Hey it’s me. Your old pal Holty here. It’s been a while. We had that whole pandemic thing and the blog kind of went away. But, the Choco Taco was recently discontinued and I decided that I can remain silent no longer.

So here we are, Thursday, July 28, and I’m declaring that the blog is officially back! We’ll go every Thursday. Some might be in the morning. Some in the afternoon. I may forget some weeks. This one will probably be wordy since we have a lot to talk about. But, even after a pandemic, I’ll remind you … it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want.

Now for the blog …

Excited to work with this year’s coaching staff led by Colin Chaulk. Colin did a terrific job in the second half of the season to get the most out of last year’s team. I sat down with him earlier this summer, which you can watch here.

Recently Keith McCambridge and Josh Green were brought on as assistant coaches. Keith is a former AHL head coach in a couple spots and Condors fans will certainly remember his days with the Alaska Aces patrolling the blue line and behind the bench. Josh played two decades professionally, including with Edmonton and I think the combination of the three with goaltending coach Sly Rodrigue will make for a solid coaching staff. It’s not easy when you lose two coaches to the NHL, but that’s the business and the organization did a nice job of keeping the continuity with these hires. Both Keith (click here) & Josh (click here) were recent guests on the Oilers Radio Network and gave a little insight into their coaching philosophy.

Yesterday the Edmonton Oilers announced a partnership with Fort Wayne as the organization’s new ECHL affiliate. It’s the third ECHL affiliate in the Condors AHL Era (Norfolk, Wichita). The Komets have been around over 70 years and will be a perfect environment for prospects to play. I’d anticipate a goaltender and handful of players seeing time significantly in Fort Wayne. Plus, as we know from our ECHL days, having a solid AHL / NHL affiliate allows the ECHL team to have some players signed to AHL contracts which help on the salary cap. I just started to twitch a bit remembering Kevin Bartl’s salary cap payroll spreadsheet and Monday morning phone calls to be compliant. Those were the days.

The schedule came out and you may be thinking I’m here to breakdown opponent matchups, homestands, and key dates. WRONG. I’m here to talk about food. This is a great food schedule. It starts with TWO off days (Oct 20-21) in Tucson. No shortage of great options there.  January 9 we get time to explore what Calgary has to offer. I mean, they’ve been giving away everything else this summer so we’ll probably get a good deal. January 12 is our first venture to Coachella Valley for some desert grub. January 26 is a day to venture in “America’s Finest City.” Think I’ll head back to Little Italy for that one. No off days in Austin, but great to have them back on the schedule. You can download the schedule here and follow along as I eat my way through road trips.

Quick note on “the roster.” The signing of Calvin Pickard is big for the organization. He’s a reliable, elite AHL goaltender who can provide depth at the NHL level as well. He was outstanding with Grand Rapids last year despite facing a ton of volume. With Campbell & Skinner likely to be in Edmonton, Pickard is a great addition who can also help mentor Olivier Rodrigue and Ryan Fanti. Here are some of his highlights from last season.

Alright that’s it for this week. We’re hard at work on the Silver Season, celebrating 25 years of hockey in Condorstown. An impressive milestone which will feature alumni appearances, special nights, and cool jerseys.

Until next time Condorstown…

Ryan Holt aka Holty is the Voice of the Condors and enters his 12th season in Bakersfield. Follow him on Twitter @CondorsHolty for more nonsense or shoot questions/comments/blog ideas to him rholt@bakersfieldcondors.com