Joey Moss was born September 25th, 1963, in Edmonton, Alberta. He was the 12th of 13 children for Lloyd and Sophie Moss. He was born into a family of entertainers and performers, and those skills helped him become the pulse of the Edmonton Oilers and the Edmonton Football Club for 35 years until he passed peacefully on October 26th, 2020, at the age of 57.
Oilers great Wayne Gretzky met Joey while dating his sister Vicki, and their friendship led to Gretzky asking Oilers GM and head coach, Glen Sather, if Moss could work for the team. He was hired in the fall of 1985, then joined the football team in the spring of 1986. He brought an endless of amount of joy, happiness and love to over 1,000 players and staff members and became a beacon in the community.
Joey was born with Down syndrome, but his parents ensured he was treated the same as siblings. His father passed in 1977, and Sophie raised him and his siblings as a single mother. She was an amazing woman, and the Moss family should be applauded for giving Joey the tools to thrive once he was given an opportunity to make a difference in the world. The greatest lesson he taught us is people will amaze you if you give them a chance.
Joey’s impact in the world reached much farther than inside two professional sports teams. He was an inspiration to those with Down Syndrome and other intellectual disabilities. He got involved with the Special Olympics, the Edmonton Down Syndrome Society and the Winnifred Stewart Association. His imprint on those three foundations will last a lifetime.
I’ve known Joey since 2001, but I didn’t know him nearly as well as those he worked with and lived with, so I reached out some of his friends and asked them to share what Joey meant to them — what he taught them, or a favourite memory which makes them smile.
In honour of Joey, I recommend having a beer, or a rum and coke (his two favourite drinks) while you read 57 of his friends celebrate the amazing 57 years he lived. Joey treated everyone the same, regardless of skillset or stature, so I listed them in alphabetical order. Joey loved them equally.
These are their stories, in their words. From hockey and football players, coaches, trainers, therapists, Olympians, friends, roommates and those he met through his charitable work.
Brian Benning, Defenceman
My Joe Moss story is about the vacuum. Joe would always vacuum the main dressing room after practice and would be rushing us to get out of the way so he could do his work. Sometimes he would threaten to send a guy down to the minors if he was putzing around taking his time.
When the main room was clear, Joey would take out the vacuum and get to work. He would start with plugging the vacuum in the wall and turn the corner and get to work. After a minute we would unplug the vacuum and it would stop working. He would yell at Sparky that the vacuum would not work. Sparky would say to pat the vacuum’s tummy. Joey did it and we would plug it in and it worked and Joey would yell at Sparky that it is working.
A minute later we would unplug it and Joey was yelling at Sparky that the vacuum is not working. Sparky would say tap it like the Fonz did the juke box on Happy Days. Joe would do it and we would plug it back in and it worked. He thought he was magical. And so proud. It was magical for us too.
I tell my kids to enjoy the game like Joey did. I have told my kids a ton of Joey Moss stories and I enjoyed and loved him every day I was with there. He brought a tear to my eyes then and again when I heard he passed. Cheers to Joe.
Matt Benning, Defenceman
I first met Joey when I was young hanging out in the Oilers locker room. My dad, Brian, was an Oilers alumni and would take me in the room once a year. We were immediately greeted by Joey who was enjoying a hot dog. I laughed because he said, “I’d like to talk but I’m eating a hot dog right now.” He always brought a smile or a laugh to the dressing room or anyone who interacted with him.
Moving on as a member of the Oilers, my favourite memory was my first season. As a younger guy you pick up pucks after practice, stay out longer than most, and all of that takes time, hence me being last off the ice all the time. One time he greeted me as I was coming into the dressing room by saying, “Hey if you don’t hurry up I’m going to send you to the minors.” That made me and the whole room laugh, which is something he did every day. Joe always had a great attitude and he cared so much about his job and about the team. He will truly be missed by everyone who had the honour to meet him.
Donny Brady, Halfback
Joey was just a genuine soul. He made all the players feel at home in the locker room and on the sidelines. He definitely was part of The Edmonton Football Club’s history and he set the standard for greatness. Not many people are able to touch and impact the lives of so many people in two countries, Canada and the United States. Joey is a person I was truly blessed to have spent time with and have in my life. I am very thankful for him. He truly will be missed.
Kyle Brodziak, Forward
Joey was loved around that dressing room. He was always there to put a smile on everyone’s face — the players, trainers, coaches etc. In an environment which can become pretty stressful at times, where the feeling around the room can become pretty tense, it was nice to have someone like Joey around. He was always there to lighten the mood, giving and taking jokes with whoever was willing.
Some of my favourite memories about Joey were from when I first came into the league. He was a huge wrestling fan, and when he used to dress up in his wrestling gear, or lack thereof, and wrestle with Dustin Penner in the dressing room, it was just pure entertainment.
He would have the entire room, along with the coaches and trainers, all rolling around laughing. He just had a knack for putting on a show and seemed to love getting the boys all fired up like that.
It was the same one evening when a few of us arranged to bring him to a local bar for an evening. All I can vision about that night now, was at one point looking over to the dance floor and I see Joey in the middle of the dance floor, dancing with some girls and basically stealing the show. It still makes me smile the same as it did that night. He was amazing to be around in any situation I was ever with him, and my heart goes out to not only his family, but whoever had the pleasure to get to know him. He will truly be missed by the masses.
Alan Clay, Executive Director Edmonton Down syndrome Society
I never got the chance to meet Joey Moss in person. His presence, however, surrounds me. It’s not his physical presence, nor the many photos and banners that families share of his association with their own kids over the decades, but rather his stature as a trailblazer for individuals born with Down syndrome.
It’s the vision of his mother Sophie who aspired to have people’s eyes opened to the abilities of their sons and daughters at a time when few services were offered to children born with Ds.
It’s the legacy, thanks to the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation, who in 2019 helped us open the Joey Moss Literacy Centre for Excellence. It was Sophie’s dream that the “legacy of literacy” would be Joey’s signature for children born with Down syndrome. Literacy is an essential life skill that will resonate throughout their lives.
The Joey Moss Literacy Centre for Excellence provides our families, health providers, educators and other professionals with access to services and resources that enhance the literacy development of all children born with Down syndrome.
On behalf of the Edmonton Down Syndrome Society, we extend our condolences to the family of Joey Moss, and to his many thousands of friends and colleagues in the sporting community.
We thank Wayne Gretzky and Edmonton’s two professional sports teams — the Oilers and Edmonton Football Club — for making Joey Moss part of their teams… part of their families… and through them, part of our larger community. Joey Moss was an ambassador for the Edmonton Down Syndrome Society, sharing the stage and podium with other adults in our community at public-speaking engagements across the country.
He last starred with his friends from the Edmonton Down Syndrome Society at our Uniquely Me fashion show a year ago this week. He loved to be in front of the camera and this year, that show he appeared in over the years is going ‘Hollywood’ and will be on province-wide television.
On November 23 at 6:30 p.m., Uniquely Me TV will premiere on CTV Alberta. We will be showcasing our incredibly talented children/adults and the services of our organization. They will be the stars of the show and we are so excited to bring this program to the big screen. We wish he could have tuned in to watch his friends at work and play.
Over the past several days, tributes have poured in from our families and communities of interest, sharing their stories about the impact Joey had on their lives, and those of their sons and daughters.
Heroes are people who inspire others to be better. Joey was a hero for me.
We will strive to follow in your footsteps.
You shattered ceilings for people with disabilities.
You became part of the fabric of professional sports in Edmonton.
He was a pillar of awareness. He moved mountains, guys.
Joey gave it all just being himself with all his heart — that’s how our community fell in love with him.
Jason Chimera, Forward
Legend. Icon. He was the heartbeat of the Oilers for so many years. I remember so many stories and lots I can’t say lol. I remember how much joy and energy he brought to the rink. He did not care if we won or lost. He always greeted me with a “Hey Chim,” in the morning and I always smiled and gave him a big hug.
He would do so much around the rink. Laundry, water for the benches, cleaning the room before and after. He was bigger than the Oilers and bigger than hockey. He was so much bigger than all that. He inspired me to be a better person and a better hockey player.
Joey was the ultimate teammate. He never asked for anything and gave you everything.
