (163) and points (215). However, the Oilers fell short of clinching their third consecutive Stanley Cup, as the Calgary Flames defeated them in seven games during the second round.

In a pivotal moment during Game 7, a rookie for the Oilers, Steve Smith, accidentally redirected the puck into his net during a 2-2 tie in the third period, ultimately becoming the series-winning goal.

In the 1986-87 season, they witnessed the Edmonton Oilers securing their second consecutive Presidents’ Trophy with 50 wins and 106 points. In the NHL point-scoring race, Gretzky and Kurri claimed the first and second positions, with Messier coming in fourth.

Edmonton returned to the Stanley Cup Finals, facing the same opponent as in 1985, the Philadelphia Flyers. The Oilers took a commanding three-games-to-one lead in the series. However, the outstanding goaltending of Flyers’ rookie Ron Hextall led to a Game 7, which the Oilers won 3-1.

In a heartwarming post-game celebration, Gretzky immediately passed the Stanley Cup to Steve Smith, who had been redeemed after his costly mistake the previous season.

Ron Hextall was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy for his remarkable performance. In the 1987-88 season, the Oilers began losing key players, including Paul Coffey, who sat out the first 21 games before being traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins. 

Despite these changes, the Edmonton Oilers secured third place in the NHL. Grant Fuhr started an impressive league-record 75 games (a record that has since been broken) and achieved a team-record 40 wins.

In the playoffs, the Edmonton Oilers dispatched the third-place Winnipeg Jets in five games and swept the first-place Calgary Flames. They also swept the Boston Bruins in four games, with the fourth game needing replayed due to a cancellation.

The Oilers won the next game back in Edmonton 6-3 to complete the series sweep, with all player statistics from the canceled game counted in the NHL record books.

Gretzky secured the Conn Smythe Trophy after leading the playoffs in scoring with 43 points. After the Cup-clinching game, Wayne Gretzky began a tradition by inviting his teammates, coaches, trainers, and other Oilers personnel to gather at the center. 

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They gathered on the ice for a spontaneous team photo with the Stanley Cup. It was a heartfelt moment of celebration.

Following the season, Grant Fuhr was recognized for his outstanding performance with the Vezina Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s top goaltender.

This gesture of camaraderie and individual recognition highlighted the team’s unity and success.

Edmonton Oilers After Gretzky

In a shocking turn of events, Wayne Gretzky, center Mike Krushelnyski, and enforcer Marty McSorley were traded to the Los Angeles Kings on August 9, 1988.

In return, the Edmonton Oilers received a substantial sum of US$15 million, along with promising young star Jimmy Carson, the 1988 first-round draft pick Martin Gelinas, and the Kings’ first-round draft selections in 1989, 1991, and 1993.

The trade transpired because Edmonton Oilers owner Peter Pocklington was reluctant to let Gretzky depart Edmonton without receiving compensation. This move was in response to Gretzky exercising his opportunity for personal free agency, a decision that had yet to be publicly disclosed. Nevertheless, this turn of events deeply distressed the Oilers and their fans.

Nelson Riis, the leader of Canada’s New Democratic Party in the House of Commons, even called on the government to intervene and prevent the trade. Some Oilers players contemplated staging a team-wide strike and even raised the idea of demanding that Pocklington sell the team.

The immediate aftermath of losing Gretzky was felt in the 1988-89 season, as the Oilers could only manage a third-place finish in their division. Mark Messier was selected to take over as captain in place of Gretzky.

By a twist of fate, the Oilers faced Gretzky’s Los Angeles Kings in the first round of the playoffs. Edmonton initially secured a dominant 3-1 series lead, but Gretzky and the Kings launched a comeback, ultimately sealing the series with a 6-3 victory in Game 7 in Los Angeles. 

In the 1989-90 season, he brought further changes for the Oilers. John Muckler took over as head coach, while Sather remained the general manager and assumed the role of the team’s president.

During training camp, Grant Fuhr suffered a severe case of appendicitis, causing him to miss the first ten games of the season. Upon his return, Fuhr experienced a shoulder injury that kept him sidelined for the remainder of the season, paving the way for Bill Ranford to assume the starting goaltender role. 

After four games into the season, Jimmy Carson decided to part ways with the Edmonton Oilers due to the immense pressure.

He was traded to the Detroit Red Wings along with Kevin McClelland. In return, the Oilers acquired Petr Klima, Adam Graves, Joe Murphy, and Jeff Sharples. This trade rejuvenated the Oilers as they displayed improvement throughout the season, ending with 38 wins and a total of 90 points. Their performance secured them the fifth position overall in the NHL.

A standout during the season was Mark Messier, who had a remarkable year, scoring 45 goals and providing 84 assists for a total of 129 points, earning him the second spot in the NHL scoring race, second only to Gretzky.

In the first round of the playoffs, the Edmonton Oilers faced the Winnipeg Jets. Trailing the series 3-1 and facing an identical score deficit in Game 5, the Oilers mounted a stunning comeback, winning the next three games to secure the series.

