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Tornado Touches Hockey

The people of Oklahoma are still looking for survivors in the wake of Monday’s mile-wide F4 tornado that ravaged parts of the state, leaving 24 people dead and over 200 injured.

Among the safe include members of the Edmonton Oilers‘ AHL club, the Oklahoma City Barons. The Barons practice facility is in Moore, where the damage destroyed two elementary schools and left a 20 mile-wide area of destruction. Most of the players, according to general manager Bill Scott, don’t live near the area that was hit the hardest and the Barons’ offices are downtown.

One player, however, who was nearest to those affected was Alex Plante, a defenseman who’s been living with a family in Moore since suffering a broken jaw last month.

From Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun:

“I’d come downtown for a dentist appointment and the family I was staying with in Moore, who adopted three Downs Syndrome kids, managed to get the kids out of their school before the lockdowns.“I told them to drive to our arena. That’s where we’re told to go. The underground parking garage at the Cox Convention Centre has a storm shelter….”Our team has been fortunate that until now we’ve never had to experience a tornado. When you get here, you hear a lot about the one on May 3, 1999 in Moore. That was the big one. But they say this is three times that size.“I haven’t seen anything yet,” Plante said of the devastation. “I don’t want to. Your heart just goes out to everybody.”

When Plante spoke with Jones, he and the family hadn’t been able to get back to their house to see if there was any damage.

The Barons are currently waiting to see who they will play in the Western Conference Final, where they will host Games 3 and 4 tentatively scheduled for May 29 and 31.

Sharkey

Plante

Another hockey player, Kyle Sharkey was in Moore at the time of the Tornado. Sharkey played for the Topeka Roadrunners and will play for the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point next season.

NY Hockey Online would like to hear from anyone else who knows about hockey connections in Moore.

HOW TO HELP Those who would like to help people affected by disasters like tornadoes, floods and other crises can make a donation to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. People can donate by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. These donations help provide food, shelter and emotional support to those affected by disasters.

(Photos from websites of Barons and Roadrunners; stories from recent news articles posted on line)

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About the Author: Janet has been covering women's hockey for over 15 years. She is the magazine photographer and designer, as well as women's hockey columnist. Janet worked in Public Relations for 38 years and has photographed sports for over 30 years. She is also a columnist, photographer and designer for WNY Hockey Report.

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