The 1980s were a glorious time for ice hockey fans and enthusiasts. In fact, the National Hockey League (NHL) was dominated by two teams during the decade. This, of course, was the Edmonton Oilers and the New York Islanders. The Oilers were led by The Great One, Wayne Gretzky – while the Islanders featured the amazing skills of Butch Goring, Mike Bossy and Bryan Trottier. These players made up “The Dynasty” of the Islanders and would go on to capture the Stanley Cup four years in a row.
While the Islanders dominated the League from 1980 to 1983, the Oilers would take over from 1983 to 1990. In terms of comparison, both teams had incredible players with a true finesse for ice hockey. However, the Oilers – led by Gretzky – dominated the ice with skillful and cunning play. The Islanders were a more rugged team – and while they too scored at high volumes – were known for their all-out aggressive style of play. Let us take a look at some of the highlights and accolades for both clubs in the 80s:
The Islanders have won four Stanley Cups to date. They also captured six Conference Championships, along with six Division Championships over the years. The Islanders were a true hockey force in the early to mid 80s. They were even in competition with their cross-town rivals, The Rangers. This rivalry continues today and is known as the Subway Series – a name also shared by the Yankees and Mets rivalry. Many fans – at the time – compared the Islanders with the Oilers. This was especially true when it came to scoring, checking, face-offs and overall team play and skills.
The Edmonton Oilers have won five Stanley Cups to date. They also captured seven Conference Championships, along with two President’s Trophy Cups over the years. With nine Division Championships, the Oilers are a legacy team and known to be one of the best in NHL history. During the 80s, the Oilers won the Stanley Cup a total of five times. They were also in competition with Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and especially Montreal and the Quebec Nordiques. The Great One, Wayne Gretzky was the team leader – and helped produced several championships across the board.
The debate about which team was better continues even today. Whether you love the Oilers or Islanders – one thing is for sure – both clubs truly excelled in the 80s and captured the hearts and imaginations of countless fans across North America and the world.