There are reasons to be thankful, Oklahoma City Barons fans, and not just because of this unseasonably cold November we are having. Family, food, football, such and such usually top our thankful list on this day of, well, Thanksgiving, but I have challenged myself to be positive in regards to our beloved hockey club we call our own.
On that first Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims and the local natives sat across from each other, enjoying a three day meal of venison, lobster, and corn and bravely agreed to live in harmony. I too, in a less historically triumphant fashion, will praise the harmonious life cycle of the Barons and their existence in the city I call home.
Reasons to be thankful, proceed.
1) We have goaltenders & choices! And before you say, “I’m glad we don’t have Jeff Deslauriers anymore” I’ll remind you he’s 10-4-1 with the Baby Pens.
2) Omark is still smug. In a less glaring eyeball, grown up sorta way, but it’s still there. And you kinda grow to love it.
3) Free parking. It does exist, and probably only on nights there are Barons games. Enjoy obscurity while you can.
4) The Barons souvenir cup. If you’re hesitant to get one, be hesitant no more. They make great rinse cups for kids at bathtime, are wonderful potted plant ecosystems, and hold more orange Crush than is legally allowed. Just don’t do all three things at once.
5) The team loves community. Have you driven by the Habitat for Humanity build site? Cool. Did you see the Grebeshkov Barons Buddies photos? Awesome.
6) Teemu Hartikainen’s crazy adventures in the KHL. Strange brews, wild and wooly hats, and funny caricatures. If you’re not lucky enough to be following him on Instagram, I’m deeply sorry.
7) Easy to pronounce names this season. Bryzgalov is a bit tricky for the noob, as is Broissoit (I called him Bross-Way the other day). Yet we Okies will always find a way to butcher “Ewanyk”.
8) Thunder basketball. I’m a fan of the NBA team, no doubt, and you should be too. They bring great improvements to restaurants and overall downtown experiences that “big league” cities always do. Plus, Nick Collison would look killer in a Barons third.
9) You, the fans. We are few, but vocal, funny, and precocious. We have to be.
10) Mark Arcobello is awesome. He’s been non-existent in the Oilers roster lately, but what a point scoring tear he was on. Yes, we Oklahomans take full responsibility for his success.
11) Tyler Bunz social media. The Avengers costumes were great, but Tyler Bunz has been rattling off fantastic social posts for years. I don’t know where that kid spends his summers, but it looks like a Florida Georgia Line video.
12) Texas Stars. Because the rivalry that was spoon fed to us by the league has actually turned into a pretty tame matchup. We really kind of love Cedar Park, don’t we?
13) Buffalo Wild Wings (NWX location). They care about hockey fans. How sweet.
14) Sunday skates with the players. Where you look like an idiot in skates that don’t fit right, but you secretly hope Ben Eager comes to catch you when you fall and then gracefully lifts you over his head like the Stanley Cup.
15) Todd Nelson. No explanation needed.
16) Toni Rajala. Because there’s always a chance, just ask Linus Omark.
17) Oscar Klefbom checks. I internally go KlefBOOM when he does it. I may have actually done it out loud a few times. Not ashamed.
19) Barons sweaters. They wick sweat AND nacho cheese. Win!
20) The Oilers. Without you we have nothing (okay, maybe the Blues or someone else, but you get the message).
What Barons things are you thankful for?