Edmonton Oilers’ locker room attendant, Joey Moss, is getting pumped for the third game of the Oilers/Ducks series in Edmonton’s Rogers Place. Game three will take place on Sunday, April 30, 2017. Puck drops at 5 p.m. Edmonton time.
After 32 years with the Oilers, Joey Moss has seen many players and staff come and go. His charisma was apparent before game five of the Oilers/Sharks series when viewers caught a glimpse to which Edmonton hockey fans have long since grown accustomed.
At least 3.8 million Canadians observed Joey Moss leading the national anthem at Rogers Place. Usually, he is located behind the Oilers’ bench, but this time, he stood at attention with the microphone in his hand, dressed in Oilers colours and did justice to the national anthem. The fans went wild.
The backstory of Joey Moss is a long and moving one. He was born with Down Syndrome and now at the age of 53, he has been the Oilers’ mainstay on staff. He is there because of Wayne Gretzky’s former relationship with singer Vikki Moss, who is Joey’s sister. After Wayne Gretzky and Vikki Moss broke-up, Gretzky’s grandmother made sure Joey was not placed in an institution as was the the general medical protocol back to the 1960’s, and earlier, for people with Down Syndrome, a chromosomal disorder. Gretzky had an aunt with Down Syndrome and they saved her the suffering of institutionalization as well. All efforts were made by Gretzky’s family to not allow Joey the same possibility of institutionalization.
Wayne Gretzky states, “The thing about people with Down Sydrome is that they have unconditional love. My aunt was the same way and we treated her like everyone else. We never looked at her differently…That is how it is with Joey…After awhile, I thought maybe there was something the Oilers could find for him to do that was more comprehensive and rewarding and would help him have an easier life”. Gretzky made the altruistic request to then Oilers’ coach and general manager, Glen Sather, and the rest is history.
Barrie Stafford, former Oilers’ Equipment manager from 1981 to 2010, states, “Joey…is the most famous guy in Edmonton and doesn’t even know it…he represents more, on a larger scale. What he has accomplished covers a gambit that includes dealing with disabilities and equality and inclusion”.
This article was written by Donna Murchie.