Tulsa, Oklahoma has a hockey team. In fact, Tulsa has had a hockey team for most of the last 100 years – almost as long as Oklahoma has been a state.
They’re called the Oilers (themed for the area, like most of the other teams – Drillers in baseball, Roughnecks in Soccer), or the Ice Oilers, if you’re local and a holdover from when the baseball team was also called the Oilers, and the hockey Oilers were called the Ice Oilers to differentiate the two.
The Tulsa Oilers play in downtown Tulsa at the BOK Center. On the night I was recently there, they had tables set up to display memorabilia from the team’s history, which was cool to be able to see for a team that doesn’t have any permanent displays in the arena.
The original Tulsa Oilers – not the currently operating franchise – played for the American Hockey Association from 1928 until the 1932-1933 season, when they moved to St. Paul, Minnesota and were the St. Paul Greyhounds, before returning to Tulsa mid-season. The AHA ceased operations in 1942 due to World War II, and the Oilers with it.
After the war, the Oilers existed in a second iteration as part of the United States Hockey League for six years, until its closure at the end of the 1950-51 season. A third iteration played in the Central Professional Hockey League, or Central Hockey League, from that league’s second season beginning in 1964 until that league ceased operations in 1984.
Enter the current iteration of the Oilers. They were first part of the Central Hockey League (a different CHL from the earlier one), which operated from 1992 until 2014, and the Oilers were one of only two teams to play all 22 seasons of CHL operation. The Oilers then joined the ECHL in 2014. Their first NHL affiliate was the Colorado Avalanche, which explains the Oilers’ color scheme of maroon, navy, and white, though on their December 22nd game they wore black and white throwback jerseys. In the 2018-2019 season, they’re the ECHL affiliate of the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL and the St. Louis Blues of the NHL.
I bought glass seats and, at the last minute, ended up taking a friend and her sons, none of whom had ever seen a hockey game before. Unfortunately, now they’re all spoiled for life after seeing a high-scoring game (a 6-5 loss to the Mavericks, after the Oilers goalie forgot to come back for the beginning of the 3rd, even with the Oilers’ hat trick) while sitting on the glass and having a fight directly in front of them. Halfway through the second, my friend sent a message to our group chat saying, “hockey game needs to be added to the tradition!” After the game, the boys begged to go skating on the rink set up outside for Winterfest.
Get someone else hooked on hockey this winter. Lots of places have a team you can get tickets to watch, be it ECHL, AHL, or NHL. Who knows – you could be seeing the stars of tomorrow. Or creating them.