I met Jessica and Jonathan on Twitter a while back and we later discovered that we sat on opposite sides of the arena from each other. Row A – directly opposite. What are the odds? Since then we have discovered that we also cheer for many of the same players, and Jon and Jess have now become comrades in arms – the 2nd Battalion of Tulupov’s Army. Yes, there is an ongoing theme there. And, let’s not forget the kilts! However, that story will have to wait for another day. Be patient.
Meet Jess Turner – OKC Barons Fan!
PT: How long have you been a hockey fan?
Jess: Since 1995, so 17 years now!
PT: Who is your favorite NHL team and why?
Jess: The Colorado Avalanche have been my mainstay since I started liking hockey. I caught one of their first games on TV as the Avs instead of the Nordiques, and that goofy grin on Joe Sakic’s face made me instantly like him. I kept watching the games and became hooked, especially once Patrick Roy joined. I also love the Dallas Stars, thanks to my husband Jon watching them all the time back in high school.
PT: Who is your favorite NHL player(s) and why?
Jess: Of all time? That would be Patrick Roy. You can’t beat his amazing skills, nor his amazing craziness. Not many other goalies think their goal posts are talking to them, and fewer still probably yell back at them in French. 😉
Current players would be Kari Lehtonen and Steve Ott, though I do still love Milan Hejduk.
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?
Jess: We never really went to many Blazers games; I think maybe two or three? Most of the Blazers games we went to consisted of fights with a hockey game breaking out. 😉 That is, we saw them host Wichita or Tulsa I think each time. I am far more impressed with the quality of players and the playing level of the Barons. It is far superior hockey thus far, and more heart in the game too.
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?
Jess: We did go to a game last year, but not many of them due to work schedules and such.
PT: How many games do you attend and/or watch on average? All? Most? Explain.
Jess: This year we have gone to all but 7 or so. Every single one we could make it to we have!
PT: What is your opinion of the team and coaching this season, so far?
Jess: I am very impressed with Coach Nelson and his staff. They are great coaches; they give our players good opportunities and guidance, and are also very personable. The team has been great this year! They have grown so much both as a unit and individually.
PT: Who are your favorite players and why?
Jess: Kirill Tulupov and Antti Tyrvainen are my favorites, due in large part to their feistiness and the way they play with all of their hearts when out on the ice. The Tuly-bomb of David LeNeveu’s photo by Patricia made me like Tulupov even more.
PT: What player were you most excited to see play this season?
Jess: I did not know any of the players before the season started, so I focused on our goalie, Yann Danis to begin with, and boy did he not disappoint at all!
PT: Who is your favorite new player this season (2011-2012)?
Jess: They are all new to me! Tyler Pitlick would be my pick, aside from Antti and Kirill, as he has grown so much as a player this year.
PT: Who is your fan favorite this season and why?
Jess: My fan favorite was Ryan O’Marra. He was such a blast to watch and quite the trickster from what I hear. One of the first games of the season we had several girls sitting behind us who were new to hockey but having a blast. They were talking about the players by their number, and one girl went “look at #18 man, he’s a ninja! He’s a freaking ninja out there!” due to how fast Ryan was, zipping through the others on the ice. We called him Ninja after that, it was fitting for him.
PT: What would you change about the team itself, if anything?
Jess: Bring back Ryan O’Marra! I know we can’t, but I miss him.
PT: Who deserves a chance at breaking into the Oilers roster next season?
Jess: Man, it is tough to choose! I lean towards Teemu Hartikainen for my gut pick. KCaTO! [PT Note: Keep Calm and Teemu On!]
PT: Describe your best team/player/coach experience this season:
Jess: I haven’t had any personal interactions with any of them, due in part to being painfully shy.
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?
Jess: Pass, mostly. The staff has all been fun and respectful, and helpful when you need them. The concessions however are way overpriced, and there’s not a lot of selection. You know it’s high when you’d pay less at an OU football game. I know that the team has little they can do with that though.
I really like the face-painting area and the posters that everyone can make each game. That’s such a great idea, and my nieces loved it!
PT: What has been your best off-ice experience this season and why?
Jess: Mike, the guy who mans the door down on the north end of the ice. He’s a great man, and a lot of fun. Guaranteed to start the game with a smile on my face after getting in some teasing from Mike.
Also, the STH opening party was a great time! Loved being down on the ice and getting to watch the players practice and getting to know other STH before the season began. Plus the pint glasses were awesome.
PT: What has been your worst off-ice experience this season and why?
Jess: All the drunks in my section. Something about 305 just seems bring them. We’ve had so many people be tossed out for being too drunk, or throwing things on the ice that it is ridiculous.
The insanely loud music, music being played during play, and the insanely loud “funny” guy (don’t remember his name).
PT: What would you like to change about the off-ice experience for next season?
Jess: Make sure the bartender/beer sellers quit selling more alcohol to those who are obviously inebriated. Also not have Derrick wandering around so much while the puck is in play. I’ve missed seeing goals because of him walking in front of me.
PT: As a fan, what is your opinion of the social media aspect (Twitter, Facebook, Website)? Pass or Fail and Why?
Jess: Fail. They don’t advertise the charitable stuff the guys do, or the floor hockey games at schools and such very much, and they tweet about non hockey stuff on their official feed. Pretty lame there. They’re really slow “live-tweeting” the games, to the point that they’ve completely missed goals. Why even bother attempting it if you will be so bad? Thankfully we have Eric Rogers (@AHLBarons) for the good stuff. Also, Helmer’s Heroes needs more press than it gets! Nobody I’ve talked to has even heard of it, but when we tell them about it they think it’s such a great program.
PT: Do you have any additional comments on this subject?
Jess: Prodigy sucks. :p Also, they seriously need a women’s cut road sweater. I hate white!!
Also, they need to seriously advertise the team more! You’ll see Thunder stuff all over town, but only on a few billboards and on the Cox Center will you see anything about the Barons. Get more radio ads at least guys!