In the division final, the Edmonton Oilers squared off against the Los Angeles Kings for the second consecutive season. Once again, Edmonton emerged victorious with a four-game sweep, outscoring the Kings 22-10.

The Oilers then faced the Chicago Blackhawks in the Campbell Conference Final and, after falling behind 2-1 in the series, rallied to win the next three games, setting the stage for a rematch of the 1988 Stanley Cup Finals against the Boston Bruins.

The series is best known for Game 1, the longest modern NHL Stanley Cup Finals game, which the Oilers won 3-2 in triple overtime. Despite being outshot, Petr Klima scored the winning goal. Their first Stanley Cup without Gretzky and Bill Ranford earned the Conn Smythe Trophy for his goaltending.

Edmonton Oilers’s Decline in Success 

Before the 1990-91 season, the Edmonton Oilers suffered another significant loss as Jari Kurri chose to play the entire season with Devils Milano.

Meanwhile, Grant Fuhr was suspended for 60 games due to drug abuse; the season proved challenging for the Oilers, concluding with 37 wins and 80 points, securing them a third-place finish in the Smythe Division.

In the playoffs, the Edmonton Oilers faced a formidable opponent in the Flames during the opening round. In a thrilling series, they triumphed in seven games, with Esa Tikkanen contributing seven crucial goals. 

In the subsequent round, they defeated the Vancouver Canucks in six games, securing a third consecutive appearance in the Campbell Conference Final, where they faced the Chicago Blackhawks.

However, the Oilers’ unexpected playoff run ended abruptly as the Blackhawks dominated every game, sweeping the series.

The departures of the star players from the 1980s revealed significant deficiencies in the Oilers’ player development system.

Their drafting efforts during the dynasty years had needed improvement, and the younger players needed more time to mature before the core of the 1980s dynasty departed.

This reality only became fully apparent for a few years, with the Oilers still mustering enough strength to reach the conference finals for two consecutive seasons, as mentioned earlier.

However, it was evident that they were no longer the dominant force that had ruled the league in the preceding half-decade. In the 1992-93 season, the Oilers missed the playoffs for the first time since becoming an NHL team. 

Edmonton Oilers’s Return to the playoffs

During the 1996-97 season, the Edmonton Oilers clinched a playoff berth for the first time in five years, primarily due to outstanding goaltending by Curtis Joseph.

In the opening round, they orchestrated an upset by defeating the Dallas Stars, who boasted the league’s second-best record, in a thrilling seven-game series. The series-deciding game seven was won in overtime on a goal by Todd Marchant.

However, the Edmonton Oilers’ unexpected playoff success ended as the Colorado Avalanche emerged victorious in the subsequent round.

The following season, 1997-98, Joseph led the Oilers to another surprising first-round upset. After falling behind 3-1 in the series against Colorado, the Oilers orchestrated an impressive defensive streak, holding their opponents scoreless for eight consecutive periods to win the series in seven games.

In the second round, the Oilers faced off against the Dallas Stars again, but this time, the Stars came out as the victors. Over the next six years, the Oilers managed to secure playoff berths four times, yet they were consistently eliminated after the first round in each postseason appearance.

Despite their recent success on the ice, the Edmonton Oilers encountered off-ice challenges. Owner Peter Pocklington had explored the possibility of relocating the team to Minnesota during the 1990s. 

Cal Nichols spearheaded the EIG, committed to preserving NHL hockey in Edmonton. The deal was officially sealed on May 5, preventing the Oilers from becoming the third Canadian team to relocate in the 1990s and the fourth former WHA team to move in consecutive years.

The NHL supported the Edmonton Oilers in this endeavor. In the 1998-99 season, the Oilers were placed in the Western Conference’s Northwest Division.

A significant moment in the team’s history occurred on November 22, 2003, when the Oilers hosted the 2003 Heritage Classic, which marked the NHL’s first regular season outdoor hockey game.

This event celebrated the Oilers’ 25th season in the NHL. The Oilers faced the Montreal Canadiens in front of a record-breaking NHL attendance of more than 55,000 fans at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton. The Oilers were defeated 4-3 in that historic game. Unfortunately, the team failed to make the playoffs in 2003-04.

The Oilers grappled with the challenges of being a small-market franchise in the following years. However, after the NHL’s 2004-05 season was canceled due to a labor dispute, a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between NHL owners and players was established.

This CBA introduced a league-wide salary cap, requiring all teams to adhere to budget constraints, which the Oilers had managed for years. 

Thanks to these changes, Edmonton acquired critical players like Chris Pronger, a former Hart and Norris Trophies winner, and Michael Peca, a two-time Frank J. Selke Trophy recipient, before the 2005-06 season.

The Edmonton Edmonton Oilers experienced inconsistency during the initial months of the regular season, particularly in their goaltending and offensive performance.

Goaltenders Ty Conklin and Jussi Markkanen faced challenges in the net, and Michael Peca encountered difficulties with his offensive contributions.

