How Bobby Hull helped build the Oilers dynasty and how close Edmonton was to drafting Teemu Selanne

Jason Kay
draft day 1988

How much credit does Bobby Hull deserve for the Edmonton Oilers’ dynasty of the 1980s? A fair bit, according to the Golden Jet, in this edition of Throwback Thursday.

In the July, 1988 edition of The Hockey News, Hull told Stan Fischler that Oilers’ GM Glen Sather got the idea for remaking his team when “myself, Ulf Nilsson and Anders Hedberg terrorized his Oilers in the last years of the WHA. He’d get so frustrated watching us throw the puck around that he finally vowed to build a team on our (European-style) lines.”

Hull also told Fischler “the biggest mistake of my life” was rejecting a trade to Edmonton to play alongside Wayne Gretzky. “I could have kicked in 50 goals with Wayne centering me.”

Finally, Hull recounts the craziest arena he ever played in was in Cherry Hill, N.J., during his WHA days. He said the rink crested at center, making icing the puck a chore. And, apparently, the building had no dressing room for the visitors. “We’d put our uniform on in the local Holiday Inn and bus over to the rink where we’d lace on our skates. It was the only place where you had to get dressed in shifts it was so small.”

Other nuggets from the July, 1988 edition:

• Cartoonist Dave Elston skewers Maple Leafs owner Harold Ballard for milking fans on a ticket price hike

Ballard

• the Minnesota North Stars fired their most of their scouting department within hours of selecting Mike Modano first overall

• Chicago defenseman Doug Wilson on one of the consequences of suffering an injury. “Every time I’m hurt, my wife gets pregnant.”

• Florida police say they’re close to making an arrest in the murder of former NHLer Brian Spencer

• Medicine Hat coach Barry Melrose said he expected Trevor Linden, the second overall pick of the 1988 draft, to be captain of the Canucks “in about three years.” Merlose nailed it; Linden assumed the captaincy full-time in 1991-92.

• Hartford Whalers’ GM Emile Francis calls The Hockey News “a garbage paper” for reporting criticism of some of its draft picks

BM

• Flames GM Cliff Fletcher proclaimed Teemu Selanne “the best player in the draft.” Selanne went 10th overall to Winnipeg. Oilers GM Glen Sather was pushing hard to engineer a deal to move up to 11 to get Selanne, but nixed it when Winnipeg opted for the young Finn. Instead, the Oilers took Francois Leroux in the 19th slot.

• And you could get an NHL team jersey, starting at $39.95. For some reason, the Capitals sweater cost $64.95.

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