2001 - present
|Team Colors||White, Yellow and Black|
|Head Coach||Peter Thoresen|
|Team Captain||Juha Kaunismäki|
Stavanger Oilers is an ice hockey club from Stavanger, Norway. They currently play in the GET-ligaen, which is the top division in Norwegian ice hockey. The club's official name is Stavanger Ishockeyklubb, but it is commonly known as Oilers. Oilers play their home matches in Siddishallen, but plans to build a new arena within the next couple of years.
Stavanger Oilers were established as a company team by Finnish expatriate workers in 2000. However, it quickly developed plans for establishing itself as an elite club, partly as a reaction to the poor economic management of Viking Hockey, which had traditionally been the dominant hockey club in Stavanger. The key man behind the club's establishment was the Finnish business man Hartti Kristola, who withdrew his economic support from Viking to focus on Oilers.
By the time Stavanger Oilers played their first official game, in the autumn of 2001, the club had already attracted players from the higher echelons of Finnish hockey, as well as a number of former Norwegian national team players. These played alongside amateur local players in what could only be characterised as an uneven side. Still, Stavanger Oilers, starting at the bottom of the league system, met inferior opposition in their first few seasons. They went through the 2001/02 season unbeaten, scoring 304 goals. The club top scorer, Finnish forward Jari Kesti, scored or assisted on 226 of them.
The 2002/03 went almost as well, as Oilers went through their first 18 games unbeaten. Ahead of the season, the team was strengthened by even more Finnish imports, as well as two of Viking Hockey's star players, Tommy Edlund and Thomas Kristensen. The club's first-ever loss came away against Gjøvik, and it was followed by another loss the next day by the same team. Oilers also got beaten by local rivals Bergen, who were the first team to defeat Oilers in Siddishallen. However, Oilers still secured first place at the end of the season, with Bergen finishing second. Star player Jari Kesti scored 150 points from Oilers 296 goals, and he was joined in the top scorer lists by his countrymen Tomi Suoniemi and Jarkko Ollikainen, who both scored more than 100 points. Promotion to the Get-ligaen was secured courtesy of five victories in the qualification play-offs, with the only defeat coming against Bergen in a penalty shoot-out.
The team was further strengthened ahead of its first season in the Get-ligaen, as further Finnish players and some young Norwegian talents joined Oilers. The start of the season was impressive, with Lillehammer beaten 5-1 in the opening match, followed by a 10-0 away win at Manglerud/Star in the second match. The first defeat came at home against fellow promotees Bergen. At the end of the season, Oilers finished 6th in the table. Again, Jari Kesti was the club top scorer, for the third season in a row. In the playoffs, Oilers beat Trondheim by three games to one in the quarter finals, winning the final game in sudden death in front of a sell-out crowd of 2600 people in Siddishallen. Teemu Kohvakka scored the deciding goal with only 14 seconds left of the first period of sudden death. In the semi finals, Oilers were beaten by Storhamar in three straight games.
The second elite season saw two of the best players leave the club: Jari Kesti signed for Vålerenga and Christian Dahl Andersen went to Swedish side Arboga. Both were to come back during the same seasons, after unsuccessful stints in their new clubs. Meanwhile, owner Hartti Kristola withdrew his financial backing, and a local business executive, Tore Christensen, took over control of the club. Oilers' performances varied throughout the season, and after a humiliating loss against bottom side Bergen, Matti Riekkinen decided to resign as the team coach. He was replaced by Swede Gunnar Johansson January 2005. The team finished the season in 7th place, losing against Vålerenga in the play-off quarter finals.
The new head coach brought a new profile in player recruitment, and Sweden replaced Finland as the main market for new players. Ahead of the 2005/06 season, Swedish players Bengt Höglund, Martin Johansson and Fredrik Sundin were brought in, along with the Norwegian national team player Snorre Hallem. The strategy was successful, as the club enjoyed its best season so far, finishing in 4th place in the Get-ligaen. In the playoffs, Oilers beat Sparta Warriors by four games to two in the quarter finals. The semi finals against second-placed Stjernen turned into a thriller, with each team winning their home games until Oilers decided the series through a 2-1 victory in the seventh and final game of the series, away at Stjernehallen. However, the first-ever play-off final featuring a hockey team from Stavanger ended in a humiliating defeat in four straight games against Vålerenga.
The team was further strengthened for the 2006/07 season, with the recruitment of players such as Henric Höglund from Stjernen and Norwegian national team players Marius Trygg and Lars Peder Nagel, which saw Oilers start the season as one of the favourites for the title. However, at the end of the season, they finished in 3rd place, which was still the club's best result to date. This was the third time that a team from Stavanger had won the bronze medals in the league, with Viking winning the bronze twice in the past. At the end of the season, past players Jari Kesti and Tomi Suoniemi were also honoured, as their respective shirt numbers, #7 and #22, were officially retired by the club. In the playoffs Comet were beaten by four games to two in the quarter finals, while Oilers lost to Storhamar Dragons by the same score-line in the semi finals.
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