Joey Moss never played hockey for the Edmonton Oilers, but his impact was immense among those who did.
Current and former Oilers flooded social media with memories about the longtime dressing room attendant after Moss died at 57 on Monday.
Moss, who was one of 13 children and born with Down syndrome, joined the Oilers during the 1984-85 season and was with them for four Stanley Cup championships. He was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in 2015, and his presence profoundly impacted most every Oilers player, including The Great One, Wayne Gretzky.
“We are so saddened to hear the news of Joey’s passing,” Gretzky said in a statement shared by the Oilers. “We were all lucky enough to be part of his life for a lot of years. His love for life always brought a smile to anyone who met him. Whether it was a coffee before practice or a big hug after a great win or tough loss, he would put life in perspective. He will be missed but not forgotten. Once an Oiler always an Oiler.”
Moss was renowned for his loud and proud singing of “O Canada” before each game but also for his sense of humor, upbeat attitude and strong work ethic. It rubbed off on Connor McDavid, who posted a picture of himself, Gretzky and Moss on Twitter.
McDavid’s teammate Ryan Nugent-Hopkins took to social media to express his grief over Moss’ death.
Buffalo Sabres forward Taylor Hall, who played his first six NHL seasons with the Oilers, also shared condolences.
Other former Oilers, like Milan Lucic, Cam Talbot, Pat Maroon, Ryan Strome , Sam Gagner and Esa Tikkanen, also shared memories and condolences following Moss’ death.
Moss’ impact was even felt by non-Oilers, like Max Domi and Johnny Boychuk, who also shared condolences.