Andrew Lord joined the Barons last season on December 27, 2010 and remained through the end of the regular season, returning to Wheeling for their eight playoff games where he scored 1 goal and had one assist. Lord was one of the most popular players at the Wheeling Nailers during his time there and served as the team’s captain for a season and a half. He scored his first OKC Barons goal on March 22, 2011 in the game against the Milwaukee Admirals. OKC Barons’ fans saw Lord play in the Barons’ preseason game on September 30th versus the Houston Aeros, however he has been out since that time due to a concussion. Oklahoma City fans are very happy to see Andrew skating at practice, and they look forward to seeing Lord fully recovered and playing hockey once again.
Andrew Lord is a very friendly, gregarious young man, with an infectious smile and great sense of humor. A few weeks ago, Lord and Kirill Tulupov participated in an Oil Kings Youth Hockey practice at the Cox Arena. It was difficult to tell who had more fun that night, the Oil Kings or the two Barons’ players who spent time giving the young players tips and then skated with the teams in a practice game. At the end of the night, Lord and Tulupov happily posed for photographs, signed autographs and talked to the kids, their parents and coaches. What a fun opportunity for the Oil Kings — as well as Lord and Tulupov!
Acknowledgments: Many thanks to Andrew Lord for participating in this interview, and also, thanks to Neal Livingston for sharing a few of the more interesting questions. Thanks also to Steven Christy for allowing the use of his photos, and to Josh Evans for arranging the OKC Barons interviews.
- Andrew Lord – Number 17
- Position: Right Wing
- Born: 02/22/1985
- Height: 6-3
- Weight: 205
- Origin: West Vancouver BC, Canada
Interview with Andrew Lord — January 12, 2011
PT: You are from West Vancouver – were you born there? Tell us about growing up in Vancouver.
Lord: I was born in North Vancouver which is 5 minutes away. I go back every summer and I live in downtown Vancouver. But since I was 16 I moved away to play hockey first in Burnaby [and played with the Burnaby Bulldogs] and then I moved to Vernon [Vernon Vipers] for a couple of years, in the interior of British Columbia.
PT: Why hockey? What sparked your interest in hockey?
Lord: I’m Canadian. [laughing] You know, actually one of my cousins – most of my family is from back east in Ontario and Montreal and we would go back for Christmas and I think when I was about 5 years old – he played street hockey with me. The road was kind of icy so we could kind of slide around on our shoes and I loved it. And then from there on I started skating a bit and then just started playing. I loved it and I knew it was for me.
PT: How long have you been playing – from what age?
Lord: I probably first started playing in a league when I was 6, I think.
PT: Did your father play hockey?
Lord: My dad never played actually. Just that cousin – he played a bit of junior hockey, but that is about it.
PT: So … living in Vancouver, who is your favorite NHL team?
Lord: [laughing] Definitely Vancouver. I’m a pretty diehard fan. Which is weird because I play in the Edmonton organization and they are big rivals, but if I ever got a contract with Edmonton or got called up, I’d definitely become an Edmonton fan! [laughing]
PT: This is a great relief to me as a fellow Canucks fan here in Oklahoma. That now makes at least three of us currently in Oklahoma who are cheering on the Canucks this year! — What are your thoughts on this season’s Vancouver Canucks? They had a great playoff run last season, all the way to the Stanley Cup finals, but lost in the 7th game.
Lord: I think they will win the Cup in the next couple of years. They’ve got a very good team, very fast team, a couple of good goalies and it just takes a bit of experience and I think they got a lot of experience during the Cup Finals last year. And they definitely learned some things playing Boston who is a very good team, so I think they will be good to go.
PT: Did you watch the recent game against Boston? (January 7, 2012)
Lord: I did. And enjoyed it a lot! It was a fun one with a playoff type atmosphere
PT: Do you have a favorite player, and if so, why?
Lord: My favorite players are Jarome Iginla and Joe Thornton in the NHL, but as far as the Canucks, I just like them as a team. I like watching the Sedins, the way they control the puck. I enjoy watching Kesler a lot. More the team, the speed, and I also think I am biased because I am from there.