Andrew Cogliano, Forward
It truly saddens me to write this small note about my friend Joseph Moss, but I will do my best to capture how amazing of a man and how much happiness he brought to my life. When I think of Joey, I smile, I laugh out loud thinking about all the unforgettable memories we had together. As a rookie on the Oilers, a group of us young guys really gravitated towards Joey the minute we met him.
Joe wasn’t staff to us, he didn’t work for us, he was one of the boys, and during the highs and lows of a hockey season Joey was one reason to always be excited while we made the drive to Rexall.
When thinking about a favourite story about Joey, I really have too many. Movies, dinners, bowling, shopping, the list goes on. We did everything with Joe and we always thought we were doing him a favour, but as I think back we were the ones that needed Joe around, he was the one that brought real happiness to our lives.
My rookie year I was appointed by Sparky to make Joey’s breakfast every morning at the rink. Joe was like clockwork. Every morning he was dialed in to his jobs that needed to get done. He did his towels, vacuuming, and water bottles while all of us got our sticks and gear ready to go. I can still vividly remember sitting in my stall hanging with the guys and Joe would be eyeballing me from the far doorway.
He didn’t laugh, he didn’t say anything, but he just would stare at me and give me this look wondering what the heck I was doing. I remember sitting there and Sparky saying, “Joe is ready for his bagel and coffee, can you tell”.
I would pop up and I would see Joey sprint away to meet me in the kitchen. This was his time. He got his coffee all ready to go, he called all the boys to the kitchen island and I toasted his bagel. Once the bagel was ready to go I put on his favourite: peanut butter on one side and Cheese Whiz on the other. I would bring it over and Joey would rub his hands together and say, “Oh Mama” and dig right in. Joey’s bagel and coffee time brought all the boys in to hear stories and have some fun with Joe. Still today it is some of the best times of my hockey career, and not just my time with the Oilers.
I was Joey’s bagel guy and that’s something that I will always remember and hold dear to me because it was my time to take care of Joe. He didn’t realize that those times as he slammed back his coffee and bagels I had some of the happiest moments of my life.
Joey will be missed. I loved him and everything he stood for. He was a friend and I feel very grateful to have met him, to spend time with him and most importantly to be his teammate.
Rest in peace Joseph.
Andy Colorado (the name Joey called him).
Sliver Delorey, Assistant Equipment Manager
I started “working” for the Oilers when I was seven years old. I was told to help Joey. He was my first boss. And as I grew up I always called him Boss Moss. Even when I was an adult. Back when the team used to have “Champions” stores around the city, we had an agreement to host some practices at West Edmonton Mall. It was usually combined with the players staying after to sign autographs.
As a training staff, we took advantage of not having the locker room full and always got a few housekeeping items taken care of. One of those items was draining, cleaning and refilling the hot and cold tubs. We’d show up early, and while draining the tubs, we’d pack the gear for practice. Then Kenny or myself would clean the tubs and fill them back up, while the truck gets loaded.
With everything done and being ahead of schedule, we all took off to WEM. Practice starts and the guys are in the ice. That’s when “the question” hits. Kenny comes up to me and asks if I turned off the hose that was filling the cold tub? I answered, “No.” I was already busy loading the truck and didn’t go into the training room.
Kenny then goes down the list of training staff:
We all start realizing that by the time we get back to the room, it might be completely flooded.
Sparky and I start calling the Building Attendants (BA’s) and the Security Desk. Unfortunately, this was an era when cell phones weren’t as common as they are now and we couldn’t get a hold of anyone. We decide that since Stu was the most “free” at that time that we’ll send him back to the rink to check and turn it off and start dealing with the issue(s).
Stu drove like a mad man back to the rink, because 20 minutes later we get a call and he says that everything is fine! The tubs are full. The hoses are coiled up and put away. There’s even some chlorine pucks in the filters.
None of us can believe it! We all start questioning each other again! We were the only ones in the room! Staffy leads the questioning again.
STAFFY: Sparky, are you sure you didn’t do it?
SPARKY: No…definitely not.
STAFFY: Sliver, how about you? Are you sure, it wasn’t you?
SLIVER: Definitely not, I loaded the truck and left.
KENNY: No…I took a phone call with Doc about one of the boys and didn’t do it.
The next question, Staffy asks as BOSS MOSS is walking by…
STAFFY: Well who the hell turned off the hoses for the tubs?!
BOSS MOSS: I did it (and he just keeps walking)
We call Mosser back and ask him why he never told us earlier, when we were asking everyone about the tubs?
BOSS MOSS: Nobody asked me.
Good point, Boss Moss.
Side note: Stu got a speeding ticket on the way to the rink.
I’m so happy I got to spend so much time with Joey. He had a bigger impact on me than anyone when it comes to being able to slow down and accept everybody. He made me a better person. His mom and family deserve a lot of credit for raising an incredible man.
*Sliver shared many other great stories about Joey here.**
Dallas Eakins, Head Coach
I have many stories about Joey that had a positive impact on me and the team, but there was a very simple one that I will truly never forget. It is one I try and remind my family and our team of because of what I learned from it.
I was sitting alone in the assistant coaches office. I don’t remember if it was an off day or if the assistant coaches had gone home, but I was truly alone and in deep thought.
I was feeling down and having a quiet moment when Joey came walking in asking if my workout gear and towel was ready for the wash. He then looked at me and asked me if I was sad. I responded that I was okay. He then told me to smile. I gave him a half crack of a smile. That wasn’t good enough for Joey. He got animated and took both his hands and pulled the sides of his mouth up making a huge smile while yelling, “Like this coach, like this coach!” That made me laugh. I thanked him for the smile.
He then came right over to me and gave me a huge hug. I can still feel that hug to this day. I can feel it now. And I will never, ever lose Joey’s hug or his smile.
The world is very serious these days. We need to “smile like this” and hug like Joey.
Jordan Eberle, Forward
When Joey is talked about from people within the organization or current and ex-Oilers, often the stories you will hear are his love for wrestling, his annual Christmas La Bamba signing and his pre-game speeches, but for me his everyday presence is what I miss. Coming to the rink after a loss or a win Joey was always there with a smile and he brightened up your day. He was one of the guys and will always be remembered as a huge part of the Oilers organization. May he rest in peace.
TD Forss, Head Athletic Therapist
I first met Joey Moss when I started my new job with the Edmonton Eskimos in June of 2003, over 17 years ago. One of my earliest memories about Joey was when I was first introduced to him by Dwayne Mandrusiak. Dwayne said something like, “Joey, come over here, I want you to meet someone.” Joey came over and Dwayne said, “Joey, this is TD Forss, our new Athletic Therapist.” Joey stuck out his hand, I shook it and said, “Nice to meet you Joey,” and Joey said, “Nice to meet you CD Moss!”
From then on my nickname was CD! What I found out over the next few weeks was that was how everyone got their nickname. They way Joey pronounced your name was your nickname! Matthew was Mattnoose, McKenzie was Klesly, Ryan was Whyann, Robbie was Wobbie, Terrill was Carol… the list goes on and on. All of us with the last name Moss!
Funny, Joey’s boss, Dwayne Mandrusiak, his nickname was …Dwayne!
The thing I tell everyone about Joey was that whenever he entered a room, or was in a room talking or entertaining or left a room, EVERYONE would have a smile on their face. EVERYONE! That was one of Joey’s superpowers: he made everyone smile and feel happier.
We miss you Joey Moss.
Sam Gagner, Forward
Joey was a huge fan of wrestling. He had every WWE DVD you could think of and was constantly making us watch them. Whenever the WWE came to town we were the first to get tickets and we would just sit there as Joey would name off every wrestler and show us their signature moves. His favourite was John Cena’s “You Can’t See Me.”
He would even get in on the action himself and stage wrestling matches in the dressing room against anyone who would challenge him. I remember one time Joey told us the WWE was coming to town so we said we had to get tickets. It turns out it was a live pay-per-view event at Cineplex. We told Joey we can’t go to that, it’s going to be empty, but he insisted.
We showed up and there wasn’t a seat left in the theatre. I believe there was six of us, plus Joey, and the only place left for us to sit was on the stairs leading to the front row of the theatre. We thought Joey was going to be upset by that, but it couldn’t have been further from the truth. Being that close to the screen meant he didn’t miss any of the action and the landing area in front of the screen gave him all the room he needed to run around and perform all of the wrestler’s signature moves.
It didn’t matter that there was a theatre full of people watching him, this is what he was passionate about and he was going to enjoy it. We had a blast that day and learned so much from Joey in the process.
