As the Tulsa Oilers push for the playoffs, Ben Gordon is leading the way.
"He can think the game a lot better than most guys," Oilers forward Drew Fisher said. "He's so shifty and deceptive, he just knows how to make those D-men miss."
Gordon is the Central Hockey League's player of the month, and is third in the league in scoring. He learned to skate about the same time he learned to walk.
"I think right around my first birthday my parents put me on skates," explained Gordon. "I don't think I skated necessarily, just kind of walked on them, but I think I started playing organized hockey around 3? Somewhere around there."
Gordon grew up in International Falls, Minnesota--a slap shot south of the Canadian border, where hockey season is the only thing longer than winter.
"Football's the big thing down here, kids start pretty early, back home, we start playing hockey pretty early," Gordon said.
If it weren't for Gordon's roots in International Falls, he might not be here in Tulsa. Oilers players Drew Fisher and Ryan Cramer grew up with Gordon, and helped recruit him to join the team.
"They just kind of contacted me and Coach Ramsay contacted me and kind of got the ball rolling, and it seemed like a good fit," Gordon said.
Teammates aren't the only International Falls connection to Tulsa.
Gordon's sister, Jena Fisher, is married to teammate Drew Fisher.
"He didn't ask me, he doesn't have to ask for my permission, anyway," Gordon said. "As you can see, he's a lot bigger than me, so there's not much I could really do about it anyway."
"They go back before Drew and I were dating, they played hockey at the University of Minnesota, they were road roommates before he became my husband," said Jena Fisher. "To this day they're still road roommates, and Drew has to put up with him whether he likes it or not."
After a standout college career, Gordon chased his dream of playing in the National Hockey League. Now 29 years old, he's focused on finishing his career surrounded by family.
"I wanted to find a place where I could be happy, I could be stable, I knew that I wasn't going to go anywhere," Gordon explained. "Tulsa seemed like the place to do that, so I'm very happy."
Happy playing hockey, even if it's 1,000 miles from home.