NHL game puts spotlight on Bakersfield

Posted at 1:11 PM, Sep 22, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-22 16:11:26-04

Monday night the Los Angeles Kings and the Arizona Coyotes are facing off and local businesses are benefiting.

Manager Sonny Crews said Mexicali Restaurant, a short walk from Rabobank arena, has quite the reservation list already.

"Groups of 6 and 8 and one group of 15 coming, and we look forward to a pleasantly busy night," Crews said.

He added he's not the only business getting attention from the crowd attending the game tonight, he said any restaurant near the arena will be packed Monday evening. Officials said Monday morning that more than 75% of the tickets have been sold, and they expect it to sell out.

Bakersfield residents say they're very excited for the game, the last NHL game was in 2003 when the Kings came up, hockey officials said.

Vice President for Communications for the Condors, Kevin Bartl, said this is just a taste of what the city will see as the American Hockey League starts up this fall.

"There are thousands of people coming here downtown, they're getting out of their homes, out from behind their TVs if you will, they're coming down and maybe they're enjoying some food or drinks before or after the game," Bartl said NHL scouts will also be showing up to check out our Condors players, and will also utilize nearby hotels.

Athletes on the AHL team will also have a higher salary, Bartl said, the money will be making it's way back into businesses as they spend it.

"I think on many different levels this is a big step up for Bakersfield," Bartl said.

Season ticket holder numbers are skyrocketing after the Condors became an AHL team, Bartl said there are more than 1,300 season ticket holders.

The game was scheduled at Rabobank as a home game for the Coyotes.