**Sam wrote a heartfelt article about Joey. You can read it here.**
AJ Gass, Linebacker
When I think of Joey Moss, a smile automatically follows. Joey was such a pure individual, whose outlook on everything was always positive. I remember during many a training camp, when my body and mind were both worn thin, every morning as I entered the locker room there was Joey with his cup of coffee and a smile, letting me know, “Look good bud.” Those words were all I needed to power me though another gruelling day of training camp. Before most games, Joey would come to my locker and let me know exactly what he thought we needed to do to win the game. He was never wrong.
Sue Gilchrist, CEO at Winnifred Stewart Association
Joey was one of a kind. He was an advocate, a philanthropist, an ambassador, and a peacemaker. He was a lot of things in his lifetime, but the thing he was the very best at was being a friend.
Joey helped the Winnifred Stewart Association raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to help improve the lives of people with developmental disabilities. He did a lot for our organization, but the thing we treasure most is his friendship.
Joey’s roommate and good friend of many years Craig said, “I miss Joey very much. We both worked at Rogers Place. I was in the kitchen; Joey was in the locker room. We went to Red Deer together. (this was when Joey was inducted in the hall of Fame). We went swimming in the hotel pool. We were also in the parade together. I miss Joey.”
Regardless of what was going on in his life, or who was in the room (celebrities included), he always made his friends feel welcome and let them know he cared. Our organization is honored to be working with the Moss family on the #ThumbsUpAlways campaign in support of the Joey Moss Memorial Fund to carry on his legacy of advocating for employment and other meaningful opportunities for people with disabilities.
Joey was a one of a kind friend, and he will never be forgotten.
Randy Gregg, Defenceman
Although we were all close in age, Joey was much like our son. When the team won, the entire city was proud of us. When we lost, the players often felt that we had let down our fans. But Joey would never change his love for the team and the players, just like our own sons and daughters at home. He showed unconditional compassion for the Oilers and all the players who were lucky enough to stroll through that dressing room all those years. Although he never scored a goal or blocked a shot, Joey was a large part of the glue that pulled those players together to form such great championship teams.
Eric Gryba, Defenceman
There are so many stories that I could choose from, but the one that sticks out is when we moved from Rexall to Rogers.
The security staff at Rexall was obviously very familiar with Joey and he was never stopped or hassled for an ID when arriving at the rink. Well, the first night Joey walked into Rogers Place, there were new security staff that didn’t have the same relationship with Joey. This didn’t faze him, he walked right past them and when they tried to question him he stuck out his hand and confidently said, “Hall of Fame!” He wasn’t talking about Gretz or any of the other legends, he was talking about himself!
His personality was larger than life and I feel so grateful to have had the opportunity to call him my friend.
Taylor Hall, Forward
Joey was one of a kind. There’s no doubt about it. Like everyone will tell you, he had a way of brightening your day with just a smile or a wink. He could tell you the same joke 100 times and it would make you chuckle every time. I miss that a lot.
I always thought one of the coolest things about Joey was how he embraced his popularity. He enjoyed being the rockstar. When we would walk into a restaurant with him, he loved the fact that everybody knew who he was. He embraced it and there’s nothing wrong with that.
He was an inspiration for so many and will continue to be. RIP Joey. You were one of a kind.
Brad “Harry” Harrison, Assistant Equipment Manager
When I think of Joey Moss the first thought that enters my mind is, ‘Friend’. Not many people get to go to work every day and see their friend. I was one of the lucky ones to have Joey Moss in my life on a daily basis. His presence alone brought so much energy, joy and happiness to a room. Not only will I remember the smile on his face, I will forever remember the smiles he left on others as he laughed and teased them.
Rest easy my friend.
JJ Hebert, Senior Director, Hockey Communications & Media Relations
Joey Moss was a special person, and I don’t mean because he was born with Down syndrome. He was special because it didn’t matter who you were, how bad your day was or what time of day it was, he had the incredible ability to put a smile on your face.
The trainers were always Joey’s “go to” guys and they did a remarkable job building a relationship and support system for him. They deserve a lot of credit! (Barrie, Kenny, Sparky, Stu, Langer, Harry, Shane, Farmer, T.D., Happy, Seve, Ryan, Chad, Joel… I’m sure I’m forgetting some).
I had so many great experiences with Joey while working together with the Edmonton Oilers, it is difficult to think of just one that stands out. Morning coffee was always a treat, full of chit chat, chirping and games.
I would try and help Joey with the laundry at times, but he was always quick to remind me it was his job and I should just stick to my own job!
I liked to bug Joey, kinda poke and prod him a bit. Most times he’d play along and give it right back, but boy if he wasn’t in the mood he’d let me know. “I’ll tell Kevin Lowe,” he’d say… “Stop or I’ll tell Kevin Lowe!” He’d go on and call me a “Big shot” among other things and keep threatening to call Kevin.
One day I said the phone was for him and it was Kevin (joking of course). Joey refused to take the phone. This went on for a bit and Joey wanted nothing to do with talking to Kevin and it was more of an idle threat from him to get me in trouble with the boss. Sure enough, by pure coincidence a few minutes later, Kevin came around the corner and I said to Joey, “Go ahead, tell Kevin you big shot.” Joey perked up with his ginormous smile and said, “Hey Kevin, what’s up?” and not one word was mentioned about me bugging him!
Anyone who had the pleasure of meeting Joey Moss, consider yourself lucky, he was a special person.
You left your mark on so many of us, Joey. Rest in peace.
Shawn Horcoff, Captain
I’m not sure where to start here. How do you tell just one story about a guy who meant so much to you for 13 years? When I got word that Joe had passed it hit me pretty hard. It is hard to imagine Joey not being here, not being a part of the Oilers. Because, simply said, he is the Oilers and embodies everything they believe in.
The one thing I’ll always remember about Joe is how much he loved to win. You could tell he was surrounded, at a young age, by one of the greatest hockey teams ever assembled and was accustomed to winning. I remember him grabbing me before we left for game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals and begging me to win. He was full of emotion with borderline tears in his eyes… he wanted it so bad.
His energy and love for life was contagious and affected everyone that knew him. Sparky said it best: “There’s only ever been one un-tradeable member of the Edmonton Oilers”…and that was Joey Moss.
**Shawn had some more memorable moments of Joey here.**
Torey Hunter, Defensive Back
Joey was the Keeper of the culture. He was there to humble, encourage, console and let you have it straight if need be. He wanted and expected to be treated the same and held accountable all the same. The arguments with Weezy (Dwayne Mandrusiak) and Giz (Henry Williams) were the best. Anyone could and would get it from Joey…haha. His soul was pure. Joey could trash talk with the best of them. It was like you knew before you saw or heard that Joey was in the building. He truly was the keeper of the culture. May he rest in peace.
Dave Jamieson, VP of Communications and Broadcasting
I am very fortunate to say I worked alongside The Great One, Joey Moss for 14 years with the Edmonton Football Team. From his rollicking rendition of “Oh, Canada,” to his impromptu dunks in the cold tub, Joey was a human “force” in our world, generating laughs, smiles and kindness in equal measure.
In 2001 I took my then two-year-old son Danny to training camp Fan Day at the Edmonton Garrison. My son was a bit scared by the sights and sounds. I asked if he wanted his picture taken with a player or the mascot he wanted no part of it. But Danny pointed at Joey and said “with him.” My son knew who the real star of the show was. That photo is one of my greatest treasures.
Chris Joseph, Defenceman
I’m sure everyone has many wonderful stories to share about Joey Moss. He was definitely a huge part of the Oilers organization over the years. Here are a few of mine:
1. Pregame speeches: Two come to mind.
One game vs LA (Wayne had been traded), the coaches asked him to say a few words to fire the boys up. He went into a 10-minute speech about who knows what as we couldn’t understand everything he said. The only two words I picked up from the whole speech were; “F#ck Wayne” and “Power Play.” Of course he was told to say the first bit because we all knew he loved Wayne even though he was no longer an Oiler.
The Second was him singing “La Bamba” in its entirety before the big game. It had nothing to do with hockey, but it worked. Both speech and song were 100% passionate as only Joey could do.
