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5 years after getting loose, famous condor comes back to Condorstown

Posted at 5:29 PM, Feb 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-08 21:35:38-05

It's not often that Condors players are lingering around Rabobank Arena after practice. Then again it's not often head coach Gerry Fleming is grinning from ear to ear for anything other than a win.

But the chance for the Condors to meet the condor, the infamous condor, that got loose was too much for players and coaches to pass on Thursday morning.

5 years ago to the day Joe Krathwohl's fall before a game left the broadcast team of Ryan Holt and Kevin Bartl in tears. "People falling over is funny," Holt said. "People falling over with a 28 pound animal? That's even funnier."

The video has been viewed nearly two million times on various platforms and nearly every major network including ESPN, CNN and TSN. "All those years of 'We need to help Condors, we need to give them attention' and what got them the most attention was falling on the ice and having Vicki make a quick exit," Krathwohl, a professional bird trainer said. 

The bird, named Queen Victoria, is 23 years old and has been with Krathwohl since she was just 10 days old. "When I saw her in the locker room (after getting loose) she just had this look on her face like 'Whoa what was all that?" he said.

His fall on the ice actually cracked a couple ribs but injury aside, as someone who's cared for birds since he was 16, this time he wants to get it right. "What we're doing differently this time is giving the bird more time to get accustomed to the very strange environment of being in the rink."

Thursday afternoon there was a run through in front of an empty arena with not one but two birds on the ice. But all of the prep in the world, at the end of the day, the Condors still know they're rolling the dice. "This is a live animal on the ice," said Holt. "Who knows."

Injuries and embarrassment aside, Krathwohl sees the experience 5 years ago as a win. "If that's what it takes to draw attention to condors and the need for conservation I'd have taken a nose dive on the ice years ago."

Cassie Dunlap will return to sing the national anthem with puck dropping Friday night at 7:00 PM.


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