Nonetheless, mid-season acquisitions, including defensemen Jaroslav Spacek, goaltender Dwayne, Dick Tarnstrom, Roloson, and left winger Sergei Samsonov, provided a significant boost.

These additions helped Edmonton conclude the season with 95 points, securing the final playoff spot in the Western Conference ahead of Vancouver.

Despite Detroit’s superior regular season record, the Oilers executed a remarkable six-game upset, marking their first playoff series win since 1998. Edmonton then advanced to face the San Jose Sharks in the Conference Semifinals. 

The 2006 Stanley Cup Finals saw the Edmonton Oilers face off against the Carolina Hurricanes. In Game 1, the Oilers squandered a 3–0 lead, lost their starting goaltender, Dwayne Roloson, to a knee injury for the series, and ultimately fell 5–4 when Carolina’s captain, Rod Brind’Amour.

Subsequently, the Oilers turned to Jussi Markkanen in the net for the remainder of the series. Despite trailing 2–0 and 3–1 in the series, the Oilers managed to force a Game 7 with a 2–1 victory in Game 3, a short-handed overtime winner by Fernando Pisani in Game 5, and a 4–0 shutout by Markkanen in Game 6.

However, the Oilers fell short in their comeback bid, as the Hurricanes secured a 3–1 victory in Game 7 to claim their first-ever Stanley Cup.

Edmonton Oilers’s Collapse and ten-year playoff drought

During the 2006 off-season, the Edmonton Oilers witnessed the departure of several key players. Four days after their loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, Chris Pronger surprisingly requested a trade for personal reasons.

Subsequently, Pronger was traded to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Ladislav Smid, Joffrey Lupul, and three draft picks. 

Nonetheless, the Oilers succeeded in re-signing Dwayne Roloson and Fernando Pisani. Despite these roster changes, the Oilers faced considerable challenges during the 2006–07 season, posting a 32–43–7 record, their worst performance since the 1995–96 season.

As a result, they finished in 11th place in the Western Conference. Injuries and illnesses plagued the team throughout the season, leading to a flux roster, with emergency call-ups filling vacant spots.

In the 2007–08 season, the Oilers began with a 16–21–4 record in the first half. However, they demonstrated improvement in the second half, going 25–14–2 in their final 41 games to finish with a record of 41–35–6.

Despite this recovery, they narrowly missed qualifying for the playoffs, ending the season in ninth place, just three points shy. 

In the same season, the franchise changed ownership when Daryl Katz, the owner of Rexall pharmaceutical company, acquired the team from the Edmonton Investors Group.

In addition, the Edmonton Oilers announced a restructuring of their hockey operations, with Kevin Lowe moving to the position of president of hockey operations and Steve Tambellini taking over as his replacement.

 One notable achievement during the season was Oilers goaltender Dwayne Roloson, who became the oldest goaltender to play 60 NHL games in a single season.

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After the season, the Oilers decided to part ways with head coach Craig MacTavish and appointed Pat Quinn as his successor.

With the departure of Roloson at the end of the season, the Oilers signed Nikolai Khabibulin as their new goaltender. 

However, Heatley declined the trade to Edmonton and was subsequently acquired by the San Jose Sharks. Following the season, Tom Renney took over as the head coach of the Oilers.

Several other players, including Mike Comrie, Marc-Antoine Pouliot, and Ryan Potulny, entered free agency. This period they have also marked the retirement of radio announcer Rod Phillips, who had served as the Oilers’ play-by-play announcer since the 1973–74 season. Phillips called ten specific games in the 2010–11 season before retiring. 

The 2010–11 season marked significant changes in the Edmonton Oilers’ roster, with Shawn Horcoff being selected as the team captain, succeeding Ethan Moreau.

By this point, Horcoff had become the longest-serving player on the Oilers’ roster. The season also saw the NHL debuts of talented young players, including Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, and Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson. Despite the infusion of youthful talent, the Oilers struggled to make headway in the standings. 

To secure promising prospects and draft picks, the Oilers traded Dustin Penner to the Los Angeles Kings on February 28, 2011. 

The Edmonton Oilers were at the bottom of the standings as the season concluded, granting them the first overall pick in the upcoming 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

The Oilers selected Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and several other highly regarded prospects with the first overall pick. During the 2011 off-season, the team made several moves to strengthen their offense and defense.

Notably, they re-acquired fan favorite Ryan Smyth from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for Colin Fraser and a seventh-round draft pick. 

On May 17, 2012, approximately a month after the conclusion of the 2011–12 season, the Oilers announced that they would not renew the contract of head coach Tom Renney. 

A week later, Ralph Krueger was appointed as the new head coach, having been promoted from his previous role as associate coach during the previous season.

Three days after this announcement, the Oilers reached an agreement with highly sought-after free-agent defenseman Justin Schultz.

In the 2012–13 season, he faced a delayed start, initially scheduled for October 11, 2012, due to a labor lockout imposed by NHL franchise owners following the expiration of the NHL’s CBA. 

