Barons Attendance? I’m A Part Of The Problem (And The Solution)

At a recent day game, myself, my wife, my six year old, and my one year old, elected to attend an Oklahoma City Barons hockey game. When I say it is a rarity that my entire family goes to a game, believe me, it is. The challenges of moving two young children from house to parking garage to multiple bathrooms to game and back again is tough, an experience many of you readers can likely empathize.

When we rolled up to the ticket counter the cost for seats directly atop the Zamboni entrance was $81. (I do realize they sell $10 “walk up” tickets, but for my family we wanted to sit where we wanted to sit. Indeed there is freedom to pay $10, move to the lower bowl, but on this particular day the areas we would have liked to move to were pretty full. Thus we secured the regular priced ticket. $10 tickets were offered by sales rep) That was for three seats. We had a wonderful time, we spent money on concessions ($26.95), in the team store ($29), and the parking garage ($6). The game was very entertaining, my kids had a blast, and of course we all enjoyed the memory. But like so many others in Oklahoma City, it is going to be hard to make that trip more than once a year, mainly because of the price.

In an attempt to fully disclose the nature of my thoughts I must tell you a few things. I’m not a season seat holder, and never have been. As a matter of fact, I don’t attend even 1/3 of the home games (although I watch every game online, home and away). As a full time pastor the rigors of week-to-week activities can be treacherous, but more than anything else surprising. Thus my schedule does not pin well to the 38 games that the Barons play at home. That’s life, not an excuse.

But are there more like me? Are there families that the Barons need to help boost ticket sales that aren’t attending because the cost is too high? The answer to both questions is always yes.

The other day I wound up on the Fresh Beat Band website (parents, is the new Marina finally winning you over? me too!) searching through calendar dates for their next tour. My daughter, a huge fan, saw them once in Tulsa, loved their show, and is a fan for life much in the same way Kids Incorporated ruled my childhood. $31.25 is the cheapest price per person to see the band play live. To meet the band, tack on another $100. That is a huge chunk of cash to dispense for an family of four, so we can wait. Take that scenario and place it on Sesame Street, eating out, trips to Disney World, White Water, or any other family outings. Things cost a lot of money, and thus families pick and choose based on priority, and they certainly aren’t going to prioritize a full season of hockey games. Time and money are a huge reasons why.

That leads me to this. I don’t attend a lot of games because it isn’t important for my family. They love the game. They know their husband/father loves the game. We have a good time. But we like to eat on a daily basis, and three times at that. *With a population near 600,000, 31% of the population under the age of 18, 2.5 people per household, and an annual median household income just over $45,000 – man, hockey just isn’t high on the priority list for families in this state. It simply can’t be.

When you are trying to sell hockey, an unrecognized sport by the masses (in terms of understanding and enjoying the game), selling tickets is every bit a product of economic circumstance as it is “people just don’t care”. Targeting families might be the way to go if you’re spotlighting hockey as an entertainment option downtown, but it needs to be cost effective. I like what the Oklahoma City Redhawks do in the summer. They choose five or six home games where their one job is to sell the thing out. That’s it. Five or six times a season they want a sell out or at least close to it. Tickets are under $10 for incredible seats, hat and food vouchers are thrown in for good measure. Now that’s a deal. I understand the trappings of the hockey season falling in step with the NBA schedule, but loosening the ongoing price could help. It may not cure all the ailments, but for this family man, I believe it could help.

In the event that you’re reading this, rolling your eyes, and saying, “But they’ll pay money to watch the Thunder twice a month!”, I hear you. I also understand that the product in the NBA is vastly superior to the AHL in just about ever facet, especially in this state. Food, game, pre/post game activities, facilities, general appeal of the game, etc. etc. all beat minor league hockey. No one denies this. The Oklahoma City Thunder, though, will always have something that can’t be bought with money, managed by an entity, or created by extension. Simply put, it is a watercooler sport in this state. The day after a game everyone is talking about the close match up. The elbow thrown by Thabo. Durant’s technical and 40+ points. Westbrook’s latest injury saga. We can’t help ourselves, we like to talk about the cultural relevance of it all. The Barons aren’t even in the same relevancy league.

As for the solution, I think it isn’t fast nor quick nor simple. Pushing the price down helps. Offering additional food options helps. Maybe targeting groups other than families is a better business model. Maybe the Barons have done this. Regardless, it feels pertinent now more than ever to see the OKC Barons become a viable sporting option on the weekends in OKC. We hockey fans may not like the alternative. But are we all willing to change to protect what we love? It may not be a matter of “Do I?”, but rather “Can I?”

