‘The Oilers Rig’ started as a small project with no intention of growing to the size that it did. In June of 2013, Alex Thomas founded the website as a small project. That June, Thomas was finishing up his freshman year of college at Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts, when he decided to take up an Edmonton Oilers blog.
Prior to ‘The Oilers Rig’, Thomas worked on other writing projects regarding the Oilers but never was able to stay engaged. That all changed when then General Manager Craig MacTavish started his hot pursuit of free agent forwards Nathan Horton and David Clarkson. Naturally, Thomas had thoughts about the rumors and wanted to share them.
It was then when he decided to contact Lowetide about setting up a blog, which he graciously agreed to give advice on. From that point on, ‘The Oilers Rig’ was born.
The website was supposed to be a little hobby for Thomas that he’d almost certainly leave behind
following his graduation in the spring of 2016. It was supposed to just showcase his work and be a fun project. It was never meant to grow as big as it did. Thomas was shocked when the website’s NHL Draft live blog, just days after launching, reached 1,000 views. He was stunned a few days later, on July 5th , when that traffic doubled to 2,000 views when free agency opened up and the Oilers were quite busy.
From that point on, the website only grew. Thomas was fortunate enough to make guest appearances on TSN1260, visit Edmonton twice, make countless friends through Oilers Twitter and the blogosphere, get a compliment from Steve Pinizzotto, and create a brand that has become recognizable in one of the most passionate sports markets in the world.
It wasn’t just Thomas that got ‘The Oilers Rig’ to become one of the most popular Oilers blogs on the internet. Dave Gordon and Jeremy Thompson were instrumental in that first summer, back in 2013, in making the Rig what it became. Dave was outstanding behind the scenes and with writing, while Jeremy pushed the first Rig podcasts hard and helped build the brand.
Jackie Bondurant came on board shortly after and helped give the Rig a bigger social media presence. The efforts she put in on that front helped take the Rig to a new level, really growing the outreach on social media. She and Dave also worked tirelessly to organize the first MS ‘Rig Radio Live’ fundraisers, which were amazing.
Megan Fowler and Avry Lewis-McDougall also joined up in the coming years, and they’ve stuck around for almost seven years now, becoming two of the most important pieces in the website’s history. In fact, you can still hear and read their work today.
There were countless contributors over the years too, like Bret Litke, Romulus’ Apotheosis on Twitter,
Rex Codex Libris, WheatNOil and so many more.
In the summer of 2021, Thomas left ‘The Oilers Rig’ after eight years to become the play-by-play voice of the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack. Now, a year after his departure, a new era begins as the website shifts to ‘The Oil Rig’, in conjunction with ‘The Win Column’.
We’re excited about the new era but never forget the past. You can read past work from Alex, Megan, Avry and more here: https://thesportsdaily.com/category/the-oilers-rig/.
Find new content from ‘The Oilers Rig’ crew here: Blog
And Oilers Rig Radio podcast, now Oil Rig Radio, can be found here: Oil Rig Radio