IN THE NEWS
OKLAHOMA CITY LEAVES LASTING IMPACT ON BACHMAN
By Carter Baum,
"It's a place I'll always call home a little bit."
For Richard Bachman, his time in Oklahoma City has made a lasting impact.
"For me personally it was a fun year," Bachman said. "I had a great time."
The Salt Lake City, Utah-native was the backbone to a young Barons team and played a pivotal role in the team's fourth-straight Calder Cup Playoff appearance, starting in 29 of the final 32 games of the regular season. Bachman tied for the AHL lead in games played by a goaltender with 52, and also led the the in saves (1,514) and shots faced (1,667).
"There wasn't much time for rest or anything like that, but it was a lot of fun," Bachman said. "Guys never stopped trying or believing that we could win, and you saw it down the stretch there with that run. Guys really started to play for each other, and wanting to make it happen and wanting to make the playoffs."
Signed by the Edmonton Oilers last summer, Bachman got his first look at the NHL level with his new team in late October. He started in three straight games - including a 47-save shootout loss to the Los Angeles Kings in his first game with the Oilers. But during the first period of his third start, Bachman left the game with a lower body injury that sidelined him for over a month.
"It was a whirlwind experience to say the least," Bachman said. "[To be] playing well and then all of the sudden you get hurt and your out for six weeks. It was my first time dealing with something like that."
Bachman re-joined the Barons on Dec. 12 and started all but seven games over the next four-plus months.
On a team full of first- and second-year professionals, Bachman saw the young players' progression first-hand.
"I was just talking with [Coach Todd Nelson] in there and, at least the defensive-core from my perspective, it's a night and day difference from the first couple weeks of the season to where we were in playoffs," Bachman said. "It's fun to watch them develop and it reminds [me] of when I was 20, at least, developing and getting as many opportunities as possible. It kind of brings you back to that and makes you want to get better yourself."
Off the ice, the Oklahoma City community has welcomed Bachman and his wife with open arms.
"Everyone's been super friendly. Sometimes it's almost scary how friendly they are, you don't know what's going on because you're not used to people randomly saying 'Hi, how are you?'," Bachman said. "They've been great to me and my wife, taken us in, even our neighbors have been just so welcoming. It's been a great town to get to know and get to live in."
Bachman also found a lasting connection through the Barons Buddies program with his Buddy, Ty.
"It's unbelievable. Any chance you have to make a difference in someone else's life, it's special," Bachman said. "It's a relationship that was formed through the Barons, but it'll always continue," Bachman said. "I think stuff like that is so important. It's the most important thing. Hockey is great, and that's what we do, but getting to make an impact in other people's lives, and they impact our lives [too], is something that's really special."
The Barons netminder is a restricted free agent going into the offseason, but if the opportunity to return to the Oilers' organization and Oklahoma City is right, Bachman said he would love to return to a city that has become a second home.
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