2. Special Olympics floor hockey:
It was an annual event. The entire Oilers team and Joey would go play floor hockey against the Special Olympics kids. Whenever we walked into the building it was like nobody existed except Joey. He was their super hero. He signed autographs all day and the likes of Messier, Fuhr, etc. weren’t even asked. To top it off he played on the Oilers team and NEVER back checked lol. He literally stood in front of the other team’s goalie and yelled, “I’m Open” for the entire game. Of which he probably scored a minimum of 10 goals.
3. Singing the Anthem:
If Sparky said, “Joey sing loud!” that’s what you got. One game he was so loud (as he sat row one of the balcony at Northlands right across from the benches) that Paul Lorieau got a bit angry and had to speak to Sparky about Joey drowning him out. Next game Sparky would say, “Sing quiet Joey” and he would sing quietly. He didn’t seem to like that though.
4. Throwing him in the cold tub:
I know it sounds mean but it was a regular thing and he loved it because it meant he got a chance to wrestle anyone that tried to grab him. Bucky and Louie had him by the wrists and ankles and were about to launch him into the tub. They swung him 1-2-3 and let go. As he was in the air he got his bearings like a cat and ended up straddling the cold tub like a gymnast landing a jump. Didn’t get wet at all, but as he straddled the cold tub with his arms out for balance and the biggest shit-eating-grin on his face, everyone in the room burst out laughing. He never did get wet that day.
I also remember his energy. It was so contagious.
-Don’t let him run you over with the vacuum cleaner (always head down).
-He’d get “time outs” from Sparky for talking with food in his mouth.
-If you took him for lunch he ate like a horse. He ordered two cheeseburger platters at the Fireside the day I took him out. Thank you Joey.
Ryan King, Linebacker/Long Snapper
Joey Moss was a staple in the Edmonton sports community. When he arrived at work the whole place would be excited and Joey loved bringing that energy into a locker room. The days were always longer without him around.
The impact Joey had on the people around him was incredible. Joey’s passion for sports and his character have impacted not only the sports community but the entire country.
I would sit there after games and wait for Joey to finish his duties before we could sit in Dwayne’s office and have a cold celebratory beer. Joey would enjoy that beer so much that he even changed my perspective on how good that first beer really is. He was a treasure who will be greatly missed.
Patrick Laforge, Oilers President
When I entered the Oilers organization, Joey was already a rock star. Working for the Edmonton Football Club and the Oilers at the same time, and he was legendary with the media. But only a few outsiders ever saw Joey the wrestler in action.
My favourite Joey memory was being present at a Locker Room Wrestling Challenge match, when Joey pulled a pro move that forced the challenger, Raffi Torres to tap out. The match ended unexpectedly when referee Sparky Kulchisky blew the whistle. The audience was in shock as Joey jumped up, grabbed the Gold Championship Belt, held it high over his head and danced around the room, with the music from Rocky blaring and team chanting “Jo-eee! Jo-eee! That moment should have been on HNIC.
Jeff Lang, Head Equipment Manager
When I was a young kid, I watched Gretzky and the Oilers during the glory days. I would often see Joey on TV doing the same thing he has done throughout his entire time with the club — filling water bottles, maintaining the bench and giving the players a high five when they came on and off the ice.
So when I was hired by the Oilers in 2003, I was happy to hear that Joey was still such a huge part of the team and it didn’t take long to see how he was very much a part of the Oiler family. As I didn’t travel much my first few years, Joey and I spent a lot of time together including having him over at my house.
In 2005, Joey spent Halloween with us for the first time and it started a memorable tradition in our family with Joey dressing up and trick or treating with my boys. Joey had a sweet tooth so he wanted to get as much chocolate as he could. He would go up to the houses and belt out, “Halloween Apples!” with a huge smile on his face.
People would recognize Joey and when they said “Hey – you’re Joey Moss!” he would reply with, “How you know me?” Joey was the most humble person who had no idea how big of a celebrity he was, and what he meant to everyone whether they knew him personally or not.
Someone recently asked me to describe Joey in one word and although I couldn’t come up with it at the time, I would say he was irreplaceable. There will never be anyone like Joey and I would like to thank the Moss family for entrusting the staff, past and present, with Joey as it allowed us to have so many experiences and moments with him that we will cherish forever.
Kim Layton, Assistant Athletic Therapist
I had the opportunity to work alongside Joey with the Edmonton RoadRunners, Edmonton Football Club and the Edmonton Oilers. While I have had many memories come flooding back in regards to his crazy antics, his anthem singing, wrestling matches and endless sessions of teasing from the trainers, coaches and boys I feel like those are not the stories of the greatest importance, but rather the stories with the most laughs and the most public. I’d rather focus on the sweet caring man he was and how those around him could not help but smile, be happy and love that little guy like he was blood. He knew no limits and that was infectious.
I was an Athletic Therapist, but I was always taught that “trainers” help each other out and no one is too important to pick up a jock strap. In fact it was Joe who taught me the things that make trainers great. The willingness to do whatever is needed and to perform even the smallest tasks as perfect as possible. Joey had more pride in his work than anyone I have ever known. Folding towels, filling bottles, making Gatorade, stocking the fridge. They were the most important things anyone could do for a team and he was in charge of it and he’d let you know it.
It was not an easy thing to get direction from someone you can barely understand. But as I tried to listen with my ears and eyes and do it like he does it, I learned just how patient he was. There were times I needed someone else to help me learn to ‘speak Joey,’ but in time I was able to understand both his words and his compassion and his true love and respect for his job and his team. Make no mistake, Joey was not a locker room attendant, he was a part of the team and a part so massive that I can’t even begin to imagine being there without him.
He was always smiling, always happy and was one of the first people to greet the new players and make them feel at home. He could brighten a room during the worst times, and he knew when it was appropriate and when it was not. There were times he would just sit beside someone and put his arm around them and not speak – he really knew that room. He loved his teams so much that as we drove to the airport for game seven against Carolina in 2006 he was in tears and sobbing. He was so emotional that it was hard to stop my own tears as he said over and over that we had to win..we need this. The team needs this. He had so much passion it was enough for the entire city.
He was loved and he was known. While in Carolina walking across the street from lunch one day with all the coaching staff, trainers and some of the players a car came to a screeching halt in the middle of the road…not to see which Oilers were there but to say, “Hey Joey you’re the best” or something like that. Miles and miles away Edmonton, in a different country he was recognized before the athletes, before Oiler Royalty and held higher than anyone standing there. And he loved it…you’ve never seen such a humble guy turn so cocky in an instant only to be back to himself two minutes later. It wasn’t in him to be a jerk.
I drove him home often as he was on my way and we talked quite regularly about what he would do that night or what wrestling things had gone on and at times he would come run errands because he just loved being out. One day downtown he was smiling that full body smile out the window to everyone we passed in the car. Someone clearly took exception to this and threw a bottle at my car where Joe was sitting. We just so happened to pull up beside that car at a red light a few streets up. When I put the window down I knew the guy was going to go off, but when he saw that it was Joe he was so embarrassed at what he had done and kept apologizing over and over. Joe simply gave him a smile and said, “It’s ok, just be nice.” I doubt very much that guy didn’t shed a tear when we pulled away. Even a dick can’t help but change his ways around Joey.
What I remember most fondly were the times spent doing things for him. As staff, we would make sure he was cared for in ways most would never realize. He would have sleepovers at our homes, play with our children and tease our dogs. He loved sleepovers. We would cut his nails for him, help him shave or do it for him, make sure he looked as good as he felt, rather than like he’d just combed his hair with a pork chop (as he was often teased about). I’ve never come across someone so grateful for the things done for him. He knew he was lucky and he never took for granted that he was taken care of so well by his teammates, his teams and their organizations.
Rest easy, Joey. You deserve it.
Mark Letestu, Centre
One of the many stories that come to mind is the Heritage Classic game in Winnipeg. Joey was getting older and typically did not travel with the team, but with the Alumni game and the stage the game was on, he was there.
We had a sunlight delay, the guys were half-dressed and annoyed with having to warm up a second time for the game, having to basically sit around and wait for the sun to cooperate. Insert Joey Moss who was always ready in the bullpen, often called upon for an intermission speech to fire the guys up. He decided to take the spotlight.