PT: You are a very good bowler! What other hobbies do you have?
Lord: I like to read, and I was actually a pretty good golfer back in the day! I almost picked golf over hockey when I was about 14 years old. I would play every day in the summer and it was a tough decision, but being from Canada it is tough to play golf all year round, so I stuck to hockey.
PT: What is the last book you read?
Lord: Foundations of Real Estate Mathematics 101. For a course I’m taking.
PT: Have you been able to play any golf here in Oklahoma this season?
Lord: No, I haven’t unfortunately. When the guys had the team golf outing I was still suffering from my concussion
PT: How would you describe yourself – what kind of person are you? Not hockey player, but person.
Lord: I’d say fun loving – basically to a T. When I need to be very serious I am serious about my goals and what I want to do in life, but away from that I just love to have fun and always have a smile on my face, and love to laugh. I love to joke and chirp back and forth with the guys and use sarcasm for fun. I love to be loud and vocal and it is very rare to see me in a bad mood.
PT: What is the one thing about you that would surprise people the most?
Lord: Probably my golfing ability! [laughing]
PT: You played ECAC (Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference) hockey at Rensselaer (RPI) in New York. How was the transition from collegiate to professional hockey, and do you think collegiate hockey better prepared you for professional hockey?
Lord: I think the game is definitely a lot different between college and pro. I think I enjoy pro much more. It suits my game a lot more, for my size, and my physicality is much more appreciated, and gives me a lot more room in pro, whereas in college, you can’t really do much of any of that. There are just so few games in college and I just like pro a lot better. Our coaches prepared me well for pro. They taught me how I needed to play to be successful as a pro. I don’t think at the time it helped me that much in college but it has helped me a ton with my professional career.
PT: Since RPI you played on several teams before arriving at the OKC Barons – tell us more about your professional career. You played in the ECHL and AHL – with the Wheeling Nailers, and a few games for the Rochester Americans and Milwaukee Admirals.
Lord: It was fun, I loved playing inWheeling. It is a small town and we always had a lot of great guys on the team and it was a lot of fun. Honestly, I had such a poor college career that I was just happy to keep playing and to be able to play at that level. Then, like I said, pro just suited me so much better. My first year in Wheeling was awesome and I had a great season personally. I was able to play physical and also produce offensively and it was just a great fit. I had a great time and being a blue collar town the fans really took a liking to my style of play. Then I became the captain halfway through my second year and for my third season. The people there just treated me so well and I definitely miss it.
PT: Halfway through last season, you landed at the OKC Barons. How did that come about? How did you make the jump from ECHL to AHL?
Lord: It was definitely a grind for me. Not being a drafted player and having a poor college career really left me with an uphill battle. I got call-ups with Rochester and Milwaukee and I had a really good start to my season last year in Wheeling. One of the scouts from Edmonton saw me in one of the games and he put in a good word with the organization. Then there was a ton of injuries in Edmonton last year so a lot of the AHL guys were moved up and that opened up a spot for me.
PT: You were injured in the OKC Barons preseason – you played in the preseason game against Houston Aeros, but you were injured in that game, or at practice? Tell us more about that.
Lord: It might have been a combination of things, I’m not really sure. The thing with concussions is the symptoms come out sometimes a couple of days later. I had a couple of hits in practice during training camp week, then I was in a fight in the game. I only remember getting punched once in the fight. I don’t know, probably a combination.
PT: You are now improving and are practicing which is great news to OKC Barons fans. Are you able update us?
Lord: I practiced yesterday [January 11, 2012]. Did no contact but did everything else so definitely coming along. I feel so much better right now, so it is exciting.
PT: Good! We are looking forward to seeing you back on the ice!
Lord: Me too!
