BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - The Bakersfield Condors announced this morning that head coach Troy Mann has accepted the same position with the Hershey Bears of the AHL.
In a statement from the Condors, Mann said:
"Thank you to Jonathon Fleisig, the Edmonton Oilers, Matt Riley, John Olver and the entire Condors staff for providing me with the opportunity to work in Condorstown. It has been a pleasure to be a part of one of the premier organizations in the ECHL. It is bittersweet to depart, but this is an opportunity that I have been working towards my entire coaching career. I wish the organization nothing but the best moving forward."
Team president Matthew Riley said the move comes as no surprise.
“We knew that Troy was going to get a position at the AHL level, a head coaching position,” Riley told 23ABC from his home on Wednesday, “we just wish we had him for a few more years, obviously he had a great year and that got the attention of folks so we wish him the best of luck, he's on the fast track, he's doing great things.”
That great year was highlighted by the first western conference finals appearance in franchise history.
In Mann’s lone year as head coach, fans dubbed the team the cardiac condors. The nickname stuck not only for their ability to come back in playoff games - but the way in which Troy Mann turned around a historically slow start to the season.
“He said he tried everything and yet we were still losing,” booster club member Butch Swen recalled, “and he said it was up to the guys. He brought it to the guys and said this is your team, this is your game now and that's how they got it.”
The most successful year in Condorstown was Troy Mann's lone season as head coach in Bakersfield. He returns to an AHL club where he spent four seasons (2009-2013) as assistant. The search has begun for Mann’s replacement in Bakersfield but unlike year's past, the team's NHL owners provide a jump start.
“[The Edmonton Oilers] want to develop coaches,” Riley explained, “so they may have folks they can already see stepping in here or some people from outside that they want to be a part of their organization so we'll have a great coach I'm sure.”
Troy Mann's departure is due to how well he coached the Condors last season. The shape he left the organization in will help in recruiting new players, returning players and ultimately a new coach. But the biggest impact Mann left in his single season at the helm of the Condors was on the fans.
“Troy was a big part of it,” booster club member Delores Steinert said of the 2014 campaign, “I don't think we would have gone anywhere without him.”
“Coaches come and go,” Swen added, “I wish him the best of luck - you've got to just hope we get a coach that the players like and go on from there.”
Troy Mann will be travelling back and forth from Hershey and Bakersfield and will be available for comment the week of July 16th.
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