Whether he was directed to by Langer or he decided to do it himself, he entertained us with wrestling matches, dirty jokes, and his favourite, the “Animal game.” He went toe-to-toe with Eric Gryba in naming an animal one for one until someone screwed up, declaring the winner, without fail Joey would name a mythical creature like “Bearcat” and walk off celebrating with a Rich Flair Woo! The entire team laughed for two hours and in my opinion Joey’s presence was a huge difference in the looseness and effort that showed on the ice that day. He was a special guy and not in the way people with Down Syndrome are typically attached to that word, but in the way the best of us typically are.
Stephen Lines, Massage Therapist
Joey was the glue in the room. When times were down his positive attitude, humour specific to him and big smile picked everyone back up. We had a bond that can’t be explained. Just whenever I was around him my whole body smiled. Gonna miss that man.
Jason Maas: Quarterback and then Head Coach
Joey Moss — so many things come to mind when I think about him. There isn’t one thing that stands out, but a culmination of little things. Around the locker room he was just one of the guys. I always enjoyed the banter between Joe and Dwayne about getting his work done. His love of WWF wrestling and his Championship Belt. His James Bond music, the singing of both national anthems at training camps, easily the most entertaining part of camp. His walking of the plank into the cold tub, at least once a camp! When he was around, life in the locker room was better. He used to say to me and heard him say to others as well, “You’re a good guy,” I would always reply back, “You’re a better guy.”
He wasn’t better, he was the best, and an absolute icon. Will be missed, but never forgotten.
Matt Mandrusiak, Equipment Assistant
I’ve been fortunate to know Joey Moss for my entire life. He’s been part of our family for over three decades. He stayed at our house for nearly a month each year during Eskimo training camp. Over the last 36 years, I have been beyond lucky to call him an amazing friend and I love him like a brother. You could imagine that during these years there have been some incredible memories made and we have so many hilarious stories to share, though some should probably stay between us! One story I’ll never forget encompasses everything that made Joey, Joey.
Moss has been known to enjoy a good party. And there was nothing he enjoyed more than a few cold, cold beers with the exception of maybe an audience to preform to while downing those Molson’s. It just so happened that my parents were hosting a going away party for my brother who was about to head down to Quebec to play CIS football with Bishops University. They threw a big shindig at their house and everyone we knew was there. Friends, family, football players and, of course, Joey.
Well, the night gets rolling and Moss has polished off a few drinks and decides he wants to play bocce ball. I grabbed a partner and he picked his partner. We started playing and in typical Joey fashion, he starts hamming it up, dancing around, and trying to get on our nerves as we’re getting ready to throw. Each time his antics get more over the top than the last effort. My dog, a basset hound named Marty, happened to be in the yard and he either took this as a threat to me or that Joey really just wanted to play. At first Joe thought it was hilarious and started to engage with Marty but soon the dog would not leave Joey alone. Jumping all over him, nipping at his legs, really trying to play with him. No matter what Joey did he couldn’t shake the dog.
I was right beside him the entire time and if I knew the dog was just playing. He wasn’t getting vicious with him at all, just being playful and having a good time. At this point Joe was not! He was doing everything he could to get Marty to stop jumping on him until finally he stood there and cried out at the top of his lungs “MATT…YOU’RE HIS FATHER!!!” We all just broke out laughing and I made sure the dog stopped jumping around on him. As soon as he was in the free and clear, the typical Joey antics fired right back up. I can’t remember who won the game but I’ll never forget how funny that memory was. It was just Joey. Enjoying himself like he always does and making everyone around him smile and laugh.
I think that’s what I’ll miss the most about him. The goofy smile on his face when he thought he said or did something funny followed by one of his infamous lines, “why you laughing,” when you’d start to laugh at him. I’m thankful I can look back on the millions of laughs we shared and instantly start to smile.
The legend of Joey Moss will live forever. Hard to imagine that a guy working in bottle depot, likely overlooked every day of his life, could impact the lives of so many when others started to see his value. Joey may have been a sports icon, but his true legacy will be the difference he made in society for individuals with disabilities. He truly was one of the best people you could ever meet and serves as an inspiration, a pioneer and a hero to many.
Rest well, my friend. My next Molson will be in your honour.
McKenzie Mandrusiak, Equipment Assistant
My brother and I have been very lucky to have grown up and also spent our adult lives inside a professional sports team locker room. And as amazing as those experiences have been as far as achievements on the field, none of them compare to the friendships we have made off the field. And Joey being that once in a lifetime relationship I will never forget.
I spent my childhood around so many different people, from different countries, religions, races, and life experiences in that locker room. And the older I get the more I appreciate the life lessons I learned about acceptance and not judging a book by its cover. But by far the one person who has taught me the most about that was Joey. I’ve known Joe my entire life, and there is not a single time his name gets brought up that I don’t crack a smile and think of an amazing story about him.
One of my favourites happened at Concordia College during training camp. We were setting up the gymnasium with the lockers, equipment and training rooms when Arctic Spas came and dropped off two tubs we were going to use for hot and cold tubs.
Many players have shared tales about Joey’s unbelievable cold tub dips, but this one has a twist. It was near the end of the day and the tubs are filled and we are getting ready to go to the cafeteria for dinner, and Joe decides he’s going to do a cold tub dip for us. Typically Joe only went into the cold tub for good luck when the team needed a huge win. So to bring luck into camp and the season he was going to go for a plunge. Usually he would hop out of the cold tub right into the hot tub to warm himself up. Well in this case both tubs had just been filled and were both ice cold.
So we are all standing around cheering him on and he dives into the cold tub, dunks his head and comes flying up through the water with the same breath taking face he always made. Then he jumps out of the cold tub fast as he can and hops into the “hot tub”. We all could not wait to see his reaction when he hopped into another cold tub. In true Joey fashion as soon as he hits the water it doesn’t even phase him. He kicks back in the lounger seat, throws his arms up across the side of the tub and lets out the most relaxing “ahhhhh” anyone could ever make as if the tub was 105 degrees. And all of us just burst out laughing.
That was the kind of guy Joey was. Whatever you may have expected from him he always did something to far surpass that. He made everyone laugh and brought a smile to your day. So many people have reached out to me personally because of the relationship I was fortunate enough to have with Joe. But it’s a testament to his family and the way he was raised. I hope his family is feeling everyone’s love. Because Joey was a special person, an absolute legend in every sense of the word and I’m forever grateful to call him my friend.
He is missed already.
Todd McLellan, Head Coach
I think it is important people understand that Joey did work and was required to work. He had responsibilities and was held accountable for them. He took his job seriously and he was good at it.
I will always remember him acknowledging me, “OK coach Todd,” and then he would point his fingers in gun style at me and wink. Put a smile on my face every time.
He also liked to have a beer after the game when the work was all done. Just one of the guys.
It is sad to think of him gone. There is a saying in sports that no individual is bigger than the team, I think Joey may have challenged that statement.
Ethan Moreau, Forward
It was about 7:45 p.m. when my cell phone rang, Joe Moss was on the line. “Joe, what’s shaking, you good?” “Chopper my TV broke,” he said. I knew he was trying to record WWE, so I told my wife Ornella and my kids, Trey and Mia, Joey needed me, so I left to fix his problem, which seemed way too easy. I showed up at his house.
“Hey Chop, beer?”
“Sure bud, where?”
By the way, he received a lot of attention there from fans and the attractive staff, so it was a win-win for him.
So yes, Mosser tricked me and it was an unremarkable night, but an extraordinary night now that I search for times just the two of us shared. An evening that sits at the front of my brain and brings me joy. He was so much more than a dressing room attendant, I was more too, but at the root of it, we were just two Edmonton guys looking for a beer served by a pretty lady. He was a great teammate and a friend.
Love you, Joe.
Thank you Joeys and Earls for all the laughs with Joey. Please retire my man’s jersey at one of your establishments.
Chris Morris, Offensive Lineman
Joey Moss and his story represent everything that is good about Edmonton. He was a young man taken in by the two professional teams in our city. I am sure at the time the two teams likely felt they were doing the Moss family and Joey a favour. What resulted was something completely different.
Through joining the Eskimos and Oilers, Joey found a place to thrive and found a genuine and meaningful role with each organization; he found a purpose. What Joey gave back was even more significant. Joey brought to each team a sense of family, humility and caring that would have not been possible without his presence. He was a significant and contributing member of each team’s culture and to several championship cultures.
Joey’s story is such a great example of the Edmonton way. It is an example of what communities can be, even at the elite or professional level, when everyone is appreciated for what they bring to the table rather than whatever shortcomings they might have.
