by - Serge Melki - The Bricktown Canal in Oklahoma City.
The Copper & Blue never rebuilds, we just reload. Our man in Oklahoma has taken a leave of absence from The Copper & Blue. Neal won't be able to devote as much time to the Barons as he did over the past year, time that allowed him to bring our readership the very best Oklahoma City Barons' coverage. His work during the Barons inaugural season allowed us to experience Linus Omark's domination, Colin McDonald's amazing season and Bryan Helmer's milestone game as if the Barons were a local Alberta minor league team. Neal's insight and personal take gave Oilers' fans 1500 miles away an intimate look into the Barons, especially when there were only 200 other fans in the building. We will miss Neal's contributions and wish him well until he can return. We also hope that his time away from The Copper & Blue will remain indefinite and never change to permanent.
Through the accidental magic of serendipity, our community won't miss a beat when it comes to Barons' coverage. After sending out a few feelers to find a local writer to take up the load left behind by Neal's sabbatical, we struck out. We decided to cover the Barons by splitting the work amongst the staff with Lisa handling the day-to-day coverage. Ten minutes after coming to this decision, we received an e-mail inquiring as to whether we were still looking for someone to write about the Barons.
As luck would have it, the author of that e-mail was Eric Rodgers. Eric previously covered the Barons for Oilers Jambalaya, bringing news and analysis from another local Oklahoma City perspective. Eric is an enormous Barons fan with a significant online presence in Oklahoma City and an avid following. Eric attends most every Barons' home game and brings an excellent history of fan and reader interaction. Eric is a thorough and thoughtful writer. He knows the Barons as well as anyone and has developed relationships in the city that afford him a unique viewpoint on the Barons and Oklahoma City hockey in general. We expect his news and analysis to be top-notch.
So we wish Neal well, and we're excited to see what Eric has in store for The Copper & Blue. Join us in giving our best wishes to both.
Follow Eric on Twitter @AHLBarons