Martin Gernat (photo by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved) and his Oklahoma City Barons teammates are very close to the promised land of the NHL. Massive annual salaries, no heavy lifting off the ice, airplanes, hotels, room service, fancy eating tables, cement ponds. It is so very close.
Currently, the 2014-15 Barons have four men about to earn over $100,000 this season. For many reading this blog, that’s not a lot for a year’s work (seriously, Alberta is drunk with wealthy people who work for a living. Every swinging Dick makes 100 large in this damn place) but for a young hockey player it’s good pay on the way to a better one. I’d give my left nut to be any of these kids (in one way. In another, wouldn’t trade it for the world. I’m a lucky guy) with a chance to make the show.
OKLAHOMA CITY BARONS SALARIES VIA CAPGEEK
|LEFT WING||CENTER||RIGHT WING|
|RYAN HAMILTON (300k)||WILL ACTON (100k)||STEVE PINIZZOTTO (225k)|
|CURTIS HAMILTON (75k)||BOGDAN YAKIMOV (70k)||ANDREW MILLER (90k)|
|MITCHELL MOROZ (70k)||JUJHAR KHAIRA (70k)||TYLER PITLICK (85k)|
|KALE KESSY (65k)||TRAVIS EWANYK (60k)||IIRO PAKARINEN (70k)|
|LEFT DEFENSE||RIGHT DEFENSE|
|BRAD HUNT (80k)||OSCAR KLEFBOM (70k)|
|MARTIN GERNAT (70k)||DAVID MUSIL (70k)|
|BRANDON DAVIDSON (62.5k)||DILLON SIMPSON (70k)|
|JORDAN OESTERLE (70k)|
|RICHARD BACHMAN (225k)|
|LAURENT BROSSOIT (70k)|
|TYLER BUNZ (62.5k)|
|FRANS TUOHIMAA (60k)|
Every once in awhile, like maybe once a year, I’ll get an email asking me some form of the following question: “I have a nephew/friend/relative who plays pro hockey and he’s 23. His family thinks he should play one more winter and then quit.” Not necessarily asking my advice (I assume these young men have more resources than bloggers on the internet) but as a way to connect (pretty much all of my conversations that come from people accessing via the blog are positive. It’s incredible).
Here’s how I feel. Let’s take that Tyler Bunz fellow as an example. Now, he’s had some concussion issues and a few close calls and nicks and scratches and sirens along the way, and maybe you (as a fan) think “meh, he’s done” and believe he would be better served by walking away. I don’t agree, not for a goalie and not for a defenseman nor a forward. Goalies and blue are especially prone to meandering before arriving at a good spot where they thrive.
My advice (which has not been requested by any of the men on the Barons roster) is you ride that nag until it drops, son. You live that life you love and you take it all in, you go to every rodeo and barn dance and you play like hell for every shift you’re out there.
Because, when it’s over, well, there’s going to be many years to get serious and buckle down. I don’t want to know the young man who gives up his dream in his 20′s. At the very least hang around long enough for an NHL cup of coffee, a two year trip to Switzerland and a nice little start to your next stop along the way.
And maybe you hit the lottery and have a career. Boring is waiting for you, believe me.