Joey was a huge part of every championship team he was a part of. His story should remind us all that the cultures of successful and or championship teams and organizations are made up of more than those who score goals or touchdowns. They are the result of the team fabric woven together by everyone involved if they are valued and allowed to contribute. Joey was a huge part of both the Eskimos and the Oilers, but the lesson his story holds and the significance Joey had to our greater community is what should never be forgotten. RIP Joey.
Mike Morrison, Goalie
I only got to dress in that Oiler dressing room consistently for the one season, but I saw and knew Joey from multiple training camps as well. At first, I’ll admit I felt intimidated sometimes around Joey. It was really the first time I was spending daily amounts of time with a person with Down syndrome. Joey made those nervous feelings erode quickly because of how wonderful a person he was.
He was dependable, he loved having an audience and it was hilarious to see him treat everyone the same. It didn’t matter if you were a rookie or a future Hall of Famer, Joey treated everyone the same. As I waited to get my first start on that great 05-06 team, I noticed how hard Joey would take a loss as I would get undressed after a game. I could see how connected to this team he was. I always hoped that if given the start, I could get Joey a W.
I think my first home game was against San Jose and like most games I played, it had to go to a shootout. We ended up winning 2-1 and as I walked back into locker room, through that incredible locker room door, Joey was waiting for me. He gave me a huge hug. It was the coolest feeling ever. I was happy because I was able to get him a W, but I also could tell that he was most happy for me.
He knew I was just a young guy who probably wouldn’t be there long and I think he knew how much I appreciated being on that team with that legendary organization. He was happy to see me happy. I’ll never forget that hug. The funny thing was 15 minutes later he was yelling at me to pick up my wet laundry because he was trying to vacuum. Joey was the man.
I’m sending my prayers to Edmonton, the Oilers organization and those closest to him because I know how much he meant to everyone.
Rest in peace Mosser, thank you for making me feel so welcomed. Once an Oiler always an Oiler!
Craig Muni, Defenceman
We are all saddened to hear the news. Our condolences to the Moss family. I’d like to thank the Moss family for sharing Joey with us.
Joey was an inspiration to us all. He was always in a good mood and comfort you when you weren’t. Joey was just a regular guy to us, one of us and a part of the team. He grew up with us. We were all kids in our 20’s playing a game we loved, winning Cups and having fun. He was a contributor and a part of us winning those Cups.
Joey loved a party as much as the next guy. Good food, good times and can he shake a leg. Joey loved to dance. It didn’t matter what the song or if it was a solo. He’d light it up. Man, the concentration on his face drew you to him to cheer him on.
I’ll always remember Joey and Sparky as the dynamic duo. We’d practice at West Edmonton Mall once a month. After practice, the pair of them would always tease our kids about going to McDonald’s for lunch. They’d get our kids so gung-ho that they wouldn’t let it go until you went there for lunch.
I saw a famous Joey line from Andrew Ference online, “Did you comb your hair with a pork chop”? It made me laugh and smile. I could actually hear his voice saying this. Joey used that line on our players back in the 80s and 90s. A classic that lasted decades!
We use to play an annual floor hockey game vs the Special Olympic kids. Joey was a hero to his teammates. They all looked up to Joey! He played that game like a 7th game in the Stanley Cup finals. So determined and proud!
Of course Joey was famous for singing the National Anthem at every home game. I’d like to know what that final count was? How many did he do? The glass blocked out a lot of crowd noise but there was no mistaking or not hearing Joey proudly sing above the crowd. I’d always glance over and smile whenever I was starting a game and lined up on the blue line.
RIP Joey my brother! Once an Oiler, always an Oiler!
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Forward
Getting to know Joey Moss over the last nine years has truly enriched my life. Every day we arrived at the rink, whether it was after a win or a loss, he would put a smile on your face and have you laughing before you know it. There were constant good times when Joey was around.
My favourite story and experience with Joey was at his 50th birthday party. Joey was a huge WWE fan as most people know. So for his 50th, the guys set up a full-size wrestling ring, with some PWA wrestlers in Ryan Smyth’s back yard. Joey had a blast watching these two guys go at it (while chirping from the sidelines), and he eventually got into the ring and took them down.
Being able to make Joey that happy doing something he really loved was such a great experience for all of us, especially with how much Joey meant to everyone. That was just one of the good times I’ve enjoyed with Joey over the past nine years. He is one of the best people I’ve ever gotten to meet and be friends with in my life.
He will be missed in our locker room and across the whole city of Edmonton. Anyone who had the pleasure of meeting Joey Moss should feel honoured being able to know a man like him. Rest in Peace Joey.
Kamau Peterson, Receiver
Joe Moss was an inspiring figure and a breath of fresh air any time I saw him. Whether game days, or team events, or just hanging out in the back with Dwayne, Joey would always take the time to tell me I was a good guy, shake my hand and give me a hug and smile. Joey had an infectious smile, and his very presence simply made you feel better. I’m glad and honoured to be able to say that in knew him.
May he rest in peace, Godspeed Joey.
Terry Ray, Linebacker
I recall my first training camp in Edmonton at Concordia University and I was not very confident about a lot of new things. A new country, a new game, new coaches and teammates. My initial introduction to Joey was the first trip to Commonwealth Stadium. There he was, focused and working hard. He would look up and high five familiar players as they passed by, then back on task. A short time later he brought something to my locker and offered me, some unknown dude a high five. I reciprocated and he went back to work on his next task.
I watched him go back and forth between task and player interactions until I realized familiar or not, Joey united the team. His hard work and focus changed the entire atmosphere of the locker room, a void which had been missing in our time practicing at Concordia. He set an example, and I found a calming confidence in the newness of all my surroundings to focus and work hard. One meeting, one interaction and the impact was felt. Many fond sports memories, maybe none more impactful than meeting Joey Moss for the first time.
I’m truly saddened by this news, rest easy Joey.
Jed Roberts, Defensive Lineman
In 1990 I was a late addition to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers training camp. Long story short I didn’t last long with them due to a sore hamstring.
The Bombers had a kid working for them who had special needs. He had the unfortunate distinction of being the guy that Cal (Murphy) would send to the hotel to notify players when they needed to see the head coach because they were released from the team. Not fair to that kid. This served as a bit of foreshadowing for how an organization should NOT be run IMO.
Fast forward a week after camp broke in 1990 and Edmonton brought me in to be on their practice roster.
One of the first faces I saw was Joey Moss. He walked over to where I was standing in the training room right outside of Dwayne’s office and he introduced himself to me. I thought he was letting me know that Edmonton was cutting me, lol. Dwayne let me know that no, the team wasn’t cutting me- Joey was just saying hello.
Over the years I got to know Joey really well and mainly his love for WWE wrestling and his affinity for donning a cape and mask and showing the guys in the room his best wrestling moves..
I can’t tell you the number of times that Joey would wander over to where I was kneeling during practice and he’d offer me water.
I’m legally deaf — can’t hear worth a damn, really. I spent the first eight years of my formative education in the special needs room. I put in a lot of time working my way out of that room and into an environment where I could be considered “normal.”
Joey was a tangible reminder of where I’d been and like me — he was just happy to be there. I have to be honest when I say that most of the time Joey talked to me I hadn’t the slightest clue what he was saying as I relied so heavily upon lip reading. Joey had a thick accent and it wasn’t uncommon for Joey to spell out in the air for me the words he was trying to say to me during our many conversations.
Joey was so very patient with me.
He liked to tell me about his annual fishing trips back east in Ontario in the early summer and about his favourite James Bond movie theme songs. I’d often ask Joey to put on his favourite at the time. My last year with the team was 2002 — he was crushing pretty heavily on Sheena Easton’s “For Your Eyes Only,” at that time.
After I’d retired in 2002 I’d run into Joey at Oilers games through the years but he didn’t seem to remember me. I recall being kind of disappointed by that, but chalked it up to the simple fact that most of Edmonton felt like they knew him well so how could he be expected to remember everybody?
When I learned of Joey’s passing, it hit me like the death of a family member and I’m not ashamed to admit that I shed my fair share of tears. Joey exemplified for me the best part of being a professional athlete in Edmonton; The sheer joy of connecting in the dressing room and the vicarious thrill of seeing a big play made by someone I loved and trusted. Joey was all that and so much more.
Joey wasn’t an afterthought — he was the main event.
