Denton Johnson is a serious hockey fan without a doubt. He’s knowledgeable, fun to talk to, and really loves his jerseys! And despite the fact that he is a Chicago Blackhawks fan, I like him! 😉 Denton oversees the OKC Barons DieHard Fan page on Facebook and it is one of the best fan pages I have ever seen, bar none. He keeps it friendly and welcoming – a very difficult feat sometimes with fans these days! When talking about the OKC Barons, he will tell you what an honor it is to watch this team – and that tells you a great deal about Denton. It is also an honor to know Denton.
Meet Denton Johnson – OKC Barons Fan!!
PT: How long have you been a hockey fan?
Denton: I have been a hockey fan since the early 80’s And at the time I lived in Amarillo, TX. It was hard to be a hockey fan at that time in that part of the country.
PT: Who is your favorite NHL team and why?
Denton: The Chicago Blackhawks. Also have come to love the Oilers the last couple of years.
PT: Who is your favorite NHL player(s) and why?
Denton: J. Toews. He just does it all well. Offense, Defense, does not mind getting in the dirty areas and leads by example. Growing up I really liked Pat Lafontaine for a lot of the same reasons.
PT: Do you have any hockey souvenirs? What are they?
Denton: I have collected some great stuff over the years. I have about 18 game worn jerseys including several from the Barons. I have one from Sweden and one from Finland from the IIHF tourney a couple of years ago and a lot of others. I like autographs and some of those include a puck signed by Mario Lemieux, a stick signed by Pavel Bure the day he won the Rookie of the Year and an 8 x 10 signed by Ray Bourque the day the Bruins practiced at the Blazer Ice center before an exhibition game here in OKC.
PT: What is your favorite hockey souvenir(s)? (Jersey, puck, etc.)
Denton: Back when my wife was pregnant with Breanna I would sit down and write various players and send them a card to sign. I must have hand written about 200 short notes and envelopes to players and teams. Well I started getting some back and ended up getting about 125 signed cards back in the mail. Including some of the greats in the mid 80’s like Mike Modano, Brett Hull, Dominik Hasek, Martin Broduer and The Great One. These kind of stick out to me because it was so much fun going to the mailbox every day to see who was in there.
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?
Denton: I loved Hockey so I went to a lot of the games when they came back but life got in the way and did not go to so many in the later years and really did not like the game they played as much in their later stages. Apples and Oranges and this is what people need to realize. These young men are future NHL’ers and fans of the sport should consider it an honor to see these guys before they become stars.
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?
Denton: I bought season tickets as soon as I could. I think I have missed three games the last two years. So, yeah.
PT: How many games do you attend and/or watch on average? All? Most? Explain.
Denton: See above. My whole family loves the Barons so we use the opportunity for a lot of our family time.
PT: What is your opinion of the team and coaching this season, so far?
Denton: I don’t think we could ask for much more than what we have received. Our second season in the league and we went to playoffs last year by sqeaking in and this year we have led the West pretty much all season.
PT: Who are your favorite players and why?
Denton: I have a few for different reasons. Chris VandeVelde because he just goes and does his job and he is good at it. Antti because every team needs that one guy you hate to play against because everybody else thinks he is a pain in the butt. There are more and I could write a short story on them all. I really like the whole team make up this year.
PT: Which player were you most excited to see play this season?
Denton: All of the kids that came up from Juniors. Lander, Pitlick and Hamilton especially. The Oilers have so many talented kids that I look forward to seeing all of them pass through OKC.
PT: Who is your favorite new player this season (2011-2012)?
Denton: My wife says it changes from game to game and she is probably right. I really have to say Pitlick right now. That kid is complete! Needs to mature just a little but he is going to be special.
PT: Who is your fan favorite this season and why?
Denton: Antti, the way he plays the game, full tilt on every shift. Will hit the Zamboni if it gets in the way. But I sure would hate him if he played for another team.
PT: What would you change about the team itself, if anything?
Denton: A little more shooting at the net and going to get rebounds and a little less trying to make the perfect pass sometimes. The last few weeks they seem to be doing that more which is nice.
PT: Who deserves a chance at breaking into the Oilers roster next season?
Denton: Teemu and Tubes and Chris VV.
PT: Describe your best team/player/coach experience this season:
Denton: There have been several but I think my favorite was at the Christmas party. I went up and asked Coach Nelson to sign a card I had of him, his Rookie card. I then got to listen to him tell me the story about the card, when it was taken, the fact that he was using some else’s stick because they forgot to pack his. It was great!! I could honestly sit and listen to his stories all day.
PT: Do you have any additional comments regarding the team and players?
Denton: They are all great guys and very personable. They represent the city well.
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?
Denton: I think they have made improvements over last year for sure but they seem to have a ways to go. I think they should focus more on why people are there to begin with and that is the players. I tend to ignore most of what goes on in between periods because I am not interested in that type of stuff. And for all of the fans get some more modern music that would actually keep people fired up. Go down to Dallas and ask for help if you need to or ask a fan or player.
PT: What has been your best off-ice experience this season and why?
Denton: I was in the Edge one night just looking at the jerseys and I happened to be wearing my jersey from Finland from the IIHF and someone comes up from behind me and says something that I did not understand. I turn around to see who it was and what he said and come to find out it was Teemu’s dad, he was talking to me in Finnish. I talked to him for a bit, this was his first trip to the States and it was just cool to talk to him.
PT: What has been your worst off-ice experience this season and why?
Denton: Like I say, if the puck is not in play, I really zone out.
PT: What would you like to change about the off-ice experience for next season?
Denton: Better music, less Shane. (I know he tries and I hate to call him out but he just does not appeal to me and I get the impression he could not tell you a thing about hockey.) Focus more on the players!!!! Also they need to do more promotions to get people in the stands. Our best crowds are giveaway nights and I think that is a small price to pay to get better crowds.
PT: As a fan, what is your opinion of the social media aspect (Twitter, Facebook, Website)? Pass or Fail and Why?
Denton: I find a lot of info in the social media that I can’t find anywhere else. The Barons seem to be lacking in this area going by what other teams do and our local media seems reluctant to hop on the bandwagon for whatever reason. The OKC Barons Diehard page on Facebook has some wonderful people on it from everywhere and between them and their info, we have usually discussed it before it comes out from anywhere else. I know … shameless plug, but it’s true.