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Oesterle now a full-time student of hockey

by George Darkow / Edmonton Oilers

Last weekend, Jordan Oesterle was hard at work, studying for a grueling test in one of his finance classes at Western Michigan University.

And then the Oilers called.

By Monday, the 6-foot, 185 pound defenceman had inked a two-year entry-level contract with Edmonton. Two days later he made the first stop of his professional career, joining the Oklahoma City Barons of the American Hockey League for their Wednesday night game against the Hamilton Bulldogs.

Though the past week seemed like a whirlwind to the 21-year-old Oesterle, he couldn't be happier.

"It's a dream come true," Oesterle said. "Every kid plays hockey to try and sign an NHL contract and play in the NHL. And that's just the first step to, hopefully, a career in this game.

"(Hockey has) pretty much been my life since I was a little boy," he added.

A native of Dearborn Heights, Mich., Oesterle grew up an avid fan of the Detroit Red Wings, mostly because of two players who, for a number of years, entertained and educated him about the game he loved.

"You can't not enjoy watching Nicklas Lidström play or when Steve Yzerman was there, watching him play too," Oesterle said.

A self-proclaimed two-way defenceman, Oesterle joins the Oilers organization after a junior season at WMU in which he tallied two goals and 15 assists in 34 games. Though the junior finance major with a cumulative 3.55 GPA took as much pride in his academic career as he did his on-ice business, Oesterle's priorities have shifted.

"My priority now is preparing myself this summer for my first professional season (2014-15)," Oesterle said. "Whether it's in Edmonton or Oklahoma, I just think it'll be great for me to get a strong start wherever I am next year and show the organization what I can do."

Instead of math-intensive finance and accounting classes sprinkled with a few hours of ice time, Oesterle is now a full-time student of hockey and is obtaining a new type of education compliments of the Oilers' minor league system.

"This is huge," Oesterle said. "Coming to Oklahoma and seeing what the other guys are doing day in and day out, how they conduct themselves in the locker room and off the ice, just (learning) what it means to be a professional."

Despite his commitment to the Oilers organization, Oesterle hasn't closed the book on the outstanding academic career that earned him a place on the National Collegiate Hockey Conference's Academic All-Conference team this past year. Though he has set his sights on reaching Edmonton as quickly as possible, Oesterle still plans to continue his education over the next few summers.

As for that test he was studying for?

"I haven't gotten it back yet," he said. "I didn't get too much studying done, of course."

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