We were lucky. We got to see a side of Joey Moss in the Edmonton Football Club dressing room that most people didn’t get to see. I have many side splitting funny stories about Joey that I’ll treasure forever. Rest in peace Joey.
Jamie Sale, Olympian and friend
I have so many memories of Joey and how full my heart always felt when I was around him, but one that stands out to me is when he was my partner in the Uniquely Me gala, an event supporting Down syndrome.
He was not feeling very good that evening but with some encouragement he got himself to go out on stage with me. On our way out he said, “I only want to go with you,” and I said “I’m all yours buddy!”
He smiled and we walked on stage together. He was clearly not feeling well even on stage but he never quit. He smiled the whole time and waved to the people showing great adoration for him! I was nervous for him, but my heart was so full and I was so proud of him! He always had a way of not only putting a smile on everyone’s face but also making them feel good about themselves. He felt safe with me and that made me incredibly happy.
I will miss seeing him sing at Oilers games and other events and I will really miss feeling his love, seeing his zest for life and appreciation for the little things. He made me a better person and I’m grateful for that!
Grant Shaw, Kicker
Where does one begin? The coolest thing about Joey, is how all of the stories people are sharing are so easy to visualize. That’s exactly who Joey was. He was so consistent in his demeanour and work ethic, always happy and fun loving. He was always there for others and positive, win or lose.
I was fortunate enough to share the locker room with Joey for five years. 2012 was my first season which was the NHL lockout season so Joey spent extra time with us.
My all-time favourite memory was the day Joey came out in full uniform at the end of practice to kick field goals in full uniform.
Bit of back story:
2012 was an amazing year personally, but it was also one of the toughest I ever faced in my athletic career. Being traded home was a dream come true. Having been attached to Ricky Ray was not.
With that came an immense amount of pressure and critics. My first Labour Day I missed a 49-yarder into the wind in Calgary, Larry Taylor caught it on the end line and ran it out saving the one point. We lost by one. The following week we had a game winner from the 42, before the kick Kavis Reed asked me if I was going to make it or miss again. Lol, huge confidence booster. I hit the right upright and we lost.
After both situations I remember Joey telling me during the week that it was okay. He was genuine and sincere. That meant a lot as I hadn’t necessarily won the confidence of my teammates yet, nor the fans in the city.
Near the end of the season Eric Tillman traded my back up Derek Schiavone for Brody Mcknight.
I don’t remember the exact timeline but let’s say a couple days later. This particular day Brody starts going on this tangent about his locker and how he owns it. Everybody knows Dwayne owns those lockers and we are just renting them. But he kept going on and on about how as long as he’s here, it was his and nobody could take it from him. I remember the look on Dwayne’s face and the light bulbs going off in his head about how he would show Brody the way. Brody was a different dude.
It was a cold day at practice, and as we traditionally did, we were kicking field goals at the end of practice. I was the starting kicker at the time and was getting some reps in; I was in the zone and made many to star, but as as the reps went on I started to miss a few. All of a sudden Kavis calls out for Brody to jump in.
Brody ran over all excited and you could tell he was amped! He starts to line up his tee and do his thing. A lot of times at the end of practice when you’re kicking field goals the team crowds around to try and put some more pressure on, so it’s hard to see what exactly is going on.
Brody’s all lined up, full FG squad is locked in ready to go. Then suddenly Kavis says “hold on, here comes the kicker!” In the distance coming out of the locker room with Dwayne is Joey. In full game day uniform, Green and Gold helmet and all! Wearing number 14, which was Brody’s number.
Everyone started cheering as Joey ran onto the field, pushed his way through the crowds, walked up to Brody and politely moved him out of the way. Lined up his kick, ball is snapped back, it was pinned and Joey booted it right into the backs of the line.
I have never laughed so hard in my life! That was Joey! He loved having fun, and joking around, but he really cared. He made me laugh, but also made me feel good when things didn’t go well.
JC Sherritt, Linebacker
There are countless stories I could tell about Joey through the incredible eight years I was around him in Edmonton. The one that means the most to me was the entire year of 2013.
I suffered an injury that cost me the majority of my season on a team that would go 4-14. By far the hardest year I have had to deal with, especially from a mental standpoint. As with many athletes it wasn’t the rehab process or even the losses that were the worst. It was not being there for your team through the adversity they were going through.
I spent the majority of those weeks with Joey in the locker room during rehab. As hard as that year was I constantly find myself smiling due to the hilarious and enjoyable moments I spent with Joey. He always found a way to make everyone smile no matter what they were going through. The picture I shared on Twitter was from that year that would by far be the worst of my career…I am smiling ear to ear. True colours always come out when people or groups have to deal with tough times, nobody’s colours were more pure than Joeys. He is a legend for multiple reasons, the impact he had on my life is something I will never forget.
Craig Simpson, Forward
Joey would often have sleepovers at player’s houses. In my first year Joe came and slept over, and it was just the two of us. After dinner we were sitting on the couch watching TV. He was behind me on a different part of the couch so I couldn’t see him, but as we were watching I suddenly realized he was talking to me. I heard this week sound…“Chips, chips, beer beer. Then it got a bit louder: CHIPS, BEER….CHIPS, BEER!
So I said Joe you want some chips? And his answer was, “yeeeeaaah.” You want a beer?? “Oooohhhh Yeeeaah, good thinking Craig Simmer!”
It was priceless. Typical Joey. Getting what he wanted, but making it seem like it was my idea.
He was a teammate, a friend and most importantly a good human being. You gave so much to this world Joey, I am thankful for the 33 years I was able to share with you. RIP.
Rob Skaggs, CFL Official and friend
I was officiating a game at Commonwealth stadium between Saskatchewan and Edmonton in the summer of 2003 (August 23rd). I threw a flag against Edmonton for a face mask penalty in the third quarter that brought the Riders close to the Edmonton end zone and ultimately to a TD. As I was running back to the sideline to line up for the ensuing Saskatchewan kick off, both Joey and Dwayne (Mandrusiak) were giving me the gears for the penalty call (Dwayne more joking than anything because we were pretty close friends), HOWEVER, Joey didn’t really know that and was much more serious in his tone.
Joey kept saying — “shitty call, shitty call, shitty call.” After a bit of time Dwayne kind of gives him a look which, essentially, said be quiet. Joey immediately walks down to the other end of the bench and turns away from the field. A number of plays later, he comes up behind me, taps me on the shoulder, winks and says, “I still love you, Robbie.”
Classic Joey. I loved that guy! He truly cared about his teams.
Jason Smith, Defenceman and Captain
Joey, to say just one memory about you would be tough! The way you welcomed every player to the room on a daily basis and how you were an entertainer be it a singer, dancer or wrestler or the greatest fan. You did it all with a passion and a smile.
Just because a person a little bit different, doesn’t mean you can’t have a great life and be a happy person. Joe was the true example of that. He didn’t allow him having Down syndrome to keep him down or not achieve happiness and success. And that’s what life is about: finding happiness and peace and Joe did that, and that is what really attracted me to him. He went about his business, he had fun doing it, and he cared about people.
Thanks for the memories you will be missed greatly.
Ryan Smyth, Forward
First off, I would like to extend my condolences to the Moss family through this difficult time. Joey was a son, brother, friend, teammate and a legend not only in Edmonton but across the world. He was a hard-working man who loved the Esks and the Oilers. Joey will be missed. He was the face of both franchises!
There are many great stories of Joey, but one that stands out was his 50th birthday party in our backyard when we got a wrestling ring set up and hired some PWA pro wrestlers for him. We had the whole Oilers team over and seeing the excitement on Joey’s face was priceless. When they asked him to get in the ring, he jumped in without hesitation and immediately climbed the top rope thinking he was going to do a Splash. He was fearless.
By the way— he won the belt that night!
He loved wrestling, he would wrestle some of the players after practice for the belt! And he would do anything to win that belt. He knew all the tricks to win.
But when Lyle (Sparky) Kulchisky or the other trainers said it was time to get back to work, he was back at it.
Joey was so inspirational to us all. He was dedicated and committed just like a player you want on your team. I was blessed to be around Joey regularly for 15 years, and he made a deep impact in my life. I will miss the singing and dancing of La Bamba, the warm hugs and your great smile.
RIP Joey. God bless.
