This week the Bakersfield Condors took another big step toward growing hockey here in Bakersfield announcing a partnership with the local youth travel team. The Bakersfield Dragons have been around since 1997 for kids 16 and under and will now be renamed the Junior Condors.
The move is similar to other partnerships across professional hockey like the Jr. Kings, Jr. Sharks or Jr. Ducks and something Condors' president Matthew Riley says is long overdue. "To be 8 years old and say 'Hey, I play for the Junior Condors or the junior whatever.' That's a pretty cool thing for the kids," he said.
The Condors see it as a way to grow youth hockey and youth participation in the community and gives young players the chance to lace up and wear jerseys just like the players they've grown up watching.
"It's fun for the kids," said Condors' assistant coach JF Houle. "They feel ownership to the Condors and when they wear the logo I'm sure they're going to be really proud."
Houle will be one of the coaches helping out the next generation but is also a parent of a young player and knows all about the associated costs with one of the most expensive youth sports. "Whenever you can save a few dollars on jerseys or ice time or anything like that-everything helps," he said.
Not only will this get the Condors logo out as the team travels, but perhaps most important to the community outreach is how it will lighten the burden on parent's pockets. "We're going to purchase the jerseys for them so it's obviously a sizeable investment," said Riley. "In future years we want to supply some scholarships for some families that maybe can't afford it and get as many kids out there on the ice as possible."
The change will start with the upcoming 2016-17 season and tryouts for the Midget AA (16u) are this Saturday and Sunday, June 4 & 5. Click here for more information.
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