On January 23, 2013, to ensure the long-term viability of the Edmonton Oilers in the city and to support the revitalization of downtown Edmonton, the City of Edmonton council voted 10–3 in favor of a deal to build a new $480 million arena in the city’s downtown core, set to open for the 2016–17 season.

Rogers Communications acquired the naming rights for the new 18,641-seat arena, and it was officially named Rogers Place, further securing the Oilers’ presence in Edmonton.

After the Oilers found themselves mathematically eliminated from the playoffs for a seventh consecutive season following 41 games into the shortened season, the team took significant management and coaching changes.

Steve Tambellini’s contract as general manager was terminated, and former head coach Craig MacTavish was appointed to replace him.

Following the season’s conclusion, on June 8, MacTavish made another change by firing head coach Ralph Krueger after just one season. Two days later, it was announced that former Toronto Marlies head coach Dallas Eakins would succeed Krueger.

MacTavish’s early player moves as the Oilers’ general manager occurred during the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, where Edmonton used their seventh overall selection to draft defenseman Darnell Nurse.

On December 15, 2014, after 31 games into the 2014–15 season, MacTavish announced the termination of Dallas Eakins as head coach.

MacTavish temporarily assumed the role of interim coach while Todd Nelson transitioned into the position for the remainder of the season. The new identity for the team was announced on February 25, along with the release of their new logo on April 2.

Despite off-season changes, the Oilers faced ongoing struggles and finished behind Arizona in the NHL during the 2014–15 season.

It marked a particularly challenging season for the team, ranking as one of their worst since becoming an NHL franchise.

Edmonton Oilers in McDavid–Draisaitl era 

On April 18, the Edmonton Oilers secured another Draft Lottery victory, their fourth in six seasons, which propelled them from the third-overall pick to the coveted first spot.

A significant management shift occurred on April 24 when Craig MacTavish was relieved of his position as general manager.

He was succeeded by Peter Chiarelli, former Boston Bruins general manager, who also took on the role of president of hockey operations as part of broader changes. 

The following day, Chiarelli continued to make deals, trading another second, third, and seventh-round draft pick to the New York Rangers for goaltender Cam Talbot and the Rangers’ seventh-round draft pick.

On May 19, Todd McLellan was announced as the Oilers’ new head coach. McLellan, who had previously been with the San Jose Sharks, mutually agreed to part ways with the Sharks on April 20 after they failed to qualify for the 2015 playoffs. 

On June 4, more coaching changes occurred as Keith Acton and Craig Ramsay were dismissed from their positions. In a further shake-up, the Oilers also altered their scouting staff on June 22. 

Further alterations occurred on October 7, as the Oilers opted to start the 2015–16 season without a designated team captain for the first time since joining the NHL in 1979.

Instead, Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Andrew Ference, who had previously served as team captain, were all named alternate captains.

On February 27, 2016, with their playoff hopes dashed, the Oilers dealt defenseman Justin Schultz to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

In return, they received a third-round pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. Schultz had faced a difficult season, managing just 10 points in 45 games before the trade.

After the 2015–16 season, the Oilers geared up to bid farewell to their historic home, Rexall Place, which had been their arena since 1974.

They were all set to make the transition to the brand-new Rogers Place. On April 6, in their last game at Rexall, the Oilers celebrated the occasion with a resounding 6–2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.

Before the game, a ceremony celebrated the arena’s history, with Oilers alums, including Mark Messier and Wayne Gretzky, taking one last skate around the rink.

In a noteworthy one-for-one trade on June 29, Edmonton traded all-star winger Taylor Hall to the New Jersey Devils, receiving defenseman Adam Larsson in return. This was followed by signing impending free agent Milan Lucic to a seven-year contract. 

Connor McDavid, at the age of 19, was appointed as the Oilers’ 15th captain on October 5. This historic moment made him the NHL’s youngest team captain, breaking the previous record of Gabriel Landeskog, the Colorado Avalanche’s captain.

A few days later, the Oilers continued to reshape their roster by trading Nail Yakupov to the St. Louis Blues and signing free-agent defenseman Kris Russell.

In the 2016–17 season, he marked a triumphant return for the Edmonton Oilers, ending their 11-year playoff drought. Cam Talbot, the team’s netminder, played a pivotal role with solid performances in goal.

McDavid, who led the league with 70 assists and 100 points, clinched the Art Ross Trophy and the Hart Memorial Trophy as the team’s most valuable player.

Additionally, Talbot set a new franchise record with 42 games won by a goaltender, surpassing Grant Fuhr’s 40 games won during the 1987–88 season.

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In the opening round of the playoffs, the Edmonton Oilers secured their first series victory since 2006 by defeating the San Jose Sharks.

They clinched the series with a 3–1 win in Game 6. Unfortunately, their playoff journey stopped on May 10 when they suffered a 2–1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks in Game 7, ending the second-round series.

Later, the Oilers secured the services of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl with eight-year contracts, valuing McDavid’s deal at $100 million and Draisaitl’s at $68 million., with annual cap hits of $12.5 million and $8.5 million.

