Oklahoma City Barons: Defenseman Taylor Fedun uses rehab time to finish degree at Princeton

Fedun, a mechanical engineering major, and classmates successfully constructed a hovercraft as senior project.
by Michael Baldwin Published: February 21, 2013
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The long rehabilitation process started with Fedun returning home to live with his parents. The Oilers provided a special bed placed in the living room.

By Christmas, Fedun ditched a wheelchair for crutches. Six months after the injury, he skated with his father at a public rink.

Veteran NHL forward Darcy Hordichuk, recently assigned to Oklahoma City, was on the ice when Fedun suffered the shattered leg.

“Not a lot of guys would come back from that type of injury,” Hordichuk said. “It's a great story. Not only has he come back, he's battling through things where most people might pack it in. He's worked really hard. Hopefully, some day we'll see him up in the NHL.”

In 45 games with the Barons, Fedun has compiled 15 points. His size (6-foot, 195 pounds) isn't ideal, but he's a puck-mover and might develop into a shutdown blue-liner. Fedun remains a viable prospect even though his right leg will never be the same.

“I can't say it's completely back to normal,” Fedun said. “Normal is a little different for me than it was before. I don't think it's the rod. It's the muscles around it from the initial trauma. You need a little extra TLC, stretch it out every day. I don't think it will hold me back at all or limit me.”

At age 24, Fedun isn't your typical NHL prospect. Most elite players play major junior hockey. Some are drafted when they're 17 or 18.

As a teenager, Fedun wasn't selected in the bantam draft. Years later, he wasn't selected in the NHL Draft.

“It allowed me to mature a lot more,” Fedun said. “I'm much more ready than if I had played major junior. I think I opened some people's eyes in that first training camp. That's why I'm getting an opportunity. I'm excited about what lies ahead.”

Fedun wanted to go to college, experience campus life.

Not any college.

Princeton.

He earned an Ivy League degree and played hockey in one of the nation's oldest sports venues, a 2,200-seat arena built in 1921.

“I have something to fall back on when hockey is all said and done,” Fedun said. “That's extremely valuable. Growing up, I always enjoyed school. To have an opportunity to play hockey and go to an institution like Princeton was a no-brainer for me.”

If Fedun wasn't a pro hockey player he most likely would be working for a company like Devon or Chesapeake in Edmonton, a city with oil and gas roots similar to Oklahoma City.

“I'm in no rush to join that part of the world,” Fedun said. “I might as well have some fun. It's always been a dream of mine my entire life to play in the NHL. Not many people get a chance to live out their childhood dreams.”

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by Michael Baldwin
Reporter
Mike Baldwin has been a sports reporter for The Oklahoman since 1982. Mike graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1974 and attended Oklahoma Christian University, graduating with a journalism degree in 1978. Mike's first job was sports editor...
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