Oilers’ Feature Writer
Everyone in the Central Hockey League knows Tulsa Oilers equipment manager Steve Enlow. He’s the man behind the scenes pulling many strings to help make the franchise a success. Although players appreciate the work he does on their behalf, Enlow toils in relative obscurity to many fans. They are innocently unaware of his true value.
“I just love hockey,’’ says Enlow, chosen the CHL’s first Equipment Manager of the Year in 2006. “I’ve been around it all my life. I like being around the guys and I like the team concept.’’
Enlow has virtually done it all in a career spanning almost four decades. In addition to equipment manager, the 53-year-old has served as trainer, coach and confidant to the players. He schedules the Oilers’ travel plans and ensures that the bus is packed and ready to go.
“I do all the (skate) edging, ordering and repairs (of equipment),’’ says Enlow, who played in the men’s league and on travel squads until a shoulder injury sidelined him. “I do the practice schedules and pretty much anything I can do to help the coach.’’
Through the years Enlow has formed and maintained closed relationships with both players and coaches alike. He remains in contact with ex-Oiler greats like Luc Beausoleil, Mike Berger, Daniel Villeneuve and Jim Wiley along with coaches Garry Unger and Butch Kaebel. Enlow also has friends in high places.
“Ray Miron was the general manager when I started with the Oilers,’’ said Enlow, a team member for 26 years and currently a 10-year veteran as equipment manager of the Tulsa Talons. “I went with him to the Colorado Rockies () for one year and he allowed me to work again (with the Oilers) when he started the Central League again. He was always good to me.
“Jeff Lund (current team owner) and I have been together for 17 years and he’s totally awesome. I couldn’t ask for a better boss. He’s always been a straight arrow with me.’’
In honor of his service to the franchise, the Oilers’ locker room has been named in Enlow’s honor. He’s also been twice chosen to participate in the All-Star Game and was given the Commitment Cup this year for “Outstanding service and dedication to the Central Hockey League.’’
Enlow’s service has taken many forms since he became a season ticket holder in 1967. When coaches are ejected from games, he’s taken charge and has compiled a 7-4-1 record behind the bench. Enlow himself has been thrown out twice and suspended three games. One transgression featured a stick-tossing incident with referee Tudor Floru.
“I hate to lose,’’ said Enlow, who also has distaste for sharpening skates over and over again. “But I like getting to know the players and traveling. When I get tired of the game, I’ll get out.’’
However, that may not be too soon. Enlow has many hats to wear and his wardrobe seems to be increasing each year.