*info via census.gov

(A full feature on Barons attendance “year four” is coming in a few short days)

Derek Nesbitt & Ryan Martindale Traded For Two From San Antonio

Photo by Steven Christy

Minor league transactions, for the Oilers organization, feel like the black jelly bean of the candy world. Some love them, some hate them, some find them revolting, but it is candy, a jelly bean no less, and quite frankly demands your approval or lack there of.

I enjoy black jelly beans.

Today the Oilers traded two to the San Antonio Rampage (Florida Panthers org) for two coming back the other way. Ryan Martindale, in the final year of his ELC, had apparently run his course in the Oilers organization. Likewise, newcomer to the Barons, Derek Nesbitt was sent packing for greener pastures.

Martindale, through injury, trips to the ECHL, and subtle inconsistencies over two and a half seasons, was enough to urge MacTavish to swap him for another. The Oilers were going to have to make a decision on the smart centerman at the end of the season, and this move clearly points to the qualifying offer not being extended to Martindale when his RFA status arrived at season’s end. A good face off winner, quality two-way defender, and a penalty killer at times, Martindale has potential. But through nearly three seasons of Thunder/Barons/Oilers hockey, he didn’t emerge enough to prove valuable outside of this season.

I’m anxious to see how he positions himself in the Panthers org. Does he play beyond this season in that destination? We saw a similar scenario play out with Cornet, whom eventually ended up with the Charlotte Checkers, and I believe that Martindale is a more complete player than Philippe.

Third line NHL would be a super high ceiling for Martindale, but more than that, he needs to prove he can continue to stay healthy. The occasional nagging lower body issues (knee) have been problematic, but he’s very understanding and realistic about his potential.

He will be missed, as we OKC fans grew accustom to having him around. Good luck, Ryan.

Derek Nesbitt, signed in the offseason to an AHL contract, was one of a handful of players that the Barons snatched to slightly beef up an otherwise green prospect group. Having spent time in both Wilkes-Barre and Peoria just prior to his move to OKC, the world was Nesbitt’s oyster. He was supposed to be a guaranteed goal scorer, and occasionally was. However, when the prospect to vet ratio of minutes quickly became lopsided, it felt like Nesbitt was nudged out a bit. Regardless, he was a 10 goal scorer and on pace to eclipse his season highs in recent memory. Don’t get me wrong, he played well just not well enough to be considered a future investment. Instead, C.J. Stretch emerges as the front-runner for most-likely-to-be-a-future-Baron. I approve.

Here is the release on the two players heading to the Oilers/Barons:

General Manager Craig MacTavish announced today the Edmonton Oilers have acquired centre Steve Pinizzotto and winger Jack Combs from the Florida Panthers, in exchange for centre Ryan Martindale and winger Derek Nesbitt.

Pinizzotto, 29, has recorded seven points (6G, 1A) and 67 penalty minutes in 21 games this season with the American Hockey League’s San Antonio Rampage.

Combs, 25, has spent time with the Florida Panthers organization over the past two seasons, posting 21 points (12G, 9A) and 20 penalty minutes in 37 games with the San Antonio Rampage.

Pinizzotto is a grinder, no doubt. Ironically, this is the mode the Barons attempted to use Martindale in with little success. Words like “grit” will be used a ton in the next couple of weeks to describe his play, and I guess that’s okay. The Barons want to be tougher to play against, but again, the Oilers do too, and continue to snatch forwards with muscle bound tendencies. Even Nelson, in his comments on the trade, used the words “harder to play against” which is an Oilers war cry of late. The systematic play on the ice isn’t the only thing being pulled taut across the NHL-AHL affiliation – so is team planning.

Combs is a quiter, a more AHL friendly player whom just needs a change of scenery. Nathan Mallet, a San Antonio Rampage blogger, had this to say on twitter of the two trades:

All good points. I’m not sure that the Barons got any better (losing more offense in Nesbitt), but this likely isn’t a trade that has OKC in mind. Do the Oilers play on trotting out Pinizzotto? If Will Acton, Luke Gazdic, and Ryan Jones can find TOI with the Oilers, nothing is out of the realm of possibility.

Both players plan to be in the lineup this evening, barring any flight situations. This will be interesting to see play out.

Signing Stretch To The Barons – Worth it!