Heading into the 2017–18 season, the Oilers had high expectations following their surprising performance in the previous season. However, they regressed, finishing with a disappointing record of 36–40–6 and missing the playoffs for the 11th time in 12 seasons.

Despite the change in management, the Oilers continued to struggle, posting a 35–38–9 record and only qualifying for the playoffs once in 13 seasons.

The Oilers displayed promise in the 2019–20 season, achieving a record of 37–25–9 by March 12, 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced a season suspension.

Edmonton was selected as one of the two host cities for the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs and qualified as the fifth seed in the Western Conference. However, they were upset by the Chicago Blackhawks in four games during the preliminary round.

In the 2020–21 season, the Oilers secured the second position in the North Division with a 35–19–2 record, largely thanks to Connor McDavid’s remarkable 105-point season, making him only the ninth player in history to reach that milestone in 53 games.

Leon Draisaitl also had an outstanding season, finishing as the runner-up in the NHL league, scoring 84 points. 

In the playoffs, the Oilers faced the Winnipeg Jets, who finished third in the North Division in the First Round. Unfortunately, the Oilers were swept in four games, with three losses occurring in overtime, including the triple-overtime final game. 

In the 2021–22 season, the Edmonton Oilers accomplished a significant milestone by concluding the season with a record of 49–27–6, marking their first 40-win season since 2017.

Connor McDavid had a career-best performance, amassing an impressive 123 points, and the Oilers secured the second spot in the Pacific Division. 

Although they faced initial challenges, the Oilers overcame adversity and clinched a nail-biting series with a Game 7 shutout, propelling them to the Second Round.

In the Second Round, they squared off against their provincial rivals, the Calgary Flames, in a series that revived memories of their last showdown in 1991.

The battle between these two teams was intense, resulting in the Oilers emerging victorious in five hard-fought games. This series became part of the iconic Battle of Alberta, renowned for its high-scoring games and physicality.

Moving on to the 2022–23 season, the Oilers showcased remarkable offensive prowess as three players, Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, each achieved the 100-point milestone.

This trio’s accomplishment marked the first NHL season since 1995–96, where a single team had three players reach the 100-point mark.

Edmonton concluded the season with a remarkable 50–23–9 record, amassing 109 points, and secured the second seed in the Pacific Division.

This positioned them for another opening-round playoff clash with the Los Angeles Kings, mirroring the previous year’s matchup.

Connor McDavid had a career-defining season, notching an astounding 153 points, setting the record for the highest single-season point total in the salary cap era.

Despite defeating the Kings in six games, the Oilers were eventually eliminated in the Second Round by the eventual Stanley Cup champions, the Vegas Golden Knights, also in six games.

Edmonton Oilers’s Team information

Edmonton Oilers’s Jerseys

The original logo introduced in 1972 was the brainchild of James Harvey, a graphic designer employed by an Alberta-based public relations firm known as Francis, Williams, Johnson, and Payne LTD. This design sported the now-iconic colors of blue and orange, albeit in a reversed configuration from their more recognizable appearance in later seasons.

The dominant color was orange, with blue accents. In the early games of the 1972 season, the player names were conspicuously absent from the uniforms, instead bearing the word “ALBERTA” in that space. However, player names were added around the season’s midpoint as the Oilers transitioned to exclusively representing Edmonton.

Notably, these jerseys featured the player numbers positioned high on the shoulders, deviating from the standard placement on the upper sleeves.

In the 1975–76 season, a notable change was made to the jersey, featuring a blue base with orange trim. The logo used on promotional material, and programs remained consistent.

However, the home jersey featured a logo with a white oil drop against a dark orange background, accompanied by the team name in deep blue. The away jersey, on the other hand, incorporated an orange-printed logo.

When the Oilers debuted in the NHL in 1979, the alternate logos were discontinued, solidifying the jersey’s most renowned form. Nevertheless, there were slight variations in the logo’s appearance on specific jersey editions.

Minor adjustments were made to the numbering, lettering, and collar during the team’s early NHL campaigns. From 1982 to 1989, Nike supplied the Oilers’ jerseys.

Edmonton Oilers’s Jerseys

The foundational design of the Edmonton Oilers’ jerseys remained consistent until 1996, when a shift occurred in the team’s color scheme, transitioning to midnight blue and copper with red accents.

These alterations also included the removal of shoulder bars and cuffs from the away jersey and the addition of the “Rigger” alternate logo on the jersey’s shoulders.

The home jersey followed suit a year later by shedding the shoulder bars. This design persisted until 2007.

In 2001, the Oilers unveiled their inaugural alternate third jersey, a creation by then-minority owner Todd McFarlane and his production studio.

This new uniform departed significantly from previous Oilers designs, altogether omitting the original Oilers logo and copper and red. Midnight blue was paired with two shades of silver/grey, and the primary logo featured An oil drop crowning a set of flying gears.

Various elements of this logo paid homage to the team’s five Stanley Cup titles and the ten team captains up to that point.