PT: Concussions seem to be an epidemic this season for a variety of reasons – we are far better able to diagnose them, and more teams and players are reporting them, discussing them, etc. However, recently Colby Armstrong of the Toronto Maple Leafs was hesitant to report his concussion, and in fact he kept it quiet for a while – he is young guy with a rash of injuries who was perhaps afraid to report it for fear of being dropped. Speaking generally – what’s your take on this situation? Do you think the entire hockey community is doing enough to help players in these situations – in terms of prevention and post injury?
Lord: I think they have definitely come a long way for sure. It’s a difficult situation because it’s not like breaking a leg. They can’t just take an X-ray and find out it’s broken and then say ok “3-4 weeks you’ll be back.” There are just so many unknowns still with this injury. I know back even in Junior and a couple of years ago a lot of the guys would hide them because everyone would call it getting your bell rung and that it’s no big deal, that it’s part of the game. We play such a competitive aggressive sport and everyone has so much pride they don’t ever want to take themselves out. But now there is research coming out of Boston University about the possible long-term effects and I think players are starting to take them much more seriously. I was always told that getting your bell rung isn’t a concussion, but now they are saying that that can still have some long-term effects. I think guys are being a lot more careful and as far as the NHL doing enough, I think they have done a great job with not rushing guys – you can see with a guy like Sidney Crosby they have been very patient – and there are a lot of cases like that. I still think there needs to be more research into alternative techniques for how to improve from a concussion. Because right now really all there is, mainstream, is rest and I think there are things out there that can definitely help players. I’m sure it will come with time – we are able to fix almost all injuries now and I’m sure the head will someday get there as well. Obviously it is so complex but I’m sure people out there will find ways to help players. There are also people who are trying to help – Keith Primeau started a website StopConcussions.com and they are trying to get players’ feedback and gather all that information. It will take another ten or fifteen years before we know a lot more I’m sure.
PT: How would you describe yourself as a hockey player? You are a forward but tell me more:
Lord: I’d say I am a very dependable, hardworking, gritty forward that at this level keeps it simple and gives the team energy. I definitely keep the other team accountable, sticking up for my teammates. I think I can also jump in a little bit offensively when I play the right way.
PT & NL: When healthy, where do you see yourself in the lineup? RW, LW, etc.
Lord: Last year I played right wing so I would probably be there again, but at this point I’ll play anywhere!
PT: What aspect of your play are you trying to work on this season?
Lord: Right now, just trying to get back. Going into the season, and now that I am feeling a lot better, just focusing on my quickness. Just keep continuing to get quicker. I made some great strides this summer with that, and with the way the game is played these days you can never be fast enough or quick enough.
PT & NL: Will you tailor your feisty style of play for post injury time on ice?
Lord: I think I am going to try to play the same. That’s what makes me effective, that’s what got me here and that is how I know how to play..
PT & NL: Give us a fair assessment of where the team is at right now? The youngsters? And the veterans?
Lord: We’ve got a great group of guys. It has not been easy sitting out, but it has helped that the team is doing so well. It is fun to watch these guys. I’ve never seen a team win so many close games and that just really shows what kind of character we have. It is amazing with so many young guys, they just never give up and just keep working hard. From the dressing room, we all get along, there is no bickering or anything like that, it is just a great team and everyone is on board.
PT: Who has most influenced you in the field of hockey – anyone, player, parent, coach, and why?
Lord: There’s definitely a couple of people I can think of – the person who has probably helped me the most is a coach out in Vancouver that I have worked with since I was about 17 years old. I go work with him every summer.
PT: Do you have any favorite traditions, habits or superstition, either before or during games?
Lord: Just different routines like always putting the gear on my left side first. During the anthem I have a couple of things but I’ll keep them to myself. More in my mind than what I am actually doing. Things I’m thinking about or saying to myself.
PT: Do you have a hockey nickname?
Lord: Just Lordo or Lordy. I don’t even remember my first name at times. [laughing]
PT: What is your best hockey memory so far?
Lord: I’d probably say back in Junior. We won our league playing for the Vernon Vipers. We swept the entire playoffs – we won every single series, we didn’t lose one game and won the league.
PT: Have you had any memorable encounters with an opponent – if so, please tell us about it?
