Today the Anaheim Ducks organization announced it had signed an affiliation agreement with the ECHL’s Bakersfield Condors. With the agreement now in place, the Ducks will begin sending prospects up Interstate 5 to Bakersfield for the 2008-2009 ECHL regular season.
“We are very excited to be entering into a formal affiliation agreement with an organization that is held in such high regard in professional hockey,” said Ducks Executive Vice President/General Manager Brian Burke. “The Bakersfield Condors have a track record of success both on and off the ice and this agreement will only help further the growth of hockey in California.”
Bakersfield joined the ECHL in 2003 after playing its five previous seasons in the WCHL (West Coast Hockey League). During their 10 year history, the Condors have attracted over two million fans to Rabobank Arena, including 200,000-plus in each of the last four seasons. The Condors posted a 26-37-2-7 record in 2007-08 and ranked fifth among ECHL teams in average attendance at 5,628. The Condors affiliation to the Ducks will be the franchise's first affiliation to an NHL club. The Condors success on the ice is clear with Bakersfield having made four consecutive Kelly Cup playoff appearances.
“This is an exciting moment in the history of this organization,” said Condors President Matthew Riley. “Not only to be able to secure an affiliation, but secure one with a first-class franchise like the Ducks, fellow Californians and an organization that shares the same philosophies that we have. It’s a banner day in Condorstown.”
The Condors have previous experience with preparing players for the NHL, having graduated four players to the NHL since 2003-2004. Goaltenders Danny Taylor (Kings) and Yutaka Fukufuji (Kings) along with right wings Garret Stroheim (Capitals) and Connor James (Kings, Penguins) have traded in their Condors uniforms for those of NHL franchises.
Hockey in Bakersfield dates back almost 68 years. With teams ranging in both semi-pro and professional leagues, the list includes the Bakersfield Oilers, Bakersfield Kernels, and the Bakersfield Fog; Condors. In addition, the Condors have been very involved in the local community since their inception. The team has donated nearly $3 million to various charities in the area.
The Bakersfield Condors begin their 2008-2009 ECHL regular season on Saturday, October 18th when they host the Ontario Reign at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield.
For further information on the Condors and their new agreement with the Ducks go to http://ducksnewskarm.blogspot.com
Photo: Courtesy of ducks.nhl.com
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