by Ryan Holt | AHL On The Beat
No they’re not talking about sunglasses. They’re talking about the rebirth of a Condorstown tradition from way back: the Hat Trick Sombrero.
Over a decade ago, then Condors season ticket holder Bill Vanderwark would throw a sombrero on the ice when a Condors player netted three goals in a game. His first one was a random straw hat sombrero that was chucked, but through the years, became more ornate, collectible, and fun. Players would even grab them and wear them during post-game celebrations.
“I’ve never paid more than $60,” he told The Bakersfield Californian back in 2008. “I wouldn’t pay $100 for something I’m going to throw on the ice, that’s a lot of beer.”
Bakersfield had 20 hat tricks on home ice since 1998, but had none since Pascal Morency did the trick back on Nov. 4, 2010. Over five-plus seasons, a tradition can quickly go by the wayside.
But not in Condorstown.
Though Bill Vanderwark has since moved from Condorstown, longtime season ticket holder Tony Bulygo has ensured the tradition will not die.
“It’s a gift from the fans to show their appreciation for the players and their accomplishments,” Bulygo said. “Scoring a hat trick is a really hard feat and should not be taken lightly.”
So when Lander potted three goals on December 3 and then again accomplished the feat on January 13, the sombreros made their grand re-entrance to Condorstown.
“The sombreros are special,” he said wearing ‘El Jefe’ and holding his other prized possession. “It’s been tough (going back and forth from Edmonton during that time), but I’ve just taken it day-by-day and always do my best. I’m thankful for the support I’ve received here this season.”
Lander, who has 43 points in 29 games to lead all current Condors in scoring, also scored this season’s Teddy Bear Toss goal and the team’s “Let it Fly Friday” goal which sent undergarments and other articles of clothing on ice for donation to charity. People throwing things after he scores has become a tradition in and of itself.
Currie’s hat trick came on February 28 and was the first of his pro career.
And once again, there was a sombrero.
“It’s a pretty cool thing and was great to get the sombrero,” he said. “Traditions like that are awesome. Definitely a fun thing to be part of and it was great to get that hat trick. I hadn’t had one since back in junior three years ago.”
Bulygo has taken it a step further to present the hat trick scorer with a certificate on behalf of Condorstown to show their appreciation for the effort. The certificates commemorate the game and player’s special night.
And he said he already has others ready to go for the next time a Condors player scores three times.