The Edmonton Oilers are an ice hockey team based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. They compete in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference of the National Hockey League. The Canadian province of Alberta, the land of prairies and oil fields, cowboys and oil derricks, was the homeland of many great players. It could not do without a World Hockey Association team. Bill Hunter, the owner of the Edmonton Oil Kings junior team, made countless attempts to bring the NHL team to Edmonton, but the NHL officials refused to establish a new franchise there. Finally, Bill Hunter managed to start a franchise within the World Hockey Association. Moreover, initially, the WHA intended to place two teams in Alberta – in Edmonton and Calgary. The first team was named “Oilers” in honor of the oil derricks, while the second club was given the name of “Broncos” in honor of cowboys. There are no oil derricks in Edmonton (all of them are located in the northern part of the province), but this name perfectly suits the highly industrial city. In the 1950s and 1960s, Edmonton was a hometown for a rather popular Oil Kings junior team.
The Calgary team was transferred to Ohio to become the Cleveland Crusaders before the first WHA season. Thus, it was decided to name the Edmonton-based team as “Alberta Oilers,” since it should present the entire province. It was also planned that the club would play half of its home games in Calgary. The color scheme included orange, white, and blue. The logo featured an oil droplet above the “OILERS” wordmark.
At the beginning of the first season, it became clear that rushing between two cities would be financially costly and exhausting. The Oilers ultimately did not play any host games in Calgary and reverted to the name “Edmonton Oilers” in the middle of the season.
Orange color in a team palette probably annoyed many people, since two more WHA teams exploited it. In 1974, blue became the key color of the club. The Edmonton Oilers emblem was also changed: the home jersey had a white oil drop on a red field; the away jersey had a blue drop on a white field.
In 1979, the Edmonton Oilers joined the NHL and lost most players except for four “protected” players. One of them was Mark Messier, a little-known 18-year old guy of Belarus origin, later on, considered one of the greatest ice hockey players of all time. Within several years, the franchise owners drafted Glen Anderson, Jari Kurri, Kevin Lowe, and Grant Fuhr, who played a significant role in the team’s success. As for the uniform, it was altered a little bit after joining the NHL. The main modifications were connected only with the logo.
Meaning and History
The Edmonton Oilers classically styled round logo has not changed over 40 years of franchise existence. Officially it was modified as much as six times, though nothing but the colors was altered. In 2011, the Oilers finally finished changing their core color to darker shades of blue and orange. These were the worst iterations of the logo, lasted much longer than they should. However, the Edmonton Oiler’s emblem itself has remained unchanged throughout the Oilers’ history.
1972 – 1973
The original logo Edmonton Oilers was introduced in 1972. It featured the “Oilers” wordmark inside a circle, both given in royal blue. The lettering was designed to look like flowing liquid. At the top, there was an orange oil droplet inside another blue circle.
1973 – 1979
The club owners adopted the original logo without any changes. It served as the team crest for six years.
1979 – 1986
The 1980 logo’s overall design remained unchanged, yet it was the period of first color shifts. Both the name of the team and the circle grew darker, as well as the oil droplet.
1986 – 1996
Another modification took place in 1987. The Oilers logo changed its main colors again: the orange shifted to a much more vivid shade, and the blue grew a little bit lighter.
1996 – 2011
The franchise fifth Edmonton Oilers logo, unveiled in 1997, probably changed the color palette the most. The colors of the team name and the main circle became even darker than in previous logos. Blue was darkened to navy blue, and the oil drop became copper. A thin red circle frame appeared around the logo.
2011 – 2017
The 2012 Edmonton Oilers logo was a kind of a step back as it was very close to the original one. Blue grew warmer and lighter. The oil drop was changed to orange from copper. The red ring was removed.
2017 – present
In 2017, royal blue was switched to navy blue in 1997 to accentuate the orange, which was brightened again. The Oilers classic circular design with dripping text and oil droplet remains the same.