#AHLOTB: Bakersfield gets a taste of winter

Photo: Mark Nessia

by Ryan Holt | AHL On The Beat

It never rains in California, but girl, don’t they warn ya?
It pours, man, it pours

In 1972, Albert Hammond sang the above words. They still rang true in 2017…or so we thought. Bakersfield, a city still in a drought, hosted the Three-Way Chevrolet Condorstown Outdoor Classic presented by Mission Bank on Saturday. The first and third periods were played in perfect conditions. But the second stanza? It rained.

There were nearly 13,000 tickets sold for the event, making it the most attended Condors home game in history. And while the weather refused to cooperate for the second period, everyone who came to Bakersfield College’s Memorial Stadium left having an experience that they won’t soon forget.

It wasn’t just a game. It was an event. For 18 days, folks from all over descended on Bakersfield to partake in the festivities. There was public skating, hockey tournaments, and yes, even a 220-ft. zip line. It was in Bakersfield. A city more known for heat and dry conditions than outdoor skating and building snowmen.

But, Bakersfield is Condorstown. And the Condors are the community. As Condors winger Joey LaLeggia put it, “Bakersfield is a hockey town. This city deserves to have an event like this for the support they show us.”

Fans of all ages were treated to an NHL Alumni – Celebrity Game last Friday featuring winners of 32 Stanley Cups, Academy Award winners, bands with millions of Twitter followers, and yes “The Great One” Wayne Gretzky and Luc Robitaille.

That alone would have been enough. But, the Condors, in 19 years, have never been about just doing “good enough.” The mantra from Condors Team President Matthew Riley has always been, find new ways to challenge ourselves to be bigger and better.

The Outdoor Classic was just that, a classic. In every sense of the word. And for three weeks, Bakersfield got a little taste of winter.