Photo by Steven Christy

What if I said there was a player out there that played five WHL seasons wherein the last two of those five he averaged well over a point per game. He’s currently 24 years old, amassed 134 points in 152 ECHL games. In two of those three ECHL seasons he played over 40+ games and was a point per game player or better. In 77 games played at the AHL level he’s contributed 32 points, and currently sits at +3. He’s a young player with shifty skills capable of playing the wing, center, and in various roles throughout the roster. He’s a team guy. A healthy guy (recently lost a couple of teeth). Embraces the local community. Cool as California. Great mustache. A current Baron.

Would you resign him for next season? The answer to this question, for me, is “ABSOLUTELY!”

C.J. Stretch, a player brought in from the Ontario Reign last season by Barons GM Bill Scott, has been nothing short of really good for the Barons. Lost in a sea of NHL contracted prospects this year, Stretch sorta has that Colin McDonald, Mark Arcobello underdog approach to the game that makes me wonder how high his ceiling might be if he played on a really good team for an entire season.

On a nightly basis you can find him throughout the roster, but quite often you will find him on a second or third line (most recently) with Ryan Hamilton or Will Acton. But for Stretch it is much more than playing well, staying healthy or even finding offense when no one else can – he’s captain material.

When you drive the play of whatever line you are playing on, you are a good player. We watched Philippe Cornet soar in his final season as a Baron with some really good linemates. I would say that Stretch is of the similar ilk, but with more God-given intangibles. He could be a legit second line scorer in the AHL, and perhaps take the Arcobellian approach to NHL goodness.

So, in the offseason, when we look at the list of names that potentially could come back, even under an AHL contract only, perhaps you start with Stretch. Regardless of what the Oilers have in mind with other prospects, you will need to find room for vets with a handful of players exiting the org after this season. This is a guy worth considering because he produces and is easy to cheer for. Oklahoma City Barons, do us a favor, sign Stretch soon.

Bakersfield Condors To Be Purchased By Daryl Katz

Rumors of the Bakersfield Condors being purchased by Daryl Katz have existed for as long as the Oilers have switched their affiliate from Stockton To Bakersfield this summer. It appears that rumors are becoming a bit more fact based, and Terry Jones at the Edmonton Sun seems to have the scoop.

In an article posted Tuesday evening, Jones said:

Sometime this month, your correspondent has learned, Daryl Katz will become owner of the Oilers ECHL farm franchise which currently stars goaltender Laurent Brossoit and has had incredible international publicity from several wacky and wonderful promotions.

The Oilers relocated their Double A minor league farm affiliation here from Stockton this year.

The team has been owned for 16 years by Wall Street’s Jonathan Fleisig, a previous owner of the Las Vegas Wranglers and current owner of baseball minor league Lake Country Fielders of the Northern League and the Lorado Lemurs of the American Association.

After months of speculation, it seems that Katz is ready to be the affiliate owner of his ECHL club as well as his AHL club, in Oklahoma City. This is an interesting “get” for the Oilers, and the Katz family.

The Oilers have recently enjoyed the tight-fist approach to prospect development. They want things done in an orderly, and seemingly finite fashion. Jones touches on this in his article:

The idea of the NHL Oilers deciding to purchase the franchise is believed to be motivated by having the ability to control the supply of prospects not signed to NHL or AHL contracts. The appeal of owning the team is having the ability to convince undrafted players without contracts to play here. They’d be joining a team where they’d know there’d be eyes on them all the time, a big appeal for players in the low minors.

I’m fond of the idea of having a non NHL/AHL contracted prospect pool that can be helicopter parented by the Oilers. Guys like Mark Arcobello, for instance, can have high quality minutes while also being considered an Oiler hockey prospect. This is good news.

It is also likely good news for Oklahoma City, and their future as an Oiler affiliated team. Barons fans, including this one, have become hyper critical of attendance figures, but more so the lack of interest from local management. Through this insecurity, we have questioned the future of the team in our city. This, however, might point to the Barons sitting in Oklahoma City a bit longer.

Would you move your AHL affiliate to Bakersfield? Maybe (it certainly is nearly identical in miles traveled when compared to OKC). There is seemingly no reason for the affiliate to move on the map given the destination options currently in front of them. With one wrinkle. Wouldn’t it be nice to have ECHL in Bakersfield, AHL in Abbotsford/Portland/Seattle or something along those lines? Yes, with a huge asterisks – the AHL isn’t expanding West.

