By GLENN HIBDON
GTR Sports Writer
They say “home is where the heart is.” If that’s the case, then both Adam Pleskach and Dennis Brown belong squarely in Tulsa.
Both are familiar faces of Tulsa Oilers fans. Both have established permanent residences in T-Town and both want to bring their adopted city an championship.
Right winger Pleskach, now in his fifth season with the Oilers, has been appointed team captain for the first time. Brown, a defenseman in his third year with the franchise, has fallen in love with Green Country and the people who support him, on and off the ice.
“I was very surprised coming from California. I expected a small town and a country atmosphere, but I felt right at home,’’ says Brown, who hails from Cypress, California. “I’ve lived in Nebraska and Kansas, but Tulsa is a bigger town, and I like the weather and friendly people.’’
Pleskach’s journey to Oklahoma began in Beausejour, Manitoba, and led to his marriage and buying a home in Broken Arrow.
“Broken Arrow is my home now and I like being here,’’ says Pleskach, “I want to stay. The fans have always been great to me, and I have good friends here. They’re like my family.’’
The 29-year-old 6-foot-2, 195 pound journeyman has settled down after playing 266 games with 116 goals and 210 points for the Oilers through mid-November. Former Oiler Ryan Cramer, who lives not far from Pleskach, introduced him to his wife, Jocelyn.
“She went to and is now a third grade teacher at Jenks,’’ Pleskach says. “Tulsa is special to her because her parents met at . We have a good commitment from friends here, even with people outside of hockey. We’re plugged in well with the community.’’
A sign of domestic bliss for both Pleskach and Brown comes in the form of their household pets. Pleskach has a cat named Danny while Brown’s dog is called Jackson.
“We adopted Jackson, a black lab, retriever, Great Dane mix,’’ says Brown, who lives in a downtown Tulsa apartment with his fiancé, Kristi. “We got him out of an animal shelter and it’s unbelievable how much he loves us and how well he listens.’’
While the 28-year-old Brown nurtures Jackson, he says the Oilers extended family sees to his needs and those of the other players. It’s an arrangement that brings out the best on both sides of the glass.
“We have a growing relationship with a lot of fans and good families who go out of their way to take care of us,’’ Brown says. “We feel very comfortable here because they do great things for us and don’t ask for much in return.’’
As a 5-11, 185 pound D-man, Brown has played 130 games for the Oilers through mid-November with 10 goals and 49 points. He earned his degree in finance from Western Michigan University and met his future wife there. Kristi works in accounting at the Mayo Hotel in Tulsa with Brown spending his summers driving shuttle buses for the Mayo and the Aloft hotels.
Brown wants to have a family and coach hockey after his playing days are over. He says Kristi loves Tulsa and “I could see myself living here.’’
Meanwhile, Pleskach earned a degree in economics from American International University and works for York Plumbing in the offseason. However, his future may not include hockey.
“I’m looking at a lot of different things. The oil industry is picking back up and the health care industry is interesting in Tulsa,’’ says Pleskach, who is still working toward his green card. “I don’t see myself getting into coaching.
“My ultimate goal is to win here and it would be pretty special because Tulsa is home to me now. It would be a really cool thing for the city.’’
Neither Pleskach nor Brown deny they want to move up to the before their careers end, and they agree winning the championship would enhance the opportunity. Brown says the Oilers work smart together with good camaraderie and chemistry.
“My personal goal is to be a good teammate and make people around me better, says Brown. “I made the tournament two years in a row in college, and I had a strong first season in Tulsa. That’s the highlight of my pro career and gave me the opportunity I have today.’’
While waiting patiently for his break to come, Brown spends his down time taking Jackson to the dog park and playing his guitar. Pleskach counters by playing golf every chance he gets. One thing they do have in common is trying to make the Oilers the ’s best team.
“We have guys with good hockey sense. They think the game well and execute,’’ Brown says. “I definitely feel that I’m in a leadership role. I’m always looking to help the young guys who are new in town.’’
In one way, Pleskach already considers himself a winner in Tulsa.
“I got married here and bought my first house,’’ he says. “But we (the Oilers) missed the playoffs two years in a row and that’s disappointing. This year we have a fresh start with a new coach (Rob Murray), and we have a lot on the horizon for us.
“We’re playing a better defensive game than we have before. We’re allowing fewer goals and I’m happy with our start (to the season). We’re pushing to be better every day. My role over the last few years has been scoring goals, but I’ve rounded out my game a lot.’’
He may be slick on an ice rink, but one of the biggest challenges now facing Pleskach is becoming a tried and true Oklahoman.
“Manitoba will always be home, but I want to stay in Tulsa,’’ he says. “I have good friends here. They’re my family now.’’