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Welcome to my world: Barons' Bryan Helmer

By Scott Munn, Assistant Sports Editor, smunn@opubco.com Modified: September 27, 2011 at 6:17 pm •  Published: September 27, 2011
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*First person he called when he earned first NHL promotion, to the Phoenix Coyotes during the 1998-99 season: “My girlfriend, who is my wife now, and my parents. They were kind of speechless. I tried to get them down from Ontario to Phoenix for my first game. I got my (wife) down there, but my parents couldn't make it. They heard the game on the radio and were really excited about it.”

*A promotion to the NHL means an increase in pay. The first thing Helmer purchased after receiving his first Coyotes paycheck: “That was so long ago, but I think I took my family and my wife's family out for a big meal. They were my biggest fans and biggest supporters, so I wanted to give something back to them.”

*Barons coach Todd Nelson and former teammate Alex Giroux talked Helmer out of retirement last season. Helmer soon found out that Oklahoma is not all about chuck wagons, cowboys and tumbleweeds. “I had a lot of people say that to me when I told them I was going to Oklahoma. Cowboys, rodeos and things like that.”

*Helmer has worn several different jerseys during a long career. One of the more unique might be the brown suits worn by the Hershey Bears, home of the famous chocolate factory. “There were days when the wind was coming in, it smelled just like chocolate outside. You go downtown and the street lamps are the shape of a Hershey's kiss, so it's pretty much chocolate everywhere there. There's a lot of history there, even with the hockey team being in the (American Hockey League) from its start. It's a nice place, and the people are great.”