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Edmonton Oilers Former Owner Peter Pocklington’s Life Captured Using Lego

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Yesterday, on April 15, CBC News posted that an Alberta man and his family had created what was called an “ode” to former Edmonton Oilers owner Peter Pocklington with Lego. Perhaps not everyone would have chosen Pocklington – he’s a bit of a character, or perhaps that’s part of the intention.

As CBC News cited the Lego builder, “It makes for great theatre.”

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The Lego builder behind this “theatre” is Red Deer salesman and father of four Joel Cadieux, who’s been building a biopic – the term for a biographical movie – about the maverick businessman who once owned the Oilers. What makes this project so interesting is that he’s doing it out of Lego. To create this biopic, he’s built 100 scenes that depict Pocklington’s time with the Oilers and he’s sharing a photograph of a new scene each day on social media. 

Larger Than Life, But Smaller Than Life, Too

As CBC News notes, it’s a larger-than-life story about Peter Pocklington, who’s perhaps more infamous than famous because he’s the former Oilers’ owner who actually sold the Great Wayne Gretzky to another NHL team to keep his business afloat. Cadieux, who’s described as an avid Oilers fan, used the smallest of scales to portray Pocklington’s dramatic life – “Peter Puck” as he was called in his heyday.

In an interview with CBC Radio’s Edmonton AM, Cadieux noted, “The deals that he made and the things that they did, you just can’t do that anymore, so it makes for great theatre.” 

Pocklington, who was a high school dropout, became one of the wealthiest men in Canada for a time. First, he owned a steakhouse; then he made a fortune in selling cars; then he owned the new Edmonton Oilers on the cusp of them becoming an NHL team. And, during his time as the owner, the Oilers became a dominant NHL team – in fact, a dynasty.

The Oilers’ line up of stars was the thing of legends – Jari Kurri, Grant Fuhr, Paul Coffey, Mark Messier, Glenn Anderson, and on and on. That line up was topped off when Pocklington brought the magnificent young star Wayne Gretzky to the team in 1979. Then, about ten years later, he shocked the world by “trading” Gretzky to the Los Angeles Kings.

Hmmm, Pocklington Approves of the Biopic

In the CBC interview, Cadieux reported that he had spent months researching Pocklington’s life story, selecting his favorite moments, and then charting these moments scene by scene. Pocklington, who now lives in California, obviously approves of the biopic and called Cadieux a few weeks ago from his home in Palm Springs to tell him just that.

Cadieux noted that he “just about fell out of my chair. He just expressed that he was excited to see the project. We talked a little bit about life in Palm Springs and then he had to go. It was quite the conversation.”

This Was Not Cadieux’s First NHL Project

There must be something about eccentric owners that floats Cadieux’ Legos. Four years ago, Cadieux and his four children built 100 Lego scenes that tracked the life of Harold Ballard, the former owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs. That project took Cadieux four years to complete. Now, sadly, it might have taken a pandemic to give him the inspiration to go for another big project. Again, it was an eccentric NHL owner that provided the subject matter.

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Cadieux loves telling stories, and being an Oilers’ fan led him to Pocklington. As he noted, “I can’t draw or paint or do anything like that. But if you ask me to do something in Lego, for some reason, it comes naturally.” He added that, when crazy things are illustrated in Lego, “people kind of get a kick out of that.” 

Congratulations to Cadieux on the completion of his second project. It’s obvious that other artists cannot represent life in the way he does, because if they were able to do so CBC wouldn’t be interviewing him.

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