Lord: There are a lot of guys, there’s probably one or two guys on every team that, on the ice, I’d say you hate them. I’m sure away from the ice, there have even been times when I’ve run into guys, out or wherever where you get along, because you do respect each other, but at the time, yeah, there’s definitely a lot of guys over the years that you’d like to hit a little extra hard, or go after them.
PT & NL: What’s the overall feel from you and your teammates about hockey in Oklahoma?
Lord: We are very pleased. The city seems to have embraced us. We still need to make strides, we are doing a lot of community stuff and we are getting out there. Hopefully it will pay off with the fans. I think people are starting to realize what a great caliber of hockey this is. I think people miss the Blazers because it was such a storied franchise and they were here for so long, but I think people are starting to come around. They are starting to realize how much higher level of hockey this is, and how one day to the next, guys will be playing in the NHL. You will watch a game today here in OKC and see Hartikainen, Green or O’Marra and then you will watch them in Edmonton two nights later. I think as soon as the town starts to realize that – and they are starting to – it will really grow the game and we will have more and more fans.
PT: Who is the toughest competitor in practice?
Lord: Out of our team – it is a good question because I think we have so many guys who push each other. It’s tough. I don’t think I can even name one guy. I think it is almost one of those things where you don’t see anybody taking it easy on anyone. So as a team, it is very good.
PT: Who is most likely to play jokes on his teammates?
Lord: Ryan O’Marra is one, but he is called up right now. He is definitely good! Some of the older guys too are pretty funny, Greener, Helms or Grant. They get a laugh out of the boys too.
PT: What is the best prank or joke so far?
Lord: I think one of the guys put shaving cream in some of the towels.
PT: What has been the most difficult thing about relocating to Oklahoma? You were here for the 2nd half of last season, so you are returning to familiar surroundings. But how was it last season when you first arrived?
Lord: Honestly, I love it here. I don’t think there has been anything difficult. It’s been great. I get to play the game that I love and we have great support, a great rink, great fans and great coaches. So I think it has been very, very easy. I think everyone finds it that way. Even speaking with the older guys who have been around, they just love it here. It is a great fit for everyone.
Maybe the only thing I can think of is they sometimes don’t accept Canadian IDs – sometimes they want two picture IDs because if you are not a US citizen they want two IDs. One time we were eating at Olive Garden, me and a couple of the guys, and we were all Canadian or European, and we sat at the bar because there was a long wait, and we ordered four waters and she asked for our IDs and they ended up kicking us out over four waters, just because of the state rule.
PT: Has any of your family been able to visit you here in Oklahoma?
Lord: Yes, my mom has come down.
PT: What do you like most about Oklahoma?
Lord: I’d probably say the warmth. Vancouver is not really that cold, but we have a lot of rain, similar to Seattle. And even yesterday, it was like 15 C [59 F] during the day and I was wearing a t-shirt out and that’s pretty neat. Especially come February or March it really starts to warm up and they get the pool going at the hotel. Yeah, it’s good!
PT: Have you discovered anything about Oklahoma that has surprised you?
Lord: That there are a lot of lakes actually! I had no idea. I thought it was just flat with no water. I’ve been up to Lake Hefner a lot. It’s very nice up there and from what I hear there are a couple of lakes farther out that are very nice as well.
PT: How have you embraced life in OKC?
Lord: I like it! I went to school back east and it is much more go-go, people are very, very busy. I feel like it is much more laid back here, very friendly too. It reminds me a lot of Vancouver where people will take the time to talk to you and get to know you.
PT: Are you on Twitter or Facebook where OKC Barons fans are able to follow you?
Lord: I’m not. I keep getting that question. One of these days I might have to open a Twitter account.
PT: A number of the players are currently on Twitter or Facebook, and just recently the Coach joined Twitter! He recently tweeted: “Went to my daughters cheer today. If I could bottle the energy of the girls and use it for our boys during a game, we’d be unstoppable.”
I think you have to join after that!
Lord: [laughing] Fair enough. Sounds good.
Previous OKC Barons Interviews: