Reason #49 of '101 Reasons Why I Heart Edmonton'

Joey Moss

By Emil Tiedemann

“I don’t think he [understands] how much of an impact he’s made,” said Stephen Moss about his older brother Joey. “But I think after his 50th birthday, with all the attention he’s getting, I think he’ll probably, a little bit, sense that he’s done a lot.” 

Joey Moss has done a lot, not just for the Oilers as their locker room attendant, but for the whole of Edmonton. Moss, who has Down Syndrome, has become a local celebrity of sorts, and a symbol of allegiance and perseverance, never allowing his disability to hold him back from anything.

The one and only Joey Moss! Photo by 'The Globe and Mail.'

The Edmonton native’s long career with the Oilers organization began back in 1984, when Wayne Gretzky - who was dating Moss’ older sister Vikki at the time - invited him into the team’s locker room. He had been working at a local bottle depot back then, but had to give up that job when Gretzky landed Moss a position handling water and towels, running errands, and other locker room duties for the Oilers. 

Moss enthusiastically accepted his new position and never looked back, even after Gretzky left Edmonton in 1988. 
In fact, he took on even more responsibility, joining the Edmonton Eskimos establishment in 1986, after Gretzky asked then Eskimos’ equipment manager Dwayne Mandrusiak if they could use another body in their locker room. 

It is Moss’ enthusiasm, positive attitude, tenacity, and motivational spirit that has made him a positive role model not only for people with disabilities, but for all Edmontonians and Canadians in general. It is what inspired the naming of the mural in the accompanying photo (on 99th Street), as well as the Joey Moss Cup and Joey’s Home, which offers assisted and independent living options for people with developmental disabilities. 
 
Joey Moss with his good friend Wayne Gretzky, both of whom are major figures in the history of the Oilers.


It is why he was the recipient of the 2003 NHL Alumni Association’s Seventh Man Award, “in recognition of outstanding behind-the-scenes service to the league.” And it’s why he was awarded the Mayor’s Award in 2007, the Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012, and was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in 2015. 

“He’s a part of the family here,” Eskimos General Manager Ed Hervey said in a 2013 interview. “His presence inspires us. Joey means so much to the Edmonton community.” #joeymoss

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