The shoulders of the jersey showcased a silver shield with “OILERS” over a modified oil-drop gear. The jersey’s sleeve numbers were embedded within the white sleeve stripe.

During the 2003 Heritage Classic, the Oilers sported their 1980s white uniform, albeit combined with the contemporary navy pants.

In 2007, coinciding with the NHL’s adoption of Reebok Edge jerseys, the Oilers retained their team colors but introduced a new jersey style.

Notable changes included the elimination of waistline stripes in favor of vertical piping, with sleeve stripes appearing solely on the inside of the elbow panels.

This shift also marked the retirement of the “Rigger” and the McFarlane third jersey, along with its associated logos. 

In 2008, the Oilers added a new alternate jersey that resembled their historic blue-and-orange away jersey from the dynasty era.

For the 2009–10 season, it became the team’s central home jersey, returning blue and orange as primary colors and relegating the midnight blue-and-copper jersey to an alternate role.

They revealed their white road jerseys at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, with the midnight blue jersey retained as the third option before being phased out in 2012.

In 2015–16, the Oilers introduced a famous alternate jersey inspired by their original WHA design, featuring orange as the primary color, earning it the nickname “Surge of Orange.” In the 2016 Heritage Classic, they wore these orange alternates. 

To celebrate the franchise’s 40th NHL anniversary in 2018–19, the Oilers returned their classic 1980s blue jerseys for several home games, facing original Smythe Division rivals.

Before the 2019–20 season, they introduced a minimalistic midnight blue alternate jersey. These midnight blue alternates were worn during home playoff games in the 2021 and 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs.

In the 2020–21 season, a “Reverse Retro” alternate uniform was introduced, featuring a reversal of the orange and blue positions from the team’s crest.

In the 2022–23 season, the Edmonton Oilers returned the 1980s blue and white jerseys and kept the alternate midnight blue jerseys.

They also introduced a new “Reverse Retro” uniform based on the 2001–2007 alternate but with orange replacing silver in the trim. The oil drop was also changed to orange to match the standard logo.

The Oilers donned specially designed uniforms for their appearance in the 2023 Heritage Classic. 

The blue jerseys had a significant oil drop, a blue number, and the team name in blue at the bottom on a white ribbon.

The uniform had cream letters with orange accents on the back, and the pants and gloves were brown to look like old-fashioned hockey gear.

This design was inspired by the Edmonton Mercurys, who won gold in the 1952 Winter Olympics for Team Canada.

Edmonton Oilers’s Mascot

The Edmonton Oilers’ mascot, introduced on September 26, 2016, is a Canadian lynx named Hunter. The Canadian lynx was chosen due to its significant presence in Alberta, the most populous habitat for this species.

Additionally, it garnered the most votes overall during the selection process. The name “Hunter” pays homage to the original Oilers owner, William “Wild Bill” Hunter. On Hunter’s jersey, the number 72 is prominently displayed, signifying the year of the Oilers’ establishment in 1972.

Hunter is known for his lively interactions with the crowd and his ability to whip up enthusiasm among fans.

He carries a portable drum skillfully to entertain the audience and lead them in spirited chants of “Let’s Go Oilers!” while maintaining a rhythmic beat.

Edmonton Oilers Octane

The Edmonton Oilers Octane, the cheerleading team for the Edmonton Oilers, made history as the first cheer squad associated with a Canadian NHL franchise.

Their introduction sparked mixed reactions within the Edmonton community, with some individuals even launching petitions to oppose the integration of cheerleading into the Canadian hockey scene.

The Octane made their debut performance on December 14, 2010, during a home game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Edmonton Oilers, the No. 1 Popular Hockey team in Canada 6

The inaugural team comprised 19 cheerleaders, all women aged 18 to 29, donning uniforms that paid homage to the original Edmonton Oilers jerseys, adding skirts and knee-high boots for a distinctive look.

This decision coincided with the team’s move from Rexall Place to the newly established Rogers Place for the 2016–17 season.

Additionally, the OEG revealed plans to hold auditions for a newly formed, co-ed group named the Oilers Orange and Blue Ice Crew, designed to serve as “brand ambassadors” for the upcoming season.

Edmonton Oilers’s Team Captains

Please note that this list encompasses the Edmonton Oilers’ captains in the NHL and the WHA.

  • Al Hamilton, 1972–1976
  • Glen Sather, 1976–1977
  • Paul Shmyr, 1977–1979
  • Ron Chipperfield, 1979–1980
  • Blair MacDonald, 1980–1981
  • Lee Fogolin, 1981–1983
  • Wayne Gretzky, 1983–1988
  • Mark Messier, 1988–1991
  • Kevin Lowe, 1991–1992
  • Craig MacTavish, 1992–1994
  • Shayne Corson, 1995
  • Kelly Buchberger, 1995–1999
  • Doug Weight, 1999–2001
  • Jason Smith, 2001–2007
  • Ethan Moreau, 2007–2010
  • Shawn Horcoff, 2010–2013
  • Andrew Ference, 2013–2015
  • Ryan Smyth*, 2014 (one game)
  • Connor McDavid, 2016–present

*Ryan Smyth served as captain for a single game in 2014.

