POSTED ON OCTOBER 29, 2008:
A Night of Firsts
Oilers opening home game welcomed more than 16,000 to the BOK Center
Were you part of history? The Tulsa Oilers officially ushered in the BOK Center. Sure we've seen a few concerts, a couple of tumblers and the Bennett City Thunder, but they do not count.
The ice chilled, the boards were stern and the action was fast-paced. The end result was a hard fought loss to the Oklahoma City Blazers, but no one will remember this game for the final score.
Here is what will go down in the annals.
Mayor Kathy Taylor dropped the ceremonial puck. She was presented a Tulsa Oilers jersey by team owner Jeff Lund. The crowd ooo'd and boo'd.
Seriously, I am pretty sure Sarah Palin received a warmer reception from the Philadelphia Flyers crowd a few weeks back. You wonder why our government doesn't function at a high level. We can't even fake enthusiasm for an elected official at a hockey game.
The official attendance number was 16,982. Just shy of the CHL record. The start time was 7:35, but it was delayed as Tulsans suffered from parkingitis.
Say what you will about the BOK Center. It's a magnificent arena. It's as aesthetically pleasing as any arena I've laid my eyes on. The night sky backdrop pops the radiant building. The daytime appeal is less impressive.
The first fight in the BOK Center? Tulsa's Chris Kovalcik dropped the gloves with OKC's Justin Sawyer. Kovalcik also tussled in the last fight of the evening. The bookend poundings if you will.
The first goal came in the second period. The Blazers notched the mark when Bill Vandermeer scored on the powerplay.
The Oilers tied it up with a flurry of action in front of the net. Chris Kovalcik not only goes in the record book with the first fight but also the first Oilers goal in the center. Assisting were Brendon Hodge and Kevin Hansen.
The third period was all Blazers. Too bad. The Oilers organization has outdone itself attempting to fill the arena. The fans showed a level of support that should be commended. Hopefully this will catapult both sides into a nice relationship.
Here are a few more tidbits from the initial foray into the BOK.
I was surprised at the number of orange colored shirts walking around the arena. OSU came up short against Texas earlier in the day. The loss did not deter Poke fans in the least.
To the youth of Tulsa I offer my humble opinion. Ladies in the high school age range, this is specific to you. Please refrain from painting makeup on your face. A blemish is expected. Enough spackle to fill the cracks on I-44 is not.
Blazers fans are like Dallas Cowboys fans. Every time you turn around another one creeps around the corner. There have always been a few OKC fans, but this was an impressive display in enemy territory.
Not sure if the start time is to blame or the parkingitis, but there was a mass exodus after the second period. You may be wondering how I know this. Yes, I joined the throng heading for the exit, but I had a good reason. I'm guessing the other thousands did not.
I'm always intrigued when I hear others mentioning the UFC. Saturday night was UFC 90. A young boy, maybe eight years old, told his mom he really liked that Forrest Griffin guy. The mom wanted to hurry home to catch Cote fight that Bob Silva guy. Close enough.
Saturday also witnessed OU annihilate Kansas State. Anyone believe in this defense?
OSU, as previously mentioned, fell just short of upsetting Texas. Let the talk of moral victories commence. Me, not buying it. Win one of these games and earn real respect.
Tulsa shared the spotlight this past Sunday night with a World Series game.
Skelly Field looked impeccable in HD. Yes, I failed to show in person, but it wasn't my fault. Honestly.
The first half looked high schoolish in play. Neither team embraced the national interest. For all of TU's accolades and offensive rankings, 14 points and sloppy play will not earn stray votes in either poll. I blame the choice in blue jerseys. Who doesn't love the red ones? On the bright side, the defense seemed frisky.
A quick side note. The "Please attend the University of Tulsa" commercial is feeble. The Blair Witch Project had better editing. There is nothing, I repeat nothing, appealing in the 30-second infomercial. Explain to me how the video excites viewers into thinking, "That's a place I want to attend."
On television, the stadium appeared bare. On with the second half.
The TU express eventually took off. Here's hoping the national audience that tuned in to watch the juggernaut stuck around long enough to catch a glimpse.
Eric Collins and Shaun King commentated for the ESPN audience. They seemed knowledgeable in all aspects of TU football. The only thing missing was Erin Andrews.
This week Nebraska visits Norman. Another lackey from the North Division, Iowa St., comes to Stillwater. Win-Win upcoming.
TU takes the road less traveled. A mid-season showdown with the team formerly coached by a Nutt. The undefeated Hurricane plays the Razorbacks at 1pm in Fayetteville.
Imagine the embarrassment Hog fans will suffer. A losing season, a loss to Nutt followed by a beatdown at the hands of little old Tulsa.
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