TULSA, Okla. – Tulsa Oilers captain Adam Pleskach played his 428th career game for the Oilers on Thursday, tying Doug Lawrence for most all-time. By taking the ice last night in Wichita, he now stands alone.
Lawrence joined the Oilers midway through the 1992-93 season, helping the club claim the newly-revived Central Hockey League’s first title. He played in parts of nine seasons between 1992-93 and 2001-02, posting 153 goals and 713 points in a Tulsa sweater. The 713 points are a club record, 160 more than second place Luc Beausoleil (553).
Both Lawrence and Beausoleil have their numbers hanging in the rafters at the BOK Center, but after Friday, nobody has represented the city of Tulsa on the ice more than Adam Pleskach.
The Sin Bin asked Oilers bench boss Rob Murray what it means to have a player who has been around the organization for so long.
“It means he’s old,” Murray said as he chuckled.
(No word if he knew I was slightly older than Adam, and therefore now officially old.)
“Well, you know, Adam is obviously the face of the team. He’s not necessarily having the season that he thinks he should be having,” Murray continued. “compared to last year’s stats, obviously he’s off there. but he contributes every night as a leader who’s leading by example still. His work ethic hasn’t changed, and that’s what I really appreciate about him. He’s a great pro, he’s a good man, and I love having him on my team.”
Pleskach is playing in his seventh season for Tulsa and has been a model of consistency during his time in Green Country. He has played 50 or more games in each of his first six years with the Oilers, and has 20 or more goals in five out of the six campaigns. He had a career-high 41 goals in 2014-15, while his career-high point total came a year ago when he posted 75 points in 2018-19.
The Sin Bin was able to catch up with Adam after the game on Thursday to ask him how it felt to be reaching this particular milestone.
“I mean, I guess it feels good that I know for the most part I have been healthy, I’ve been consistent over my career, and that I’ve been useful.
“That’s probably what I feel best about, you know, that every coach that has come through here uses me and I’ve been consistently playing games. Just being happy in Tulsa and playing all these games, I feel like it’s sort of my hometown right now. So, it’s exciting to still be playing here.”
Pleskach played his college hockey for American International College between 2009 and 2013, then played ten games (1G, 7A) for the now defunct Evansville Icemen of the ECHL at the end of his senior season in Spring 2013. He signed with Tulsa before his first full season as a pro in 2013-14 and joined the club just in time for its final season in the Central Hockey League. The seven remaining CHL squads merged with the ECHL prior to the 2014-15 season, and Pleskach is the only Oiler who has played through it all.
We also talked to Pleskach after his 400th game with Tulsa back in October, and he told us how he came to call Tulsa home.
“It was pretty easy to make it home here, make Tulsa home. I played my first year, sort of came out of nowhere. I didn’t think I was going to wind up in Tulsa and I was just here one day, and I had a good year and probably could have moved on.
“We were in the Central League and I had choices to move on to different teams, but I definitely didn’t want to bounce around teams at this level if I was going to be at this level. I got really used to the people; The people here are so great and take care of me a lot, and I’ve just made it home over the last several years.”
Hundreds of people have come and gone since his first game as an Oiler in 2013. Countless players have departed; affiliates have changed. There have been three guys broadcasting games from the booth and three guys in charge behind the bench. Through it all, however, the always bearded and always smiling face of number 18 has been there always working to take Tulsa to the next level.
The Sin Bin wrapped up the discussion with Adam by asking him what has changed and what has stayed the same over the past seven seasons in Tulsa.
“I think the way we are playing right now is sort of the mainstay of what we want to see and what we’ve when we’ve had success here in Tulsa: just a relentless 60-minute effort. We’re sort of starting to get back to that, and that’s the kind of thing that’s been the same over the three coaches here.
“I am trying to help build a culture that is hard working and relentless. So, we’re starting to get back to that, and that’s the sort of thing that’s been the same here.”
The energy and attitude of your leader naturally impacts how the rest of the team reacts during an up-and-down season, and Tulsa could not be in better hands in that regard. Pleskach is the picture of poise and has the experience to help his club recover from a rough start. After all, the Oilers were also struggling at this point last year before Pleskach & Company turned on the jets and landed one game shy of the Kelly Cup Final.
Pleskach sits second behind Beausoleil in career goals for Tulsa with 176, 110 behind Beausoleil’s 286 tallies. He is also third behind Lawrence and Beausoleil with 350 points wearing Tulsa colors. All across the Tulsa record books, three names dominant the top slots: Lawrence, Beausoleil, and Pleskach. With Lawrence’s number 9 and Beausoleil’s number 17 already retired and floating in the rafters, is there really any doubt that Pleskach and his number 18 are destined to join them?
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