An interview with Terry Jones, veteran sports reporter
By Brandon Yip, Senior Columnist
The world of professional sports has been on hiatus since March due to COVID-19. Sports stations such as TSN and Sportsnet are replaying classic sports moments to fill airtime, along with broadcasting one-on-one Zoom interviews with ex-athletes reminiscing about past sporting feats. This month marks the anniversary when Wayne Gretzky won his fourth Stanley Cup as a member of the Edmonton Oilers.
It would also be his final championship as an Oiler and player. “The Great One” was a member of a dominant Oilers team considered by many to be the last great Canadian NHL dynasty team. On May 26, 1988, the Oilers won their fourth championship in five years. The team was noted for its high-offensive prowess led by “The Great One,” the speed and finesse of Glenn Anderson, snipers Jari Kurri and Craig Simpson, agitator Esa Tikkanen, the grit of Mark Messier, and the stellar goaltending of Grant Fuhr.
The 1988 cup final was also notable for a power failure that occurred at the Boston Garden on May 24 during the middle of game four with the game tied 3 to 3. After a long delay, the game was canceled by then NHL president, John Ziegler. Game four would later be replayed in Edmonton at Northlands Coliseum on May 26. But the temporary delay was just postponing the inevitable as the Oilers would win decisively 6 to 3 with Wayne Gretzky scoring the cup clinching goal on a power play—along with two assists.
For Terry Jones, veteran sports reporter for the Edmonton Sun, he remembers the 1988 cup final vividly. But he recalls not so much the action on the ice, but the lack of “electrical” action off the ice after the power went out inside the Boston Garden during game four. “I remember finding a corner of the rink where there was a light [that] was on from a secondary power source, found a garbage can, turned it upside down and wrote my column,” Jones said in an interview with the Other Press. “Nights like that you don’t forget.”
Jones also remembers the excitement and atmosphere at Northlands Coliseum when the Oilers were celebrating their cup victory. “[This] was also the night they won their fourth Stanley Cup and Wayne Gretzky gathered the team at centre ice for an impromptu team picture,” Jones said. “Every team in the NHL has done it every year since. It was [also the] year of Gretzky’s ‘Royal Wedding’ and you don’t forget attending something like that and the reception that followed. Of course, it also turned out to be the summer when Gretzky was sold to the Los Angeles Kings. So, there was that.”
Almost three decades have passed since a Canadian-based NHL team won the Stanley Cup. The last Canadian team to capture the cup was the Montreal Canadiens in 1993—defeating the Los Angeles Kings in five games. For Terry Jones, he is not optimistic that another Canadian NHL team will eclipse what the Oilers accomplished in the 1980s: “I’ll reply with Gretzky’s normal response to a question like that. ‘Never say never,’ he said. Things change. But in my lifetime, with 32 teams, the salary cap and so many other factors, I don’t expect to see it.”