August 28, 2018

by John Peterson

Welcome to the final Mailbag of August. That means training camp is just over one month away, with the season opener close behind. This is where the fun begins! Saddle up, the summer is just about over and it’s time for some hockey. If you don’t see your question in the Mailbag, stay tuned for our “Oil Filter ‘Fancast'” coming out next Tuesday with many more of your great questions!

“Will there be a schedule of training camp and when practices might be open to the public?”

JP:  Yes, we will have a training camp schedule in mid-September when our dates and times are confirmed. As in past years, all training camp practices and scrimmages at the Oilers Ice Center (off of S. Mingo Rd.) will be open to the public. At some point during camp, usually in the week leading up to the season opener, we’ll move over to the BOK Center, and those practices will not be open to the public. We will also announce our full training camp roster either the weekend before camp opens or on the first day of camp.

“Do you all tell the guys how we do things in Tulsa like [Adopt-an-Oiler] and interaction with the fans before or after they sign? What’s their normal reaction?”

JP:  Believe it or not, the way things are in Tulsa in regards to the opportunities to interact with the fans is not unlike many other ECHL cities. About half the league has a program similar to Adopt-an-Oiler, and the players are usually familiar with how it works. A common theme among the returning players is how great the fan support is here, and through my limited conversations with some of the new players, they’re excited to see first-hand what they’ve heard about the Tulsa community.

When the Shock were here, season ticket holders got to enter the building 30 minutes before everyone else. Any chance of that happening for Oilers STH?”

JP:  This is something that we have discussed in the past and recently. Some teams have a season ticket holder entrance and others have a lounge/hang out spot somewhere in the arena before the game starts. Right now, we have quite a few STH pregame parties on the concourse, which have been very popular. The 30-minute early entrance is still a possibility, if not this year than perhaps in the future.

“How does Coach Murray and GM Taylor Hall scout all of the college players between just the two of them?”

JP:  At the ECHL level (in most cases), the Head Coach/Director of Hockey Operations handles all things recruiting and roster-related, while the GM oversees everything business-related. NHL teams typically have at least 20 people, from entire coaching staffs to the General Manager and his assistants to 10 or more scouts, involved in the scouting/drafting process when it comes to roster decisions. That’s a huge difference from how it works in the ECHL. Coach Murray handles all of that here in Tulsa. Most teams in our league have a maximum of three people involved in those decisions, but very few teams have a scout or scouting staff in place. It’s just not feasible. The way many coaches find out about college and junior players is through word of mouth from their connections in those leagues.

“Give us a hint…which specialty jersey is gonna be a must have? Can we order specialty jerseys or are they only available that night?”

JP:  We’re going to have some must-have specialty jerseys again this year. I’ve seen the mock-up designs for a few of the jerseys and there’s going to be a great mix of favorite traditions and new ideas. For instance, the jerseys we’ll be wearing for the 4th Annual Alzheimer’s Awareness Night are really cool this year. I also think fans will love the affiliation jersey, especially with the amount of Blues prospects we could end up having on the roster this season. To avoid spoiling any of our new ideas this year, I can promise that there’s at least two or three that I’d put up there with my all-time Oilers favorites. And as of right now, the specialty jerseys will only be available at the post game jersey auctions.

“Are there going to be any player signings at the Open House this year?”

JP:  For those who were at last year’s Open House, we announced a popular returning player would be coming back to Tulsa. This year, our Open House will be Saturday, Sept. 8 from 11:30am-1:30pm at the BOK Center, featuring free food and drinks, prizes, building tours and much more. (RSVP HERE: https://tulsaoilers.com/open-house-09-08-18-rsvp/) I can promise we have a few more players to announce that fans will recognize, but you’ll just have to come to the Open House to see if any player(s) show up.

That’ll wrap things up for Mailbag #4! Thanks for all the awesome questions. Make sure to submit your questions or comments about the mailbag early by sending me an email at john@tulsaoilers.com or tweet me at @john_m_peterson.