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Oklahoma tornadoes hit close to home for Edmonton's AHL affiliate

By Brian Stubits | CBSSports.com

The devastation left behind by the tornadoes to rip through OKC. (Getty Images)
Some of the devastation left behind by the tornadoes that ripped through Oklahoma. (Getty Images)

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The Oklahoma City suburb of Moore, Okla., was rocked Monday by a powerful and deadly tornado that hit close to home for hockey players on the Oklahoma City Barons, Edmonton's AHL affiliate.

The Barons are still playing this season, currently waiting for their opponent in the Western Conference Final of the Calder Cup playoffs. So they were practicing Monday and wrapped up about three hours before the twister came ripping past about a half-mile away from their facility.

"We're good. Our guys live on the north side of the city or in the downtown area," Barons GM Bill Scott told the Edmonton Sun.

"Our staff was in the office downtown. Some of them live in Moore but all are accounted for. But, my God, it affects everybody. People lost their homes and businesses. The devastation is truly unbelievable."

Remember, the players are part of the community, too, living there like everybody else with friends and other loved ones. While none of them were directly affected, people they know were, such as the host family for defenseman Alex Plante, who has been rehabbing a broken jaw.

"We don't know about their house. We can't get back to the house. You can't even drive down there."

Plante said they'd spend the night in a downtown hotel.

"We have a program called 'Barron's Buddy', which is how I became involved with the family. I ended up family friends. They are very good people. They built up my faith. When I broke my jaw, they took me in. I've been there two and a half weeks."

While the rest of the area tries to recover from the horrific natural disaster, the Barons have the unenviable task of staying focused on hockey. As mentioned, they are waiting to see who they will play in the Western Conference final.

Moreover, it's going to be something to keep an eye on as to whether or not they will be able to play in Oklahoma City. You have to wonder if OKC will be in any shape to host a couple of games and a visiting team.

For more news on the Oklahoma City tornadoes, visit CBSNews.com.

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