By Chris Wescott, on 07/11/2013

Plante's Special Bond
Chris Wescott/

Defenseman Alex Plante is one of only seven players to play in all three of the Oklahoma City Baronsseasons since the team came to be in 2010. Spending that much time in one city has allowed him to form some tight bonds. None more special than that with a little eight-year old girl.

“It was genuine,” Plante said. “Lot’s of times, when you get put in those situations, it’s a little forced. Not to say, no one wants to hang out with people but, we just kind of hit it off right away with the family.”

The OKC Barons program, ‘Barons Buddies’, pairs a player with a Special Olympics athlete and their family. The player becomes an “adopted” family member and participates in fun events and meet and greets throughout the season.

This year, Alex was paired with Macey; a little girl, with Downs Syndrome, from the Ukraine who was adopted by Meghan and Wayne Dickinson. Immediately, the family and child hit it off with the 6-3, 225-pound Plante.

“I was so fascinated by the fact that they adopted three (children with Downs Syndrome). I just had to know more, and eventually before we knew it, we became good friends with the entire family. They’re great people, they always put everybody else in front of themselves and it’s a rare treat to see that in the world.”

From the very first Barons Buddies event to the last, Macey and Alex were joined at the hip. Plante hardly ever set her down when they were together, carrying her around like she was his own. He even partnered with Special Olympics for their “Say No to the R-Word” campaign, in a 100% unscripted public service announcement that went viral and sparked local news coverage.

For his efforts in the community, and with the Dickinson family, Plante was awarded the Oklahoma City Barons IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year.

“When it comes to that program, I’ve learned a lot this year,” Plante confessed. “I had an absolute blast with Macey’s family and the entire special Olympics program. That’s probably one of the most rewarding things for me personally, here in Oklahoma City. So, I’m very thankful that I was put in that position this year and had the opportunity to do that.”

The thing that sets this program apart from others that mimic it, is the lasting bond created between the players and kids.

“I’m sure that’s going to be a big part of this club moving forward and that’s something I think is very important and I’m thankful for it.”

The program and Alex’s relationship with Macey has now forever altered the athlete’s professional and personal life.

“I’m thankful I got to be friends with them and they actually took me in at a time of need, so I couldn’t be more thankful.”



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