Ben Ondrus. Photo Courtesy of Steven Christy Photography www.stevenchristyphotography.com
Although many fans met Ben Ondrus at various functions, I never did. From a distance I admired his furrow-browed intensity, and passion for on-ice tenacity. He wasn’t a scoring juggernaut and he wasn’t a punishing hitter. Albeit he never really stood out as the most talented man on the squad, but he always made a difference. Ondrus was given the honor of wearing the first ever “C” for the Barons, and it seemed like an unlikely choice when it was made.
In retrospect, he earned it with every minute he spent on the ice. He quietly led by example by showing what hard work looks like, even when it doesn’t pay off. He battled, bruised, and busted his way through a grueling regular season and first round playoff appearance. For lack of better phrasiology, Benny Ondrus was the quiet leader behind closed doors that no one quite understood he could be. His teammates clearly knew it. His coaches definitely embraced it. And as fans, we came to appreciate it.
Over the next few years, there will be many faces that will be called captain in Oklahoma City. However, big are the shoes to fill, for Ondrus did it right.