Ryan Keller – March 25, 2012: The Oklahoma City Barons play the Grand Rapids Griffins in an American Hockey League game at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City. (Photo: Courtesy Steven Christy Photography. All Rights Reserved.)

Ryan Keller came to the OKC Barons last season from the Binghamton Senators where as Captain he led the Senators to their 2011 Calder Cup Championship, scoring the Game 6 winning goal to clinch the Cup in the finals against the Houston Aeros. With the Barons during the 2011-2012 season, Keller played 71 regular season games with 21 goals, 28 assists, a plus-22, and 38 penalty minutes, helping the team clinch the Western Conference regular season title. Added to that are Keller’s playoff points of 5 goals and 5 assists in 14 post-season games, as the Barons advanced through 2 rounds of the playoffs, only to be halted in the 3rd round of the Western Conference Finals against the Toronto Marlies.

OKC fans will miss our Alternate Captain Ryan Keller, and we wish him all the best! Genève-Servette and the Swiss league are very lucky to have gained Ryan Keller to their ranks.

One of my all time favorite Barons videos comes from the Oilers “Barons’ Fan Skate” video. Tanner House interviewed fans and talked to his teammates, and near the end, he talks to Ryan Keller and his very shy young daughter (beginning at 2:15). This never fails to make me smile every time.

[Thanks to Neal Livingston for tossing a few questions into the group!]

Interview:

PT: Congratulations on your recent signing with Genève-Servette HC of the NLA in Switzerland! You have played in Europe before – you played in Finland for 2 seasons with the Blues in the SM-liiga. How was that experience?

Ryan: It was a great experience and a big part of why we were comfortable going back to Europe.

PT: You have now signed with the Genève-Servette – how do you expect to change your play from last season in the AHL with the OKC Barons to this coming season in the Swiss league?

Ryan:  I don’t think it will be all that much really, the main things are still to manage the puck and be reliable at both ends of the ice.

PT: I have heard very good things about the Swiss league. What can you tell us about your new team and league?

Ryan:  The league has a lot of skill and a lot of great skaters. It is probably one of the better leagues in Europe alongside the KHL. As for the team itself other than a couple names I don’t know much at all.

PT: Are you and your family excited to be in Geneva this season? It is a beautiful city and country!

Ryan:  Yea we are a very excited.

PT: On twitter you mentioned that you have to learn French – have you started taking any lessons, or do you plan to pick it up once there?

Ryan:  We have bought a couple books to help learn the language but will probably learn more once we are in Geneva.

PT: Winter in Switzerland will be a huge change from OKC’s winter. Are you looking forward to returning to cold snowy winters?

Ryan:  Growing up in Saskatchewan we are used to cold winters so the weather there should not be too much of a shock. It will be nice to see some snow again but we really enjoyed OKC weather and it was a lot easier to take our daughter out and do things when you don’t need to bundle up.

PT & NL: Will you explore a return to the AHL/NHL soon? We would love to see you back in North America again.

Ryan:  I don’t know to be honest. I have a two year contract in Geneva and feel like Europe right now is the best thing for my family long term.

PT & NL: How was your OKC send-off? Was it cordial? Fans were very disappointed that we did not end with a home game to send the team off properly, with a huge cheer of appreciation for such an amazing season.

Ryan:  Yea everyone in OKC was great to work with. At the end of the day everyone understands it’s a business. I wish them all the best next season.

PT: Have you had time to spend with your family and friends this summer in Canada before you head to Europe?

Ryan:  Yea it has been nice to spend time with everyone over the summer before we head out.

PT: Thank you for agreeing to this interview. OKC fans are very sad to see you depart, but we wish you all the best. Please keep us posted via twitter! You will always have fans here, wherever you go!

Ryan:  I will for sure. Thanks a lot.

Ryan Keller at OKC Barons Open House, Oct. 11, 2011 (Photo: Patricia Teter. All Rights Reserved.)

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