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OKC Barons: Jonathan Cheechoo an Internet sensation

While the veteran's YouTube tribute videos rack up hits online, the Barons forward is scoring points and pacing the AHL squad's top line as it heads toward the playoffs.
By Mike Baldwin Published: April 23, 2013
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The Jonathan Cheechoo song videos are so corny they're hilarious.

Aaron Bell, a hockey fan living in Flagstaff, Ariz., created the first YouTube video featuring the Barons forward six years ago, the year after Cheechoo led the NHL in goals while playing with the San Jose Sharks.

The current incarnation of the video shows a caricature of the cartoon Thomas the Tank Engine in the background. Bell repeatedly moves his arms and dances, chanting: “Train, train, Chee-choo train, the Barons are going to win this game, Chee-choo, oh yeah, Chee-choo.”

In last year's edition, Bell pretended to be the mayor of Peoria when Cheechoo played for the AHL's Rivermen.

In the OKC video, Bell poses as members of a rock band.

“They're so off the wall,” said Barons coach Todd Nelson. “That's what makes them funny. The guy (Bell) took a lot of pride in making those skits.”

Assisted by his brother Jeff, who shoots and edits the videos, the 34-year-old Bell is a Phoenix Coyotes partial season-ticket holder who makes four-hour round trips to watch NHL games.

Bell enjoyed watching Cheechoo play with San Jose. The name was a natural for a comedy skit in which Bell sarcastically proclaims Cheechoo is the greatest hockey player ever.

“We saw the song on Cartoon Planet and just had fun with it,” Bell said. “It's great to see he's playing well in Oklahoma City.”

After the NHL lockout ended, Barons general manager Bill Scott targeted Cheechoo, a free agent who's scored 290 goals the past dozen years in the AHL and NHL, for the roster.

Mark Arcobello, talented rookie Toni Rajala and Cheechoo give the Barons a solid No. 1 line in the playoffs, which open Friday night when the Barons host Charlotte at the Cox Convention Center in Game 1 of a first-round, best-of-five series.

“He's a veteran, a proven scorer,” team captain Josh Green said of Cheechoo. “He's a guy we can count on to give us offense and is great on the power play. He's also helped the young guys, who see how he gets to the net.”

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Oklahoma City vs. Charlotte

What: AHL first-round best-of-five playoff series

When

Game 1: Friday — Checkers at Barons, 7 p.m.

Game 2: Saturday — Checkers at Barons, 7 p.m.

Game 3: May 1 — Barons at Checkers, 6 p.m.

x-Game 4: May 3 — Barons at Checkers, 6 p.m.

x-Game 5: May 4 — Barons at Checkers, 6 p.m.

x-if necessary

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