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FEDUN CHASING HIS DREAM OF PLAYING IN THE NHL
By Carter Baum, OKC Barons on 08/09/2013
Every hockey player’s dream is to one day play in the NHL. Taylor Fedun was close to realizing that dream almost two years ago before a fateful late September night in St. Paul, Minn.
Early in the second period of an Oilers preseason game, Fedun was racing towards his own goal line looking to force an icing. As Fedun and Minnesota’s Eric Nystrom neared the end boards, Nystrom reached around Fedun for the puck, but instead caught his skate, sending the undrafted rookie barreling feet-first into the boards.
Fedun was left with a shattered femur in his right leg and a long road of recovery ahead of him.
After a full year of rehabilitation, Fedun returned to the ice last October in Oklahoma City looking to get his career back on track.
“It was an interesting year,” Fedun said. “To kind of start the season and be playing, like we’ve said before, the AHL on steroids because of the lockout, you had to get your feet moving right off the get-go, and that was a pretty neat experience. That high of a level was good for me [coming off injury]”
When the NHL lockout ended in January, Fedun was a key member of the vastly different Barons roster that struggled to find its footing, earning one point in the first five post-lockout games.
“There were definitely a lot of times where I think our character was tested this year,” Fedun said. “It was a wild ride to say the least.”
It looked like the Barons were in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time in their history in February, but down the stretch, OKC went on a run earning 24 of a possible 30 points in the final 15 games of the season to finish 5th in the Western Conference.
“I think every time we were pushed hard or pushed to the brink there, our true colors came out, Fedun said. “Down the stretch, when we really started playing meaningful games in the last couple months there, it was a lot of fun and we really came together.”
Fedun finished his first professional season with 27 points (8-19-27) in 70 regular season games and six points (3-3-6) in 17 playoff games.
The Oilers re-signed Fedun to a one-year contract in July and come September, he’ll have another chance to realize his dream, but another season in Oklahoma City wouldn’t be bad either.
“It’d be nice to be up in Edmonton, but this has got to be one of the best cities if you’re going to be down in the [AHL], it’s awesome down here,” Fedun said. “I’ve absolutely loved my time here. It’s a beautiful city. The fans have been awesome.”
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