In recent seasons the league has continued to stay Northeast with Abbotsford being the lone Pacific Time Zone team. As a league, there doesn’t seem to be a desire to move that direction, and for now, South West is as far as they’ll go. Creating an AHL squad in California or anywhere on the Pac Coast would be a really difficult sell to the league’s Board of Governors. The minor league affiliates don’t have the same pay out as NHL teams, and the cost of travel alone might be brutal.

On a side note, I’ve long believed that the AHL could certainly move West. Perhaps a merger of the ECHL and AHL. Or the creation of a separate, but similar in thought, West Coast team that complies with AHL government. Man, that sounds ludicrous and sticky, but I like West Coast hockey. There are some great cities who would make great AHL destination points in the future. For now I’ll dream.

In the coming days we will take a longer look at the contractual obligations between Oklahoma City and the Barons, and discuss the future as it stands in year #4 of AHL hockey. For now, Bakersfield joins the family. Welcome.

(read the full Terry Jones penned article at the Edmonton Sun)

Curtis Hamilton Out “Five To Six Weeks” With Knee Injury

Photo by Steven Christy

“No more hockey prospect injuries!” I shouted at the top of my lungs on an otherwise pretty nice Monday morning. The news of Curtis Hamilton missing five to six weeks (probably more like seven to eight) via Bob Stauffer sounds eerily familiar. Only 21 games in, following an extended period of time off for ACL surgery, the left-handed forward drafted by the Edmonton Oilers will again be sidelined. And it comes at an inopportune time as he was just now beginning to A) score with regularity and B) do things that the Oilers need him to do (i.e. PK specialist). The path that Hamilton now walks will be rocky, especially within the Oilers org where he is in his final contractual season.

Hamilton was on a bit of a tear lately. Five goals, four assists, in 21 games was his best yet. On the wing with Pitlick the opposite and Martindale the center, that second Barons line was firing on all cylinders.

Ryan Martindale, knee. Oscar Klefbom, shoulder. Tyler Pitlick, knee. So many prospects, so many “nagging” injuries. The brutality of the sport we love also highlights the frailty of the young body even at its highest physical health. For the Edmonton Oilers, having these players injured isn’t good for business, nor their long-term positioning of player personnel. I’ve often wondered if teams, like the Oilers, desperately seek goodness from their players much quicker because they realize injury can always cut things short. Then again, why draft them if they are injury prone? And to a further point, aren’t they all injury prone?

Suddenly we find value in the sturdy. Guys like Teemu Hartikainen, who had his share of injuries, but seemingly overcame them quickly with little fuss. In the case of Hamilton, the knee injuries that now haunt him might, no will, push back his development. That’s not good for Curtis, and certainly not good for the Oilers.

Hoping for a speedy recovery, Curtis!

Barons To Finish Three-In-Three Tonight Minus Two Forwards

Photo by Rob Ferguson

There is very little chance (actually zero) that we see Andrew Miller and Curtis Hamilton this evening in the finale of the home three-in-three that began Thursday. Broken hands and tweaked knees aside, the Barons will be dealing with a quick Checkers team without two quick players of their own. Will they be okay?

C.J. Stretch, Ben Eager, and Steve MacIntyre were scratched last night which points to them being active today. With Steve Mac playing defense lately, this leaves very little wiggle room for Todd Nelson and crew to ice a competitive roster. If the Barons want physicality against Charlotte, adding Stretch and Eager might not be a bad idea.

Austin Fyten will probably make a return very soon (currently in Idaho) once we get a good read on the severity of Miller and Hamilton’s injuries. Also worth exploring is Joel Broda, who exited the team when the roster was thick. Regardless of who comes in to complete the roster (with wiggle room), the Barons will strive to earn standing points by playing a full sixty minutes nightly.

Last night the Charlotte Checkers dropped four straight goals on the Oklahoma City Barons in the first period, and in under fifteen minutes. This feat was accomplished thanks to a snoozy first period by the home team whom allowed Checkers forward Matthew Pistilli to nearly earn a hat trick in the first period.

Chet Pickard, the AHL contracted tender for OKC, was out of his element, but was also a product of the brutal defense playing in front of him. Richard Bachman soared to the rescue stopping all 22 shots faced, but the damage had been done.

The 0 for 5 Barons power play had moments of near greatness, but they were constantly a step behind even with an extra skater. It was that kind of night.

Beating the Charlotte Checkers is about being sharp and playing a muscle-bound game – crisp passes, strong boards play, and quieting their speed. Normally a good forecheck might give the Checks a run for their money, but Hamilton and Miller were the two wittiest forecheckers, and so we might scratch that idea.