Stacey Smyth, Friend
We should all aspire to be more like Joey. No pretence, no malice…just joy. Joy in his work, joy in his friendships, joy in life. Over the many years we were blessed to spend time with him and that was the one thing that stood out to me; how he brought joy into every relationship. I never saw him where he didn’t give me a big smile and an even bigger hug.
You never had to wonder about where you stood with Joey because the way the world works didn’t matter to him. Once you were a teammate — and that didn’t only mean on the ice — it was forever. I feel so blessed to have known Joey. So blessed that he taught me so much about life and what is and is not important. I have no doubt God gave you the biggest hug when you got to heaven and said, “Well done Joey… you loved well!”
Joey, you will be missed, but you will never be forgotten for the sheer volume of hearts you touched.
Randy Spencer, Defensive Lineman.
Joey Moss was a beacon of happiness, hope and possibilities. Whenever you walked in the locker room you had no choice but to ask yourself why could you ever choose not to be happy, have hope or think of the greatest things in life being possible because Joey was the epitome of them all.
Listening to Joey belt out Oh Canada was my favourite. It made me feel proud and reminded me of when my roommate and I would walk the campus in the United States singing “Oh Canada” as loud as we could. See Joey do it so often made me smile to see someone just as happy to do the same no matter the circumstance. I’m sure many people have heard of the epic wrestling matches, his belt and his care and empathy for all, but what I learned the most from Joey is to always remember to put my life into perspective and enjoy it every chance I get.
Jarret Stoll, Centre
Joey was the heart and soul and the spirit of the Edmonton Oilers. I’m sure from the moment he stepped foot in that locker room in 1985 he touched many people in so many ways. In his 35 years with the team NHL.com lists 492 players played for the Oilers. And that’s just Oilers players. Now add in the Oilers staff and all the players and staff from the Esks. He touched thousands.
We could hear stories of Joey for weeks, maybe months, that’s how unique and important he was to us. I can’t help but get emotional thinking of having coffee with him, laughing with him and the banter we had. The wrestling match I won against him. And two or three days later I had to put the belt up for a rematch which, of course, I lost. That belt was his and belonged in his bedroom every night. He loved it.
He was so proud of the organization, it meant so much to him. I’m pretty sure we meant a lot to him, but it was the other way around for me and I’m sure all the players. We were better off as human beings knowing and being a friend of Jo Mo’s.
He will be missed and thought of so often, and the crazy part is he never even stepped foot on the ice. He was the best teammate for 492 Edmonton Oilers. The perfect example of “Once an Oiler Always an Oiler.”
There will never another Joey Moss…impossible.
Jason Strudwick, Defenceman
Every day I walked into the Oilers dressing I never knew what Joey Moss would say or do. I was blown away with how big an impact he had on the energy of our whole group. If the team was in a tough stretch the trainers might line up a wrestling match or have him sing a song to change the vibe of our team. Sometimes when we were riding high Joey would come in and say something to us and the group would get grounded.
It is also the quiet moments with Joey that I really appreciated. When it was just the two of us. He would get an idea in his head and would want to share it with me. Maybe it was about a wrestling match he had watched or how one of the guys on the team was playing tricks on him. To be honest, it really didn’t matter what he was talking about, and some of it I didn’t understand, but his passion for it came through and I would get inspired by him and feed off his positive energy.
My three years with the Oilers allowed me to be a small part of Joey’s life. He never could say my name right. He called me “J-Z.” I was just happy I could call him a friend.
Rocky Thompson, Assistant Coach
My story about Joey took place while I was playing for the Edmonton Roadrunners during the 04/05 NHL lockout. Midway through our season Joey wanted to defend his Locker Room Wrestling Championship. Joey would have an annual title defense, but with no NHL the responsibility fell to the Roadrunner team. An opponent, Jamie Wright, was selected amongst the players and the match was to take place in the middle of the dressing. Joey’s entrance was epic.
As the music played the Champ was introduced. Joey had a history of dirty tactics inside the squared circle, but Jamie had no clue what he was getting into. As the opening bell rang he was blinded by a white substance Joey threw, we later found out it was baby powder. Joey immediately attacked the ears of his opponent and took him to the floor nearly getting an early fall. Blinded and his ears being yanked violently Jamie barely kicked out at a two-count.
Joey jumped up and played to the crowd of players who were chanting his name. Jamie crawled back to the corner and was immediately tended to by his manager. Realizing he was actually in danger he secured his ears with two full wraps of hockey tape and readied himself for what awaited him. After locking up, Joey instantly fell to his knees and attacked the groin of his challenger. The ref was distracted and didn’t see the foul. Jamie crashed to the floor as Joey jumped on top and secured the leg for the pin 1-2-3. ANNNND STILL Undefeated World Locker Room Wrestling Champion JOEY MOSS!!!! Joey was carried out of the room that day a Champion.
We were truly blessed to spend those days with Joey. His passion and dedication were unmatched. He will be missed by all.
Raffi Torres, Forward
Joey was a beauty. I still remember our wrestling match. I feel blessed I was one of the guys who had a chance to wrestle the champ. He had unbelievable man strength. He tossed me around. No joke. I couldn’t believe how strong he was. Wrestling was his passion. He loved it and he took it seriously; he had good technique and solid moves.
His personality was so unique. No matter how tough things would get at certain times, you could always count on Mosser to put a smile on your face. He was a great friend and he added a lot of happiness to our team. Rest easy Joe.
Hayley Wickenheiser, Olympian and friend
Joey was such an infectious personality every time I was around him whether it was in the Oilers dressing room, the development camps or Wayne’s (Gretzky) Fantasy camp. He was always quick witted, had a smile and loved to grill the guys and he lifted the energy in the room all the time.
What stood out for me was the way everyone around Joey handled him and reacted to him. You could see there was an endearing love, a respect and he was just one of the guys. There is not a greater compliment for a player or a staff member to feel they are part of the group. That is the ultimate sign of acceptance, that feeling of belonging from everyone around you. Joey had that.
After several encounters with Joey, I never thought much about it. He was a fixture with the Oilers. I know how much the players loved him. How much they got a kick out of being around him. He kept their heads from getting too big in a way.
If there was a true builder award in hockey for inclusion, diversity, acceptance and all the buzzwords we hear hockey needs to do more of…Joey Moss was the ultimate example and the Oilers demonstrated that by having him a part of their group for 35 years. It was such an authentic, loving relationship and that is why he is so endeared by people around the world and hockey fans.
I will always remember Joey belting out the national anthem, whether it was at Wayne’s camp or in the dressing room. He loved to sing. I will always remember that big, booming voice and his smile.
Brad Winchester, Forward
Joey was a legend — whether it was the full on wrestling matches, singing, dancing, high fives, or the one on one talks — the team was his family. He was a key member of the cultural fabric of the Oilers organization, and no matter the situation, he was selfless and enthusiastic. Ever so quick with a one liner, he loved to dish it out as well as receive it — always just one of the guys. Joey had a dramatic impact on the city of Edmonton, the hockey world, and anyone who needed a hug and a smile.
Jay Woodcroft, Assistant Coach
I met Joey when I first came to Edmonton as a member of the Detroit Red Wings organization in the fall of 2005 when I ran into him in the visitor’s room at the old Rexall Place. He was someone I knew about from national TV commercials and newspaper stories, but to meet him in real life was special; he was the personification of enthusiasm & positive energy.
When I became a member of the Oilers organization in 2015 I saw firsthand how he affected staff, players and the city of Edmonton.
One of my favourite stories of his was from the 2016 Heritage Classic in Winnipeg. Our team got into town early so we could have a special dinner at the spectacular Canadian Museum for Human Rights. It was a great evening because the team was joined by the legends of Oilers history who were going to play a game vs Winnipeg Jets’ alumni. It was a very fun event because the different generations of Oilers players, staff and management came together to tell stories, share a meal and really connect.
And I specifically remember Joey making his way to the podium with the intent of giving a speech & firing up both teams. Needless to say, his rousing speech brought the house down and was the highlight of the night. He connected with so many generations of Oilers.
THANK YOU JOEY
It is clear Joey impacted many people with his fun personality, outgoing personality and loving demeanour.
The Joey Moss Memorial Fund has been set up through Winnifred Stewart. You can donate here.
My condolences to the Moss family, and all of his family and friends. May he rest in peace.
This video sums up Joey’s love for wrestling and his great sense of humour (last line of video). Thanks to Chris Peterson and Cory Blashill for sending me this video.