Edmonton Oilers’s General Managers

This list encompasses the Edmonton Oilers’ general managers from the NHL and WHA.

  • Bill Hunter, 1972–1976
  • Bep Guidolin, 1976–1977
  • Brian Conacher, 1977–1978
  • Larry Gordon, 1978–1980
  • Glen Sather, 1980–2000
  • Kevin Lowe, 2000–2008
  • Steve Tambellini, 2008–2013
  • Craig McTavish, 2013–2015
  • Peter Chiarelli, 2015–2019
  • Keith Gretzky (interim), 2019
  • Ken Holland, 2019–present

Edmonton Oilers Hall of Fame

On September 7, 2022, the Edmonton Oilers unveiled their Hall of Fame, dedicated to celebrating people who have contributed significantly to the team since its start in 1972.

The first group of inductees in 2022 featured esteemed figures like Al Hamilton, Jari Kurri, Grant Fuhr, Wayne Gretzky, Paul Coffey, Mark Messier, Glenn Anderson, Rod Phillips, Kevin Lowe, and Glen Sather. 

These luminaries had previously seen their respective banners ascend to the rafters in recognition of their outstanding contributions. Furthermore, it was announced that two more individuals would join this prestigious group.

On September 20, it was disclosed that Lee Fogolin and Ryan Smyth would be added to the esteemed list of honorees.

The official induction ceremony for Fogolin and Smyth occurred on November 3, 2022, during a pre-game event ahead of the Oilers’ matchup against the New Jersey Devils at Rogers Place.

Starting in 2023, Oilers enthusiasts were granted the opportunity to actively participate in the nomination process for future Oilers Hall of Fame Classes.

The 2023 Oilers Hall of Fame Class induction ceremony coincided with the 2023 Heritage Classic weekend event, held from October 26 to 29.

On September 20, 2023, the Oilers announced the induction of Charlie Huddy and former team captain Doug Weight as the two distinguished members of the 2023 Hall of Fame class.

Huddy and Weight received their official enshrinement in a special ceremony before the Oilers faced the New York Rangers on October 26.

Edmonton Oilers’s Hockey Hall of Fame honourees

The Edmonton Oilers have strong affiliations with several Hockey Hall of Fame inductees. These individuals have left a lasting legacy in the world of hockey.

Among them is Jacques Plante, who briefly played for the Oilers in the WHA and was inducted in 1978. Plante is widely regarded as one of the greatest goaltenders in hockey history, having led the Montreal Canadiens to six Stanley Cups during the 1950s and early 1960s.

Norm Ullman, who also had a stint with the Oilers in the WHA, gained induction in 1982. Ullman enjoyed an illustrious two-decade career with the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs, amassing 1,229 points. He is one of the most prolific forwards gracing the NHL.

Wayne Gretzky, often called “The Great One,” was enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1999 upon retirement. Gretzky played for the Oilers for ten seasons, leading them to their first four Stanley Cup victories. Many people consider him the best hockey player ever.

He still holds the NHL records for most goals, assists, and points. Jari Kurri, a key player drafted by the Oilers in the 1980 NHL Entry Draft, entered the Hall of Fame in 2001, becoming the first Finnish player to achieve this distinction. Five Stanley Cup victories marked Kurri’s ten-year tenure with the Oilers.

Goaltender Grant Fuhr, a prominent figure during the “dynasty era,” was inducted in 2003. In 2004, Paul Coffey joined the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. Mark Messier, inducted in 2007, is often regarded as one of the most outstanding leaders in professional sports. 

Glenn Anderson, the last Oilers player to join the Hall of Fame in the 2000s, received this recognition in 2008. Adam Oates, an elite playmaker, was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2012. Oates played 60 games with the Oilers after signing a one-year contract in 2003.

At his retirement, he was the fifth-highest assists contributor in NHL history with 1,079 assists. Chris Pronger, a defenseman who played a pivotal role in the Oilers’ 2006 Stanley Cup run, was inducted in 2015.

The most recent Edmonton Oilers player to be inducted is Kevin Lowe, who was part of the team from 1979 to 1992 and 1996 to 1998. Following his playing career, Lowe transitioned to head coach and subsequently assumed the role of general manager for the Oilers.

Alongside the players, the Hockey Hall of Fame has also recognized six critical contributors to the Oilers’ achievements as builders.

Glen Sather, who served as the Oilers’ coach from 1976 to 2000 and played a pivotal role in their capture of four Stanley Cups, earned his induction in 1997.

Roger Neilson, inducted in 2002, briefly worked as a video analyst for the Oilers during the 1984 Stanley Cup Playoffs. In 2003, famous broadcaster Rod Phillips received an award from the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Pat Quinn, who coached the Edmonton Oilers in 2009, was honored after passing in 2016. His brief tenure saw the team finishing at the bottom of the league with a record of 27–47–8.

