As Oilers chase Stanley Cup rings, former Oiler Esa Tikkanen sheds some of his | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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As Oilers chase Stanley Cup rings, former Oiler Esa Tikkanen sheds some of his

Edmonton Oilers Esa Tikkanen, right, is congratulated by teammate Wayne Gretzky after scoring the Oilers second goal in the first period of Stanley Cup Final action against the Boston Bruins in Edmonton on May 26, 1988. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP - Rusty Kennedy

Several Edmonton Oilers are trying to win the first Stanley Cup rings of their careers. Esa Tikkanen is getting rid of his.

The 59-year-old from Helsinki won four Stanley Cups with the Edmonton Oilers between 1985 and 1990, and another with the New York Rangers in 1994.

The current Oilers are trying to win the Stanley Cup for the franchise's first time since Tikkanen, Mark Messier, Jari Kurri and company hoisted Lord Stanley's trophy in 1990.

Wayne Gretzky was Tikkanen's teammate on Cup-winning teams in 1985, 1987 and 1988 before Gretzky was traded to Los Angeles.

Tikkanen has put three of his four Oilers championship rings up for sale, as well as his New York ring.

He's hanging onto his first championship ring with the 1985 Oilers, but the rest are on the auction block.

"The first one, I gave it to my dad because I said when I started in the NHL 'if I win the Stanley Cup, you're going to get the first one' and I'm never going to sell that one," Tikkanen said Monday from Finland.

Edmonton is duelling the Florida Panthers in the 2024 Cup final. Tikkanen says he's been pulling late hours in Helsinki watching his former team chase hockey glory he knows well.

"Edmonton has to be ready and score the goals when they have a chance," Tikkanen said.

Former Oilers owner Peter Pocklington and Oilers players Petr Klima, who died last year, and Willy Lidstrom have sold Stanley Cup rings.

Tikkanen's Rangers ring has drawn attention as the first from that 1994 team to be offered for public sale, said Classic Auctions president Marc Juteau.

The bidding, which closes June 25, was up to almost US$28,000 for the Rangers ring and ranged between $11,000 and almost $16,000 for the Oilers' versions Monday.

"This is probably the significant set of rings ever to be offered from the very important Oilers' dynasty," Juteau said. "It's from a guy that used to play on the same line as Wayne Gretzky."

Pocklington's 1990 Stanley Cup ring sold for almost $85,000, according to Classic Auctions' website.

Tikkanen's been storing his rings in his shaving kit, and says his children aren't interested in them. Tikkanen says selling four of five made sense to him.

"They are special, but everybody knows I won five Stanley Cups. The rest of the rings have been sitting 30 years in my bag and never fitting my fingers any more," he explained. "Why not? So many players have been selling theirs already. They're wasting time in my bag. Hopefully somebody, an Edmonton Oilers or Rangers fan buys them."

The former forward denies the sale of the rings is related to reports in Finnish media last year of his tax dispute with the Finnish government.

"No, no, nothing. I was talking to Marc about selling my rings before that," Tikkanen said.

NHL teams have won back-to-back Stanley Cups in the last 34 years, but no team has been as dynastic since the Oilers claimed five in seven years between 1984 and 1990.

"I played there eight years and won four Stanley Cups with them," Tikkanen said. "We had great teams with the Edmonton Oilers with Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, myself, Mark Messier, Glenn Anderson, Paul Coffey, Grant Fuhr, Kevin Lowe and Randy Gregg, we had a great team all around."

Tikkanen made his NHL debut during the 1985 playoffs. He retired in 1999 after 14 seasons.

Known as "super pest" for his needling style, he was also a prolific playoff producer. Tikkanen's 72 career post-season goals is tied for 16th all time with current Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 10, 2024.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2024
The Canadian Press

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