BY RYAN ABER
The Oklahoma City Barons announced their mascot Tuesday, introducing Derrick the mountain lion.
Sara Silverhorn was the winner of the team’s “Name the Mascot Contest.” For her suggestion, Silverhorn won a trip for two to Dallas to see the Edmonton Oilers take on the Stars in January. The Oilers are the Barons’ NHL parent club.
Season tickets for the Barons’ inaugural season are available by calling 232-4625 or at OKCBarons.com.
BY RYAN ABER
The Edmonton Journal reported today that Todd Nelson would be named the head coach of the Oklahoma City Barons on Thursday.
The team will hold a press conference at 2:30 p.m. at the Cox Center to introduce their coach and assistant coach.
Nelson served as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers for the last two seasons before being fired following the season.
He interviewed for the head coaching job with the Edmonton Oil Kings, the junior hockey team in Edmonton that is owned by the same group that owns the Edmonton Oilers.
The Barons, who will begin their inaugural season in the American Hockey League on Oct. 9, are Edmonton’s affiliate.
Prior to joining the Thrashers, Nelson was an assistant coach with the American Hockey League’s Chicago Wolves. The Thrashers’ AHL affiliate won the Calder Cup in 2008 when Nelson was on the staff.
He last served as a head coach in 2006, when he finished a three-year run with the United Hockey League’s Muskegon Fury. The Fury won UHL championships in 2004 and 2005 under Nelson.
Nelson is a native of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. He was drafted by Pittsburgh in the fourth round of the 1989 draft, eventually playing in three NHL games with Pittsburgh and Washington.
He was on Portland’s 1994 Calder Cup-winning team and was inducted into the team’s hall of fame in 2007.
Gerry Fleming is expected to remain as a Barons assistant. Fleming served as an assistant coach last season with Springfield, the Oilers former AHL affiliate, under Rob Daum.
Daum was told last month that he would not be retained.
BY RYAN ABER
The Oklahoma City Barons released their opponent list Tuesday, with the most cames coming against their division rivals from Texas.
The Barons will face the Texas Stars, Houston Aeros and San Antonio Rampage 10 times each (five home, five away).
Oklahoma City will play 13 opponents during its inaugural season in the American Hockey League.
The Barons, the Edmonton Oilers’ affiliate, will play Chicago and Peoria eight times each and Rockford and Milwaukee, the other Western Conference Western Division foes, six times each.
Teams from outside the division make up 22 of the Barons’ 80 games. Oklahoma City will play Lake Erie six times, Abbotsford, Grand Rapids and Manitoba four times each and Toronto and Hamilton twice each.
The Barons will not face the Calder Cup champion Hershey Bears or the Springfield Falcons, the former AHL affiliate of the Oilers.
Oklahoma City’s season starts Oct. 9 at the Cox Center against a to-be-announced opponent. The complete AHL schedule is expected to be released in August.
Season tickets are available for the inaugural season by calling 232-4625 or at OKCBarons.com.
10 each (5 home/5 away): Texas Stars, Houston Aeros, San Antonio Rampage
8 each (4/4): Chicago Wolves, Peoria Rivermen
6 each (3/3): Rockford IceHogs, Milwaukee Admirals, Lake Erie Monsters
4 each (2/2): Abbotsford Heat, Grand Rapids Griffins, Manitoba Moose
2 each (1/1): Toronto Marlies, Hamilton Bulldogs
By Ryan Aber
The Oklahoma City Barons still don’t have a coach. The Edmonton Oilers still don’t have an assistant general manager to run the team.
But today, the Barons got a critical piece as they build toward their inaugural season: Players.
It’s inevitable that some of the names that have been talked about in the last couple months as future prospects for the Oilers will wind up playing here next year. But with the signings of forward Colin McDonal and defenseman Jake Taylor, the Barons have players that we know are going to play in Oklahoma City.
Here’s a quick look at each:
6-foot-3, 205 pounds
McDonald played the majority of last season with the Springfield Falcons, the Oilers’ AHL affiliate prior to their partnership with Oklahoma City. He had 23 points (12 goals, 11 assists) in 76 games. He was a second-round draft choice in 2003. McDonald briefly was called up to Edmonton last year, scoring one goal in two games.
A Providence College product, McDonald has 68 points (34-34) in 226 games as a pro.
McDonald is considered a veteran by AHL standards. Each team may sign up to five veterans, plus one exempt player.
6-foot-4, 225 pounds
Taylor played 72 games last season for Springfield, contributing seven assists and serving 182 penalty minutes. He was a sixth-round draft pick of the New York Rangers in 2002.
In six seasons of AHL play, Taylor has 40 points (5-35) in 301 games. He played collegiately at the University of Minnesota.
BY RYAN ABER
The American Hockey League’s Board of Governors announced Friday that David Andrews had agreed to a contract extension through the 2014-15 season.
Andrews became the president of the AHL in 1994. Only Jack Butterfield, who served as AHL President for 28 seasons, has served in the position longer.
“All of us in the American Hockey League – our owners, our management, our fans, our partners and more – are extremely fortunate to have had the benefit of Dave Andrews’ leadership over the last 16 years as President and CEO,” Rich Pych, Governor of the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage, said in a statement. “During his tenure, the AHL has become a critical step on the career path for virtually every young player en route to the NHL. We are all thrilled that Dave will continue to lead us through the exciting years that lie ahead.”
The AHL will feature an all-time high of 30 teams in the upcoming season, including the Oklahoma City Barons. The Barons are the AHL affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers.
In 2001, Andrews headed efforts that brought nine new cities into the NHL, including six from the former International Hockey League. The AHL has evolved from a league primarily based on the Eastern Seaboard to a more wide-ranging league that includes a pair of cities that already have NHL franchises (Toronto and Chicago), as well as Cleveland, Houston, San Antonio, Winnipeg, Milwaukee and Charlotte in addition to Oklahoma City.
Andrews is a native of Nova Scotia. Before taking over as league president, he served as the general manager for the Oilers AHL affiliate, helping the Cape Breton Oilers to the 1993 Calder Cup. He’s also served as head coach of the WHL’s Victoria Cougars and was inducted into the British Columbia Hockey Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame in 2006.