|Updated: 6/25 6:16 pm
||Published: 6/25 6:12 pm
TULSA, OK – The Tulsa Oilers, an original member of the Central Hockey League, will enter the 2013-14 season under new ownership.
After 14 years under the leadership of Jeff Lund, Tulsa Oilers Hockey has been purchased by Wichita-based Steven Brothers Sports Management, LLC.
Rodney, Brandon, and Johnny Steven bought the Wichita Thunder in 2011 and now own both of the CHL’s remaining original franchises. The announcement was made at a press conference Tuesday inside the BOK Center, the Oilers home since 2008. The sale was finalized earlier this week and terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part of the next chapter of Tulsa Oilers hockey,” said Rodney Steven II. “This franchise has an outstanding history, an extremely loyal fan base, and one of the best arenas in the Central Hockey League. We are looking forward to working closely with Head Coach Bruce Ramsay, as well as the Oilers players and staff to make sure this team has everything it needs to be successful.”
The Steven brothers, well-known business leaders in the Wichita community, own and operate Genesis Health Clubs as well as several car dealerships in the Wichita area. Under the Steven brothers’ ownership, the Wichita Thunder has quickly climbed the ranks of the CHL to become one of the league’s most stable and successful franchises. In each of their first two years of ownership, the Thunder has advanced to the Ray Miron President’s Cup Finals and posted the CHL’s highest regular season winning percentage (.670) during that span. Now, the Steven brothers have their sights set on restoring the Oilers winning tradition.
“Our first priority is to put a strong, competitive team on the ice,” Brandon Steven said. “We need to win and win consistently. These fans in Tulsa deserve to watch a playoff-caliber team and a team that will compete for championships.”
In the months leading up to the start of the season, the Stevens will add to the existing staff in the Oilers front office and use resources to increase the Oilers exposure throughout northeast Oklahoma.
“Nothing would make me and my brothers happier than to see huge crowds packing the BOK Center throughout the upcoming season,” Rodney remarked. “We want to re-energize our existing fans but we also want to make a big push to reach new fans, to attract families, and to let everyone know that Tulsa Oilers hockey is the very best entertainment value in this entire region.”
Lund took over as Oilers General Manger when the CHL was reborn in 1992 and assumed ownership of the club in 1999 after buying the team from Chicago businessman, Horn Chen. Under Lund’s direction, more than 3.5 million fans have attended Oilers games over the last 21 seasons. Lund, who facilitated the Oilers move from the Tulsa Convention Center to the BOK Center, will maintain ownership of the Oilers Ice Center and the Tulsa Junior Oilers, a Tier III junior hockey team in the Western States Hockey League.