With Oscar Klefbom tweaking his shoulder injury again in practice this week, he will likely be a game time decision. If he can play, he will get huge minutes.

Should be a game worth tuning in to. Go Barons!

Andrew Miller And Curtis Hamilton Both Sidelined With Injuries

Somewhere amid a four goal first period by the Charlotte Checkers, two key Oklahoma City Barons suffered injuries tonight at the Cox Center.

Andrew Miller, according to Barons coach Todd Nelson in his post game comments, has broken his hand. X-rays done mid-game confirmed the break. No word on the severity or duration of games missed, but this is bad news for both Miller and the Barons.

The second sidelined Baron is no stranger to injury. Curtis Hamilton, recently coming back to play in the last 20 or so games following ACL surgery, left the first period after a collision involving his knee. Given the history of knee issues with young Curtis, Todd Nelson was unable to give immediate details on the severity of the injury. This has me worried, but anxious to hear what team doctors have to report in the coming days.

The Barons lose two key pieces to the immediate future success of their team.

Miller, the pesky forechecker and power play helper, is in the midst of a season where he would like to impress the Oilers management in his rookie season. A broken hand or any setback really doesn’t help his case.

Hamilton, on the other hand, is in the final season of his ELC, and was just starting to emerge as perhaps a solid prospect. Strong on the PK with a scoring touch, all fingers are crossed that Curtis is fine, and the scenario that played out tonight is only a precaution.

The Barons lost tonight, 5-2, to the Charlotte Checkers. Rematch tomorrow night.

More details coming. Stay tuned.

AHL All-Star Team Announced, No Oklahoma City Players Included

The American Hockey League All-Star team has been announced. No Barons made the cut. If you recall, the AHL All-Star Game will take a bit of a turn this season as the festivities take place in St. Johns (home of the IceCaps), but instead of East vs West will ship Farjestad BK of the Swedish Hockey League over for the weekend. It is an interesting thing to do, I’m not a huge fan of it, but I’ve never been a huge fan of minor league All-Star Games in a league like the AHL. In an Olympic year, I can swallow the pill just a bit easier.

via the official release

“A team of AHL All-Stars will be facing off against Färjestad BK of the Swedish Hockey League in the two-day event, which will include the AHL All-Star Skills Competition on Feb. 11 and the AHL All-Star Game on Feb. 12.”

Now to the roster:

Forwards

Brett Connolly, Syracuse Crunch (Tampa Bay)

Brian Gibbons, W-B/Scranton Penguins (Pittsburgh)

Mike Hoffman, Binghamton Senators (Ottawa)

Jason Jaffray, St. John’s IceCaps (Winnipeg)

Travis Morin, Texas Stars (Dallas)

Brandon Pirri, Rockford IceHogs (Chicago)

Colton Sceviour, Texas Stars (Dallas)

Colton Sissons, Milwaukee Admirals (Nashville)

Ryan Spooner, Providence Bruins (Boston)

Ben Street, Abbotsford Heat (Calgary)

Ryan Strome, Bridgeport Sound Tigers (N.Y. Islanders)

Linden Vey, Manchester Monarchs (Los Angeles)

Defensemen

Chad Billins, Abbotsford Heat (Calgary)

T.J. Brennan, Toronto Marlies (Toronto)

Cody Goloubef, Springfield Falcons (Columbus)

Alexey Marchenko, Grand Rapids Griffins (Detroit)

Brayden McNabb, Rochester Americans (Buffalo)

Frederic St. Denis, Springfield Falcons (Columbus)

Goaltenders

Jake Allen, Chicago Wolves (St. Louis)

Martin Jones, Manchester Monarchs (Los Angeles)

The narrative here is that the league went with the best players as opposed to Team A and Team B with one player from each squad making the cut. Given the strange nature of this year’s game, I’d say the league made the right choice.

Roman Horak is likely the only candidate for this year’s team now playing in Oklahoma City, but he’s barely notched 20 points on the season. Linus Omark, had he remained a Baron/Oiler, would most certainly have made the cut.

 

Oklahoma City Says, “Howdy!” To Utica

The Utica Comets, hailing from the town in New York with the same name (Utica, not Comets) are the latest addition to the American Hockey League landscape. Affiliated with the Vancouver Canucks, and struggling to find any type of rhythm in their first season, they head to Oklahoma City for the first-ever game between the two clubs. Despite the inconsistencies of Utica for much of the season, a new foe is always welcome.

