By Cassie Gage, OKC Barons on 10/02/2013

Ryan Hamilton came very close to making the Edmonton Oilers’ opening night roster. The left-winger brings a bevy of experience to the Oklahoma City Barons and will be relied upon to provide leadership to an up and coming roster.

“I’m down here to work my butt off and help the team out any way I can,” Hamilton said., “I’m a veteran guy, so I’m going to try to help out the younger guys get adjusted. We’re down here to develop players and win every game. That’s our mindset. It’s a real honor to be a part of the Barons organization and a great city. I’m looking forward to contributing.”

Hamilton was assigned to Oklahoma City on this past Monday. He along with defenseman Philip Larsen were the final two players assigned to the Barons prior to the start of the NHL season. Hamilton was so close to making the opening-day Oilers roster, and hopes to be a fixture in the Edmonton lineup sooner rather than later.

“We’re all competitive,” Hamilton said of his reaction to being placed on waivers. “Our dream is to play in the NHL. It’s always a bit of a shock, but that’s the business. It doesn’t change my mindset. You accept it and you try to get better. Be a good teammate and help out any way you can and hopefully you get an opportunity again. In the meantime, I’m going to try to help this team win a championship.”

Hamilton will be one of several veterans on the Oklahoma City roster this year. He’s spent the majority of the last four seasons playing with the Toronto Marlies and spent 3.5 years with the Houston Aeros. The American League vet has 12 NHL games on his resume, including a career-high 10 games last year with the Maple Leafs.

“Having experience is always something you can look back to,” he said. “By having those experiences you can help with a lot of younger guys getting adjusted and used to professional hockey. There’s even a lot of guys in the States for the first time. We have a lot of good veteran guys on this team with good leadership skills. That’s something we should be able to use and help utilize with our young players.”

One added bonus to playing in Oklahoma City is that Hamilton’s wife is from west Texas and the couple resides in Dallas during the offseason. He enjoys the culture and looks forward to having a large fanbase in OKC to cheer him on.

“Obviously I want to be an Edmonton Oiler, but being part of this organization and being part of a great city like Oklahoma City is awesome,” he said. “My wife’s family is also close. She was able to drive up with our dog to meet me here when I got in. It’s just real special. I love the culture. I’ve been enjoying it since I spend the majority of my offseason (in Dallas). It’s a great opportunity.”

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