A Barons Fan In Penticton, That Sounds Painful

Photo by Steven Christy.

It’s called a Young Stars Tournament by some, and a Rookie Tournament by others, but in the likelihood that you find this post at Tend The Farm, you’ll understand that the hockey tournament taking place in Penticton, British Columbia, is neither or any of these things.

It’s true, some of the players are young, but some are older. It’s true that some are rookies, but some are not. None of them fall into the category of “stars” just yet, but have the “potential” and “upside” (by them, I clearly mean only a few). So perhaps the only real honesty of the games beginning tonight between prospect players from five different NHL teams (Edmonton, Calgary, San Jose, Winnipeg, Vancouver), is that you can go ahead and label it a tournament.

The sorta annual Penticton Young Stars Tournament has become a pre-season warm-up for hockey fans eager to see their teams hit the ice, some, for the first time in a loooooong time. From September 5th to September 9th, the three teams entered in this years tourney will square off against three opponents a piece with the one claiming the most wins awarded the red badge of peerage as the tallest drink of water in the land…on a prospect team.

It’s an enjoyable couple of days, and I think that Barons fans will find many things to eagerly be on the lookout for. So let’s begin.



Cameron Abney
Brandon Baddock
Ty Bilcke
Greg Chase
Travis Ewanyk
Austin Fyten
Kale Kessy
Jujhar Khaira
Jackson Houck
Andrew Miller
Mitch Moroz
Reid Petryk
Kyle Platzer
Marc-Olivier Roy
Chase Schaber

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Ben Betker
Brandon Davidson
Martin Gernat
Oscar Klefbom
Joey Leach
Martin Marincin
David Musil
Darnell Nurse

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Tyler Bunz
Philippe Cadorette
Franky Palazzese
Ty Rimmer


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Official lines, pairs, starting goaltender for tonight’s game against the Flames:

Marco Roy – Andrew Miller – Kale Kessy

Austin Fyten – Jujhar Khaira – Greg Chase

Jackson Houck – Travis Ewanyk – Cam Abney

Brandon Baddock – Chase Schaber – Ty Bilcke

Darnell Nurse – Oscar Klefbom

Martin Gernat – David Musil

Brandon Davidson – Joey Leach

Martin Marincin – Ben Betker

Tyler Bunz

The obvious thing to point out is the stoutness on defense in a so-called young stars tournament. Two players, in Davidson and Marinicin, had a whirl-wind season a year ago as pros for totally different reasons. Davidson, sharing time between ECHL Stockton and AHL Barons before a cancer diagnosis, ran his season downhill quickly after he returned. With a full head of steam, he played an integral part in the Barons postseason run. In contract, Marincin played a half season with Badger Justin Schultz before leading the Barons as a top four defender. Both of those have a world of attention thrown their way.

Then there’s the Nurse-Klefbom pairing which is going to be entertaining to watch. Both playing their first seasons as official Oilers organization pro prospects, the world is their oyster.

Fans of Barons hockey will recognize young Joey Leach, a former Flames prospect, who signed an AHL deal in OKC this season. He’s an under dog worth rooting for, and certainly looks to make progress in a full season of pro play.

On the offensive side, Andrew Miller will likely lace ’em up in OKC to start the season, and the recent Yale grad gets first line center treatment, and that instantly has me excited. Playing along recent draftees in Roy and Kessy, the four-year-college-guy can really assist those on his left and right.

Cameron Abney, nestled on the left side of the second line, is probably the odd ball of the group. He played in the Young Stars tournament in 2010-11, and still feels out of place with two years of full pro experience. Yet the Oilers want to give him the old college try as they seek to find some gratification in Sir Cam’s game.

Another Barons signee, Austin Fyten, plays the instigation role on the right wing of the fourth line with fellow agitators, Khaira and Chase. That’s a bruising forward line, and for that, I salute the choice to run them together.

Tyler Bunz gets the first start in net, and for all practical purposes is the only actual prospect playing goaltender in this tournament. Likely starting the season in Bakersfield, Bunz has hit the portion of his career where betterment is NOW, and his season starts tonight alongside the other young stars.

Coached by Todd Nelson, this is one of the most exciting teams to play in Penticton. Maybe it’s because I’m hockey deprived or continually bothered by grainy KHL feeds, but this is a solid lineup of prospects.

If you’re a Barons fan, make every effort to watch the game. They will be “televised” online via streams from the Oilers, Nucks, Sharks, Jets, and Flames. Pick your favorite site, stream, and enjoy. And although Penticton sounds like an incurable ailment, it’s really quite lovely.

Richard Bachman Embraces “Oil” For 13-14 Mask

Photo courtesy of David Gunnarsson. All rights reserved.

When you become an Oiler you really have to embrace the Oil. There’s no way around it, the hockey gods demand it. The trend in recent seasons has been for newly signed Oilers goaltenders, regardless of their position in the orngaization, to embrace all things oil in the form of a new tending mask. Richard Bachman, the Oilers likely #3 man and #1 in Oklahoma City, has done just that.

