No, I have NOT forgotten the Kilts! How can we possibly forget the Kilted Regiment of Tulupov’s Army? Hey, it was National Tartan Day, and all hockey games require a kilt or two. Two kilts were in the audience that night and they will return for the playoffs. Let the Playoffs begin!
We met Jessica Turner earlier, and today, you will meet her husband, Jonathan.
Meet Jonathan Turner – OKC Barons Fan!!
PT: How long have you been a hockey fan?
Jon: I watched hockey with my dad growing up, but I really became a fan on my own in the late 90′s. The Dallas Stars were on a serious up-swing then that culminated in the 2000 Stanley Cup win, and the proximity and excitement really caught my interest.
PT: Who is your favorite NHL team and why?
Jon: I’ve been a fan of the Stars for a long time, but I grew up watching the Blackhawks and still root for them when the two clubs play each other.
PT: Who is your favorite NHL player(s) and why?
Jon: Right now, it’s probably Teemu Hartikainen. For the last few seasons, I’ve really loved watching Steve Ott and Brenden Morrow with the Stars and Patrick Kane with the Hawks.
PT: If you are from OKC, were you a Blazers fan? And if so, how do you compare the Blazers with the AHL OKC Barons team?
Jon: I’ve been in OKC for about 10 years now, but I only went to a couple of Blazers games. I thought they spent too much time hitting (poorly) and fighting and not enough time playing hockey. The Baron’s are head-and-shoulders above the level of the Blazers.
The OKC Barons Team (Players and Coaching staff):
PT: The OKC Barons are now two years old – did you have an opportunity to follow the team since the beginning?
Jon: I went to one game the first season (November 5th when they gave out free inaugural season sweaters) and followed them online some, but I really didn’t get into the team until this year.
PT: How many games do you attend and/or watch on average? All? Most? Explain.
Jon: I go to every home game that I’m in town for. I travel a little for work, so I’ve missed a dozen or so. I listen to almost every away game on the radio.
PT: What is your opinion of the team and coaching this season, so far?
Jon: I’ve been really impressed with both aspects this year. We have a few rough spots on defense and some of our forwards can be gun-shy at times, but over all the team has been really impressive. I feel the same about Coach Nelson. He’s been really great behind the bench this year and his staff seems to really know how to make young players better.
PT: Who are your favorite players and why?
Jon: I love Capt’n Helmer and the things he does for the community. He’s probably the best ambassador the team could ask for both on and off the ice and obviously a really good leader. Josh Green does a great job a a team leader and on his line too, and Mark Arcobello is a really inspiring young player. Can you tell that coming into hockey when Modano and Nieuwendyk were at their peaks means that I’ve always been partial to centers.
PT: What player were you most excited to see play this season?
Jon: Coming in, I really didn’t know anything about the team so I wasn’t looking forward to anyone in particular. Earlier in the season, I recognized that good things were likely to happen when the Keller/Arcobello/Cornet line was on the ice. Recently, I’ve been wanting to see more of specific players that I think don’t get as much ice time as they deserve (especially one particular Russian ….)
PT: Who is your favorite new player this season (2011-2012)?
Jon: It’s definitely Tulupov, but pretty much the whole team is new to me.
PT: Who is your fan favorite this season and why?
Jon: Oh man, this is a tough one. I’m not sure if I can pick a single member of the Army to call out in particular.
Until he was traded, it was probably O’Marra. Helmer is definitely popular too, but no one has more fanatical fans than Tulupov (obviously).
PT: What would you change about the team itself, if anything?
Jon: I’m not a big fan of the mascots. I don’t mind having them around and they add to the entertainment during the intermissions, but I really wish they wouldn’t have them out and in the stands during the game. They’re distracting and can get in the way of seeing the action.
PT: Who deserves a chance at breaking into the Oilers roster next season?
Jon: I’d be surprised if Tubes, VandeVelde, and Hartikainen came back down to OKC next year. Especially with how hard he’s played recently, I’d love to see Antti Tyrvainen get a call-up next year too, but he’s also unlikely to come back after he does.
PT: Describe your best team/player/coach experience this season:
Jon: I haven’t really interacted with any of the players or coaches this season. The best team experience was the absolute drubbing we put on the Texas Stars in the home opener.
PT: Do you have any additional comments regarding the team and players?
Jon: Not really, other than that they’re doing a great job and to not get discouraged at the turn-out at the games. It will take a while, but once the City buys into them, I think they’ll see that they have a solid core of fans and it’s just going to keep growing.
Off-ice Fan Experiences – this includes inside the arena, outside events and social media:
PT: How is the off-ice experience for you as a fan this season? Pass or Fail and Why?
Jon: Off-ice, it was pretty good. I didn’t get to make many of the extra events because of work conflicts, but the pre-season party was a lot of fun. Around the top of the arena, there’s not a lot to do or see, but the team store is well put together and the concessions are … alright, if a bit expensive.
PT: What has been your best off-ice experience this season and why?
Jon: The pre-season party was a blast. Getting to meet with other SSH’s and chat with a few of the players was great. While I’m not sure it counts as an “off-ice” experience, the team skates after Sunday games were a great opportunity and whole lot of fun. They finally gave me the last push to get out and actually learn how to skate instead of just fumbling around.
PT: What has been your worst off-ice experience this season and why?
Jon: We’ve had a few drunk idiots dragged out of section 305 this year. As entertaining as they were, it really detracts from the game when you have a guy PTFO next to you.
PT: What would you like to change about the off-ice experience for next season?
Jon: There’s nothing really central to the experience that I can think of, it’s all auxiliary stuff like a wider variety of vendors.
PT: As a fan, what is your opinion of the social media aspect (Twitter, Facebook, Website)? Pass or Fail and Why?
Jon: I’ve been pretty pleased with the Twitter feeds and the web site. They give good information and insights, though I’m not sure why the team has two accounts when they have exactly the same information. I haven’t been to the team’s Facebook page.