Clare Drake, who was inducted in 2017, was the head coach of the Edmonton Oilers during the 1975–76 WHA season. Ken Holland, the current general manager and president of hockey operations for the Oilers, received his well-deserved induction in 2020.

Ken Hitchcock, who took the reins as head coach of the Edmonton Oilers during the 2018–19 NHL season, earned his induction in 2023.

FAQs about the Edmonton Oilers

How many Stanley Cups did the Oilers win?

1983–84, 1984–85, 1986–87, 1987–88, and 1989–90. Additionally, they have secured 7 Conference Championships in the seasons 1982–83, 1983–84, 1984–85, 1986–87, 1987–88, 1989–90, and 2005–06.

The team has also earned the Presidents’ Trophy twice in the seasons 1985–86 and 1986–87, and they have claimed Division Championships 7 times in the following seasons: 1978–79 (WHA), 1981–82, 1982–83, 1983–84, 1984–85, 1985–86, and 1986–87.

What is Connor McDavid’s salary?

USD 12.5 million

What’s the lowest-paid NHL player?

As of the 2022-23 season, the NHL’s minimum salary for hockey players stands at $750,000 per year. Although players receiving the minimum salary may not see as much playing time as their higher-earning counterparts, they remain essential contributors to their respective teams.

How much money does Connor McDavid make in endorsements?

According to a recent Forbes report, Connor McDavid’s off-ice earnings are substantial, estimated at $5 million.

This places him in a tie with Alexander Ovechkin for the highest off-ice income in the league, according to Forbes’ rankings.

How much did Wayne Gretzky make a year?

1993-94: $3,000,000

1994-95: $6,540,028

1995-96: $6,545,400

1996-97: $3,963,000

What is Connor Bedard’s salary?

Connor Bedard inked a 3-year deal with the Chicago Blackhawks worth $13,350,000, encompassing a $285,000 signing bonus.

The contract guarantees Bedard a total of $13,350,000, with an annual average salary of $4,450,000. During the 2023-24 season, Bedard is set to receive a base salary of $855,000 and a signing bonus of $95,000. His cap hit for the season will be $950,000.

Who has the highest NHL salary?

However, there’s a caveat to this distinction: Tied for the top spot is also Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, who boasts an income of $17.5 million.

Of this sum, the 28-year-old MacKinnon is set to earn $16.5 million directly from his on-ice performance, thanks to the eight-year, $100.8 million contract extension he inked last autumn.

Is the highest-paid NHL player?

Let’s glance at significant dates on the 2023-24 NHL calendar. As the 2023 NHL preseason kicks off, the league’s top talents are gearing up for a lucrative season.

For the second consecutive year, Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon will retain his status as the highest-paid player, boasting an impressive $12.6 million cap hit.

Why is Connor McDavid successful?

He operates at a different level than his peers—his skating speed, ability to read plays, and swift puck movement in congested areas require spectators to resort to slow-motion replays for a full appreciation. McDavid’s early journey in the league appears to diverge from the experiences of legends like Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux.

How much is Connor McDavid’s card worth?

In the past 30 days, approximately 293 Connor McDavid trading cards were exchanged on eBay. These cards commanded an average price of $179.34.

Prices for these cards varied, ranging from as low as $0.19 for a 2022 Upper Deck #70 Connor McDavid card by Upper Deck to as high as $4,161.00 for a 2015 O-Pee-Chee Platinum #190 Connor McDavid BGS 9.5 card by O-Pee-Chee Platinum from 2015.

Does Connor McDavid donate money?

The captain of the Edmonton Oilers, Connor McDavid, has introduced an initiative known as “The Connor McDavid Foundation.”

This foundation supports organizations focused on individuals’ health, well-being, and education in challenging circumstances. In 2022, McDavid made a generous pledge of $10,000 to the Ben Stetler Fund in memory of Ben, who tragically lost his life to brain cancer.

Why is Gretzky so rich?

As he concluded his career, he earned comparisons to legendary figures such as Babe Ruth, Michael Jordan, Tom Brady, and Michael Phelps.

Following his retirement, Gretzky joined the ranks of those iconic sports figures who skillfully leveraged their public image to embark on new career ventures, ultimately amassing wealth far beyond what he had enjoyed during his days as a player.


  1. Edmonton Oilers – Wikipedia
  2. Edmonton Oilers Championship 5 Rings Set – PunkDark
  3. Edmonton Oilers – Absolute Astronomy
  4. Edmonton Oilers – Britannica for Kids
  5. Edmonton Oilers – Everything Explained Today
  6. You Don’t Quit the Oilers; You Get Quit by the Oilers – Sports Team History
  7. 2015 Entry Draft – The Sports Daily
  8. Edmonton Oilers – Absolute Astronomy
  9. Flyers vs. Maple Leafs Preview North of the Border – 973espn.com
  10. Manny Malhotra Autographed Picture – Hell’s Valuable Collectibles
  11. Patrick Marleau Retirement Hall of Fame – Sporting News