Released today are the mock-ups for Bachman’s mask via lid designer and artist, Dave Gunnarrson. You’ll notice the old fashioned oil derrick is spewing crude, and the three dimensional nature of this fine piece is my favorite part. Here is what Dave said, via Facebook, about the creation of this new mask.

Bachman´s Oilers mask transformed into an oil pump..

This design idea came to me when listened to a country music concert this summer, the idea struck me like a lightning, it´s an awesome feeling Richard Bachman of the Edmonton Oilers and me wanted to do an Oilers mask in a totally new way, and I love to come up with new ideas every day. We wanted to do a mask that felt like Oilers to 100%.

I made some sketches of my idea and the design idea worked. We transformed the whole mask into a hard working oil pump.

The old school oil pump is just like the pumps in the movie “There will be blood” you know, and it´s a very hard working pump because it´s splashing out oil all over. In the background a nice sky with glittering stars, and more hard working oil pumps, is just a few of all the details to tie to whole design into one piece.

I love the challenge to create detailed designs, in a new way, that also looks nice on a distance.

Thank you all for your interest, and thank you Richard for having me as your painter.

You may recall that Olivier Roy has a similar style Oil Spill type facemask. If you’ve forgotten, check out Patricia’s excellent photos and write-up here.

Dave has cranked out some impressive masks for some impressive players, but this one lands in “my favorite” category.

BBG&CS: Cornfields of Iowa, AHL Schedules, Omark, Beards and Choochoo

| The growth of hockey in the cornfields of Iowa — the Iowa Wild:

“In hopes of pushing hockey’s agenda for growth in Iowa, a big push was made this past season when it was announced that AHL hockey would once again return to the Hawkeye State in form of Minnesota’s minor league affiliate, the Iowa Wild.  Heading into their inaugural season, the Wild will look to avoid the fate of the AHL’s Iowa Stars and later Iowa Chops who were never able to get a foothold in the Des Moines community.” — via Pantherparkway.com

| Sports teams social rankings — hmm … there are some problems with this list:

“Much like other big businesses, sports franchises must leverage digital technologies – mobile, social, cloud and big data – to humanize their brand and connect to their audiences. Technologies like high definition television, increasing tickets prices, and uncertain macro-economic conditions means that sell-out stadiums may become a rarity for most professional teams.” – via Huffingtonpost.com

| The convoluted making of the AHL Schedule:

“Once teams put in their narrative, the league starts plugging in dates and routing teams on a giant board.  Then teams have individual conference calls with the league to go over their narrative. “They’ll ask you about three-in-threes,” Abbott said.  “They’ll ask you about the travel.  They’ll ask you about playing the same team twice in a row at home.  Some teams are very particular about those issues.  We’re concerned about our players’ safety first and foremost but beyond that, if we play Providence two nights in a row at home, that’s not a big concern of ours.  Some teams don’t like that.” – via ManchesterMonarchs.com

| In case you missed the news, Linus Omark is BACK!

“It’s up to me now. I don’t expect anything to be given to me, but if I end up (in Oklahoma City), I’m going to work hard down there and, hopefully, that will give me a chance later on,” said Omark. “I’ll do my best to get up to the NHL again. It’s hard to get ice time, (but) I’m going to have to play hard. I’m more mature now. […] I had a good year last year. I played big minutes and, when you play a lot, you grow as a player. I think I’m smarter with the puck now. I don’t throw it away as often. I’m heavier too, but we’ll see. I think I’m stronger, it’s just too early to say.” – Joanne Ireland, Edmonton Journal

| Andrew Ference — pro-environmentalist hockey player:

“The thing about athletes, and the reason they are playing sports professionally, is that we’re really good at being selfish and very single-minded about what we want to accomplish. The vast majority of athletes have blinders on,” says Edmonton Oilers defenseman Andrew Ference, a 15-year NHL veteran and Stanley Cup winner, while speaking at a conference of the Green Sports Alliance in New York City. Ference, an Alberta, Canada native, can say that because he is among those who defy the mold. A lifelong environmentalist, he led the creation of a carbon neutral program for the NHL. It allows players and teams to purchase carbon offsets to counteract their traveling footprint. National Geographic did a series on the “eco-warrior” last year.” – via Co-Exist

| The NFL settles a concussion lawsuit — will this happen in the NHL at some point in the future?

“It was announced on Thursday that the NFL had tentatively settled its consolidated concussion lawsuit with thousands of players turned plaintiffs for $765 million. That’s a number that sounds much bigger than it actually is; it’s a bargain that the league will see as a major coup, both in the short term and the long term. If any concussion litigation was going to stop the league in its tracks, this case was the one. The NFL is no doubt letting out a long, deep sigh of relief.” — via Grantland.com

| Prepare for Movember, dudes!

“You might want to take it easy with that five-blade razor, bros. A new study boldly trumpets that men with scruffy facial hair are considered significantly more attractive than their beard-deficient brethren. At least on the surface, the findings bolster the notion that dudes like Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal take their handsome-powers up a notch with a bit of well-kept stubble.” — via TheWeek.com

| Jonathan Cheechoo is now Choochoo?

– You know that place in The Daily Oklahoman? The one between Big Game & Club Soccer? That’s where you may find some Barons coverage. For the rest of the news, check out BBG&CS every weekend.  –