Owning the worst record in the league at 11-18-1-2, the woes of life as a Comet are real and they are present. Don’t think for a minute that they are pushovers, they just struggle to score goals. 100 goals allowed is 21 fewer than the Barons. 76 goals for is 24 fewer than the Barons. Yet the Utica Comets have three players w/ 20+ points (they’ll get Benn Ferriero back tonight), the Barons have one (Roman Horak, but seven points came from Abbotsford, so there’s that).

More than anything this is a statement game for the Oklahoma City Barons, and potentially the Utica Comets. With both teams in the doldrums, the time to win is now. Having earned at least one point in the last three games, the Barons are starting to uptick just enough to give fans and coaches hope. Hope that maybe, just maybe, this team can start scoring goals while defending substantially better. That’s a lot to ask.

The Barons will get Brad Hunt back from the Oilers, but not Martin Marincin. Hunt is a good puck mover, and is highly capable in several special team facets of the game. Regardless of how he performed as an Oiler (which was awful, by the way) he can continue to hone his craft on the farm, and the farm will gladly welcome him back. Grebeshkov, Fedun, Hunt, Klefbom, and the suddenly goal-friendly Gernat, will be huge in the success of the Barons squad in 2014.

Fifteen goals. That’s the total in three straight games for the Barons. The seven games prior to that barely eclipsed that total. The sticks are alive and well for the Barons, and that’s a rarity. Likewise, a two game winning streak is in tow, and that hasn’t happened since mid-October. Has the team turned the page?

Perhaps. Yet the quality of competition is sullied, and thus the Barons look better. However, they still have to win the games, and have had every opportunity to lose the two they’ve won in the last two outings. Utica, although seemingly a dog, can present some major issues for the Barons if they aren’t careful.

Utica is riding a streak of their own. They’ve lost two in a row by a margin of three goals in each. Ouch.

But they continue to be one of the least penalized teams in the league. That’s good. They have one of the worst records in the league when scoring first. That’s bad. Vvet center, Pascal Pelletier has scored 28 points this season including 21 assists. That’s good. They occasionally lose in bunches. That’s bad. But again, the Barons haven’t been without their ups and downs this season. The hope is that when the dust settles there is more up than down.

Curtis Hamilton, Ryan Martindale, Tyler Pitlick, Martin Gernat – all have been successful in last five games – they need to continue to move up quickly. Other like C.J. Stretch, Andrew Miller, Anton Lander and Roman Horak will need to pitch in to backstop the “young and prone to inconsistency”.

Richard Bachman and Chet Pickard (with his new mask) have had sizable wins lately, and that’s a really good thing for the team and for the nerves of the coaching staff.

If the Oilers can remain healthy, and view the farm team as the farm and not just a holding pen, then the consistency will come. This is not a Western Conference Final squad in OKC, but it is indeed fully capable of making the playoffs. But it is going to be close…very close.

Game is tonight (originally scheduled for Wednesday) at the Cox Center. GO Barons!

Martin Marincin Makes Slovakia’s Olympic Team

Photo by Steven Christy

“Zdeno Chara passes to Martin Marincin who wheels it around the blue line…”

An odd statement, but one that warms even the frostiest demeanor. Announced this morning, Oilers prospect and recent Barons defender Martin Marincin, has been placed on the Slovakian Olympic team for next month’s trip to Sochi.

This is a big deal for Martin, who only recently was promoted to the NHL where he has suited seven games for the Edmonton Oilers. The youngster from Kosice, Slovakia is one of the youngest members of the team, yet will fill an important role on a squad with world experience.

Here is how the rest of the roster appears:

Forwards
Milan Bartovic, Marian Gaborik, Michal Handzus, Marcel Hossa, Marian Hossa, Tomas Jurco, Tomas Kopecky, Tomas Marcinko, Michel Miklik, Peter Olvecky, Richard Panik, Tomas Surovy, Tomas Tatar, Tomas Zaborsky.

Defennders
Ivan Baranka, Zdeno Chara, Dominik Granak, Martin Marincin, Andrej Meszaros, Andrej Sekera, Michal Sersen, Lubomir Visnovsky.

Goaltenders
Peter Budaj, Jaroslav Halak, Jan Laco

Names like Gaborik, Handzus, Hossa (x2), Jurco, Kopecky put the defensive players like Chara, Meszaros, Visnosvsky, and suddenly Marincin in some good company.

This being the first time that a somewhat current Oklahoma City Barons player has made an Olympic roster, it is a big deal not only for the fans in this city, but the organization at large. Good luck to Team Slovakia and to Martin Marincin!