I have greatly enjoyed interviewing some OKC Barons fans who were also serious OKC Blazers fans. I returned to OK after the Blazers folded and I am always eager to learn more about the previous hockey teams in Oklahoma.
Meet Mark A. Hedrick – OKC Barons Fan!
PT: Where are you located? Please tell us a bit about yourself.
Mark: I’m from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. I have two season tickets, Section 321 A 4 & 5. While I was born in Amarillo, Texas, I lived in Oklahoma City most of my life.
PT: How long have you been a hockey fan?
Mark: I went to my first hockey game in 1965 (I was 7 years old). At the time, the Oklahoma City Blazers were a farm club of the NHL Boston Bruins. I’ve been a fan of the game ever since.
PT: Who is your favorite NHL team and why?
Mark: I’ve been a fan of the Edmonton Oilers since their days in the old World Hockey Association. When Edmonton started to dismantle their Stanley Cup champion teams (after 1990), I did not really have a favorite team, but I followed some of the Oilers’ former players and where they ended up (Jason Arnott, Ryan Smyth, etc.). Since the Oilers are now the parent club of the Barons, I’ve started to follow the Oilers again, but I still try to keep up with some of the ex-Oilers players.
PT: Who is your favorite NHL player(s) and why?
Mark: I became a fan of Wayne Gretzky when he first signed with the World Hockey Association Indianapolis Racers (in the late 70’s) and then became a part of the Oilers. For current players, I follow Jason Arnott (former Oiler that won a Stanley Cup with the NJ Devils and Ryan Smyth).
PT: Do you have any hockey souvenirs? What are they?
Mark: While I haven’t counted them recently, I probably have 30+ NHL, AHL, and CHL game-used jerseys.
PT: What is your favorite hockey souvenir(s)? (Jersey, puck, etc.)
Mark: I really don’t have a favorite game-used jersey. I have a couple I prefer, like Hartikainen’s first NHL point jersey, Chorney’s first NHL goal jersey, and a couple of other.
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?
Mark: Yes, I was a Blazers’ fan season ticket holder when they returned in 1992 (as well as being a Blazers/OKC Stars season ticket holder in the late 60’s, 70’s, & 80’s).
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?
Mark: Yes. The year off from hockey (between when the Blazers left and the Barons came in) was a really long year.
PT: How many games do you attend and/or watch on average? All? Most? Explain.
Mark: I’ve missed 3 Blazers/Barons home games since 1992 (all due to illness). I’m an avid hockey fan. I watch the NHL games on TV via Center Ice and regular programming.
PT: What is your opinion of the team and coaching this season, so far?
Mark: The teams that have been put together the past 2 years have been excellent. These teams (the past 2 years) are far superior than the teams that played in Springfield. I think the coaching has been excellent and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Coach Nelson coaching for the NHL Edmonton Oilers in the future.
PT: Who is your favorite new player this season (2011-2012)?
Mark: I like the game that Hunter Tremblay has brought to the Barons this season. His play kind of reminds me of Glenn Anderson of the old Edmonton Oilers (a grinder/goal scorer).
PT: Who is your fan favorite this season and why?
Mark: I think Hunter Tremblay has been my favorite this season, and he seems to be playing “under the radar” not getting the attention that some of the more flashy players get.
PT: What would you change about the team itself, if anything?
Mark: I don’t think I would change anything at this time.
PT: Who deserves a chance at breaking into the Oilers roster next season?
Mark: I think you’ll probably see Teemu Hartikainen playing with the Oilers next season.
PT: Describe your best team/player/coach experience this season:
Mark: I like the Monday night radio show. It really gives the fans an opportunity to interact with the coaches and players.
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?
Mark: I think the season ticket holder events have been excellent. They have been a great opportunity to interact with players and coaches.
PT: What has been your best off-ice experience this season and why?
Mark: (same as above).
PT: What has been your worst off-ice experience this season and why?
Mark: Honestly, I haven’t had one.
PT: What would you like to change about the off-ice experience for next season?
Mark: Nothing really.
PT: As a fan, what is your opinion of the social media aspect (Twitter, Facebook, Website)? Pass or Fail and Why?
Mark: I like the way the Barons have tried to reach out to the fans through all of these social medias. It gives everyone a chance to follow the team and keep up with current.
PT: Do you have any additional comments on this subject?
Mark: Any day is a great day for hockey!