Oklahoma City Blazers Season Preview

by James Talluto

The Oklahoma City Jr. Blazers have made a number of moves during the offseason. With a new coach comes a new direction, and Oklahoma City is well on its path. As Gary Gill takes over the reins, with his vision for the team reflected in the players that he has brought aboard this summer. 

Falling in the division semi-finals during last season’s Thorne Cup Playoffs, OKC will be looking to re-establish itself within the always-tough Midwest Division.

An interesting dynamic can be seen with a lot of the newcomers, as most have either played with or against each other in previous seasons. Josh Chamberlain, for example, played with forward Griffin Wiencek in Wenatchee. Cody Wardner played against defenseman Connor Dunn last season when both played in the MJHL to start the year.

That dynamic should lead to a strong bond for the team this season, with coach Gill opting for a bigger lineup than OKC has seen in previous seasons. Retaining Ivan Bondarenko, Vitali Mikhailov, and Victor Ekk for the scoring, and adding the size all around, OKC has high expectations as they head into the season.


Players moving on:

Phil Babb (NCAA Div. 3)
Kirill Romanov (Russian MHL)
Cory King (NCAA Div. 3)
Jared Guffey (ACHA Div. 1)
Tomas Rubes (Czech Div. 3)

Returning players:

Connor Dunn (D) 1997
Griffin Wiencek (F) 1997
Drake Johnson (D) 1997
Kaleb Foreman (D) 1997
Ivan Bondarenko (D) 1997
Victor Ekk (F) 1997
Vitali Mikhailov (F) 1997

New additions:

Cody Wardner (D) 1997
Josh Chamberlain (F) 1997
Jacob Ugenti (D) 1997
Zachary Colgrove (F) 1997

Story by Eric Rodgers, WSHL Midwest Division correspondent. Be sure to follow Eric on Twitter (@ericrsports)

Photo courtesy of Marc Mauno