by Lisa Brown on 07/19/13 at 12:00 AM ET
Thursday the Edmonton Oilers announces a new ECHL affiliation with the Bakersfield Condors, just 2 months after their previous team, the Stockton Thunder fell in the Kelly Cup Finals to the Reading Royals. The Thunder were the Oilers' ECHL affiliate for 7 seasons, and while they didn't win the Kelly Cup, the Thunder were still the Western champs, and so another strong, winning team to further develop Edmonton prospects.
There has been no public reason why the Oilers decided to part ways with the Thunder. While the Oilers had shared the Thunder with the San Jose Sharks since 2010-11, in 2012, the Thunder were exclusive with the Oilers. So player development conflicts with another NHL team was likely not the reason for the switch.
It likely wasn't attendance numbers in Stockton either, as the Thunder are among the league's top attendance draws.
Although Stockton is one of the filming locations for FX's television show Sons of Anarchy, it isn't likely that because of the show or any other party reasons from Stockton that the Oilers looked to make the move.
No, this one would appear to be a conflict between ideals, or management in general. Or perhaps, Oilers' GM Craig MacTavish is really looking to shake things up, including his player development.
Bakersfield California is farther from the ocean, and in California's oil city, or oil country if you prefer. This may be a marketing dream for the Condors, but I'm not sure how exactly they would adapt the team's mascot, who for the record terrifies me. And it's not just that he's a condor, I am afraid of most birds. I swear it's a normal and logical condition.
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Lisa McRitchie is a fairly new writer, online at least, but makes up for inexperience with passion for the game of hockey and memories of Mrs. Leskiw’s English AP class; who knew they would pay off one day.
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