Hello faithful readers, and those who accidentally found our website via Googling “Farm Fresh Produce”, the blog is back(ish) with some major tweaks, a few deep thoughts, and some quibbles about cheap yarn from Michael’s. I hope you enjoy the ride, however lost you might be at this point.
A quick recap of the last six months wouldn’t be worth mentioning more than in brief, but since the fine people of Oklahoma City lost their pro AHL team (that was one of the best over that five year span) life has been a little sideways.
Since last we seriously highlighted serious pro hockey on this site, our lovely OKC Barons were ending their five year cycle of farming the Edmonton Oilers. They were packing up, heading West, and hopefully steering clear of TMZ reporters (retracted). The team was incredibly well-rounded at that time, and equally as well-coached. The five year run was short, sweet, and magically delicious. Yet we were forced to move on.
Some have found comfort in junior hockey, and the sights and sounds of a familiar Blazers crest while others have explored the collegiate hockey programs that are on the upswing. All are great, reputable places to turn for your hockey fix, but it just isn’t the same. Like choosing any cheese based side dish over Kraft Mac & Cheese — there can be only one.
Pull up a chair, grab your spectacles, and read on. There is hope to be found in the paragraphs that follow.
With the loss of a hockey team comes three stages of grief — Crippling Realization of Loss, Unfounded Confusion, Anger That Turns To Other Hobbies. For me, I’m still caught in the final stage which has made me quite the crochet maven (see the photo above). No, seriously, I have taken to the task of crocheting puff stitch boot cuffs, v-stitch caps, single crochet 19mm scarves, and a sundry of other delights. The creation of something with my own two hands, a hook, and some yarn is an impressive feeling, but that’s for another blog post.
So I have begun mulling over the options for this website moving forward, and quite frankly it has taken some time.
I have considered continuing to cover the Oilers farm club from afar, but that felt a bit disingenuous. The heartbeat of minor league sports is mostly about the small number of fans who ban together for a pure love of the game. Plain and simple, Bakersfield has great fans, let them share their deep thoughts about the team. It is hard to truly grasp the full shape of an organization when you are states and timezone away. You can cover the on-ice play, but there is so much more to a hockey team than just the 60 minutes of ice time.
I thought about taking a stab at covering the AHL in its entirety. While a noble cause, it is far too difficult to do. The paragraph above excluded, there just aren’t enough slots in one person’s day to cover the league.
So I moved on to potentially covering prospects — junior, worldwide, AHL, ECHL, NHL — to see if there was interest in a true up-and-coming under-dog of a story. After all that has always been one of my favorite parts of minor league hockey, surely others might find them interesting. But I quickly realized that watching a prospect, for one game, under a microscope doesn’t do anyone any favors. The hot-cold issues that plague young players is truly apparent when you watch in spasms rather than full heaves. So I moved on.
While pulling myself through the much and the mire of deciding the “direction” for Tend The Farm I completely forgot about the one thing that has always tied these words to the outside world — the fans. I’m not just a person covering a team (sometimes better than other times) or a player or a league or a fraction of a time frame — I’m a hockey fan. While this continues to be an unusual fandom to choose to be a part of in Oklahoma, I believe that there is sweetness to the few and the proud simply being fans.
As we roll along through the coming months Tend The Farm will evolve. It will become a place where myself, and a few others, will share their Oklahoma-sized perspective on the game. We have learned a thing or two about hockey. We know the loss of a team (more than once), and the excitement of new outlets. We are hopeful for what is to come, but content to wait. I think there is value in perspective from that angle. A perfect aperture, if you will.
Welcome back, those that have been faithful to read for 5+ years. Welcome to those that stumbled upon this page by accident. We look forward to interacting with you as we talk hockey — minor and major. And we anticipate a day when there is dedicated space to cover another OKC pro team. The harvest is ready, the farm hands are prepared, now let’s go play hockey.