Matt has recently moved to New England but when he is in town, he is always at the Barons games with his wife Laura, who attends every game possible. You might have seen Matt and Laura at the Special Olympics auction – they are the proud owners of David LeNeveu’s jersey this season! As you read through Matt’s interview, you will notice that Matt is a fan of Ice girls – and yes, Matt, I included a couple of photos of you and various Ice girls. 😉
Meet Matt Kane – OKC Barons Fan!
PT: If you are not from OK, where are you located? And tell us a bit about yourself.
Matt: I’m originally from Oklahoma (born in Tulsa, moved back off and on), but have recently moved up to New England. 38, Married, no kids and 3+ dogs.
PT: How long have you been a hockey fan?
Matt: The new iteration of the CHL came along when I was just graduating high school back in 1992. Combined with the Aeros joining the old IHL at around the same time, that was really my first opportunity to see hockey on a regular basis and about the same time I became a hockey fan. I like all sports (played basketball; unfortunately there isn’t a U.S. Professional sports league related to Mr. Nasmith’s game), but my spouse doesn’t and hockey is a game we both like and can enjoy.
PT: Who is your favorite NHL team and why?
Matt: Whoever is playing the Red Wings.
I was an Atlanta Thrashers fan until they folded up shop. Now I like the Oilers the best based on the OKC connection. I also like the Stars, Bruins, and Blackhawks, as I lived in those towns at some time in my life
PT: Who is your favorite NHL player(s) and why?
Matt: Evander Kane. Tough guy who can score. Has a cool name but doesn’t rough up cabbies.
PT: Do you have any hockey souvenirs? What are they?
Matt: I have a sizable collection of hockey sweaters. The Barons, Blazers, Tulsa Oilers, Providence Bruins, and Dallas Stars make up a significant percentage, but there are a few odd/older ones in there as well (old Beast of New Haven, Regensburg (GER) Eisbaren, Pee Dee Pride, Quebec Nordiques..).
PT: What is your favorite hockey souvenir(s)? (Jersey, puck, etc.)
Matt: My signed Angela Ruggiero #4 USA sweater.
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?
Matt: I was as much a Blazer fan as my Tulsa Oilers roots would allow. It’s a totally different game now – a totally different level of hockey. I was thrilled that they decided to bring the AHL to town.
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?
Matt: I followed them since before the beginning; I remember sitting in the Blazers season ticket holders meeting laying out why I thought we could support an AHL team (and listening to Funk Jr. say it probably wasn’t going to happen). The year off between the Blazers was worth it so we could get the AHL team.
PT: How many games do you attend and/or watch on average? All? Most? Explain.
Matt: All the games that I’m in town. I follow the rest through radio or social media.
PT: What is your opinion of the team and coaching this season, so far?
Matt: This is a well-coached hockey team – reminds me of the old Peter Laviolette coached P-Bruins squad that went all the way in 1999. Coaching makes a huge difference at this level,
PT: Who are your favorite players and why?
Matt: Icegirl Mirielle. (Though I was ticked when Lauren got cut – at least she had the courtesy to wear toe-pick free skates).
I like watching Omark play when he’s in town. I also like Arcobello – fast and creative like Omark without the attitude.
LeNeveu is a nice throwback to goalies who rely on agility rather than a jabba-the-hut physique.
PT: Which player were you most excited to see play this season?
Matt: Paajarvi when he’s been down on the farm.
PT: Who is your favorite new player this season (2011-2012)?
Matt: Icegirl Hannah. And Tulupov (see below).
PT: Who is your fan favorite this season and why?
Matt: I really like the way Tulupov plays both on and off the ice. He’s been great at chatting with many of my friends and their families. It’s nice to have players like that.
PT: What would you change about the team itself, if anything?
Matt: Would have been happier taking all 16 points vs. the Aeros in the regular season instead of just 15.
PT: Who deserves a chance at breaking into the Oilers roster next season?
Matt: Chorney should get some time up in EDM. Hartikainen will hopefully stay up all year. Danis is definitely deserves a shot at being an NHL goal if the Bulin Wall issue can be resolved.
PT: Describe your best team/player/coach experience this season:
Matt: Got a chance to get one of my questions from Coach Nelson answered on the air, and got a shout out for a tweet on the Barons radio show.
PT: Do you have any additional comments regarding the team and players?
Matt: It would be nice if some of the issues in moving players up and down between the parent organization got resolved. (Calling people up who can’t play, trying to send people through waivers with no shot of not getting snapped up, etc.)
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?
Matt: Incomplete. I don’t get to enough of the games to make a full judgment.
PT: What has been your worst off-ice experience this season and why?
Matt: Competing with the team across the street on nights both teams are in town. And watching Derrick try to do stuff.
PT: What would you like to change about the off-ice experience for next season?
Matt: I think it would be nice for the Barons to have the Canadian national anthem played before every game. The girl who sings it does a great job (she’s no Rene Rancourt, but certainly good enough for the Myriad). It’s a way to honor our collaboration as the only U.S. based farm club of a Canadian team, honor the country of origin of many of the players.
Also would like to see old game worns/game issued sweaters for sale in the shop like many of the other AHL teams do.
PT: As a fan, what is your opinion of the social media aspect (Twitter, Facebook, Website)? Pass or Fail and Why?
Matt: It’s passable. If you follow enough of the Barons regulars you can usually get a handle on what’s going on.