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The Edmonton Oilers are a professional North American ice hockey team in the National Hockey League (NHL). The team plays in the Pacific division of the NHL’s Western Conference. The franchise was founded in 1972 as the Alberta Oilers of the World Hockey Association (WHA). They changed their name to the Edmonton Oilers in 1973 and joined the NHL as part of the NHL-WHA merger in 1979. The Oilers are tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins for the most Stanley Cup championships since the NHL-WHA merger with five. The Oilers won Stanley Cup championships in 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, and 1990 to create one of the greatest dynasties in the history of the NHL. The team also appeared in the 1983 and 2006 Stanley Cup Finals but lost to the New York Islanders and the Carolina Hurricanes, respectively.
The Oilers play their home games at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta. The Oilers have retired the jersey numbers of seven former players, but no two players stand out more than Mark Messier and Wayne Gretzky. Messier is considered to be one of the best players of all time and won five Stanley Cup championships with the team between 1979 and 1991. Wayne Gretzky, who is considered to be the greatest hockey player of all time, played with the team between 1978 and 1988. He won four Stanley Cup championships and eight straight NHL MVPs between 1979 and 1987. He also led the league in scoring for seven straight years between 1980 and 1987. Oilers fans still hold resentment towards former owner Peter Pocklington for trading Gretzky to the Los Angeles Kings in 1988.