Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Oklahoma City Closes Time in AHL with Game 7 Loss at Utica

(Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
The Oklahoma City Barons were looking to play giant killer this entire postseason. After dropping from first place to sixth late in the season, it was going to be an uphill battle for the Edmonton Oilers farm team to make it to the Calder Cup. An upset win over division-rival San Antonio had them through the first round. The second would pit them against the top team in the West, the Utica Comets. The Barons and Comets circled each other through the mid-season as they battled for the top spot.

The Barons took the Comets to the brink in Utica tonight, but it was the home team emerging victorious. With the win, the Barons ended their stay in Oklahoma City. The club will relocate to Bakersfield, California next season.

Sadly, professional hockey in Oklahoma City has gone dormant once again.

This isn't a eulogy for the Barons. I don't think I'm prepared to write that really. However, the team deserved better than what they got. They didn't miss the playoffs once in their tenure in Bricktown and got to the Western Conference Finals twice. The real tragedy, of course, is that there are a lot of very smart hockey fans in OKC. They won't be watching the future of the Oilers at Cox Convention Center next season because a bridge was not built in the community to the casual fan base.

A crowded market that includes the NBA's Thunder, minor league baseball and a soccer team owned by the same organization as the Barons made the club a weak draw. It was and is unfortunate. I am sad for my fellow hockey fans in OKC and wish them well as they hope for the return of pro hockey to their hometown.

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