During the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs, there’s one very important person missing from the Oilers dressing room. Former locker room attendant and superfan, Joey Moss, passed away in October 2020, leaving a hole in the organization.
Throughout the post-season, the organization and fans have been doing what they can to keep Moss’ legacy alive.
The team plays La Bamba in Moss’ honour as their win song, a brass bust has been put in the dressing room, Moss is shown singing O’ Canada on the jumbotron and the Ice District Plaza is unofficially known as the “Moss Pit”.
WATCH MORE: Edmonton sports legend Joey Moss dies at 57
Now, when the ticket is drawn in the Edmonton Oilers Playoff Mega 50/50 on June 6, three organizations close to the heart of Joey Moss will also be winners.
“Joe wouldn’t think much of it,” said former Elks equipment manager Dwayne Mandrusiak. “When everyone else was talking about how great he was, Joe was just cleaning up.”
The proceeds for the multi-million dollar draw will benefit the Special Olympics, Edmonton Down Syndrome Society and the Winnifred Stewart Association to honour the legacy of Moss.
“Joey Moss crashed through barriers in the world of sport for people with intellectual disabilities,” said Celina Comeau, general manager of Special Olympics Alberta – Edmonton. “Special Olympics Edmonton looks forward to continuing his legacy.”
Moss lived with Down Syndrome, and originally connected with the NHL team in the ’80s, when Wayne Gretzky dated Moss’ sister. He joined the Edmonton Elks football team around the same time, in the same role under Dwayne Mandrusiak, who was equipment manager for the team.
“You pick up the phone when Wayne Gretzky calls,” Mandrusiak told Global News. “He asked if Joe could come work for us. I said I don’t know the circumstances. I don’t know if Joe will like it here or not.”
Moss spent more than three decades working with the Elks and Mandrusiak. Moss even stayed with the Mandrusiak family.
“He taught my boys patience and inclusion,” Mandrusiak said. “They grew up together. It was really an amazing thing to watch.”
When asked about sharing his stories of Moss with Global News, Mandrusiak replied “anything for Boss Moss,” showing the deep bond the pair shared over their 30 years working together.
“We called him Boss Moss because anyone who came to work with us at training camp, he was their boss.”
“He made everybody better because he worked so hard,’ Mandrusiak said. “He’s there. He’s always going to be there.”
The former Elks equipment manager remembered a time when he told Joey that he could have a beer with him when he finished vacuuming. He found him on the floor of the dressing room picking up sock lint with his fingers.
“I went ‘my goodness I’m going to have to pick up my game!'” he remembered. “We miss him a ton.”
Sliver Delorey also misses his friend and former coworker. Delorey first started working with Moss and the Oilers when he was a kid.
“He was my first boss,” he said. “I’m an eight to nine-year-old kid and he’s got me running around this room. He just never stopped being my boss.”
Delorey was an equipment manager with the Oilers. He said Moss had a special ability to help out those who had been cut or been traded.
“They come back, the first question they ask is where is Joe?” said Delorey.
Delorey said the different memorials like the anthem singing, playing his favourite song, the bronze bust in the dressing room, and now the 50/50 are keeping Moss’ memory alive.
“He’s being elevated to where he should have been the whole time,” Delorey said.
Delorey misses Moss’ kindness and ability to make people happy.
“That’s what the (extra) chromosome is… it’s the love-some,” Delorey said “They all get it and we all strive for it.”
Both Delorey and Mandrusiak agree that they wouldn’t be the same without Moss’ influence and neither would the City of Edmonton.
“Someone once asked me if I thought Joe would trade what he has to be what we call normal,” Mandrusiak said. “I said, ‘Not a chance, because what Joe had was special.'”