By Mike Griffith
Californian Staff Writer
Copyright © The Bakersfield Californian
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – The wake-up call won’t come any earlier than usual. After all, the Condors are usually on the ice at 10 a.m. every day.
But when the Condors hit the ice Thursday morning at Centennial Garden the surroundings will be a bit different. Instead of empty seats, there will be fans in the stands — including more than 2,000 students — for a special 10:30 a.m. game against the Fresno Falcons.
The game is being billed as a combination Businessman Special and Field Trip day.
For those who can’t convince the boss they are ill, or take a day off from work, a long lunch may be the ticket — those arriving at 11:30 a.m. or later get two tickets for the price of one.
About 2,100 students from throughout Kern County (primarily grades kindergarten through sixth) will be in the terrace section armed with special multi-page educational handouts featuring geography, language and math relating to the game of hockey.
On the ice, the Condors will be interested in simple math: score more goals than Fresno and earn two points for the win.
“We’ve had two real good practices and the guys are ready,” Condors coach Marty Raymond said following Wednesday morning’s practice. “The 10:30 a.m. game is a little different but it’s the same for both teams. Instead of practicing we’ll be playing a game.”
Raymond said it’s been a back to basics week as he felt the team was slipping away from its strengths in recent games.
While focusing on the basics, Raymond has changed things up on the line combinations — partly due to injuries, partly due to some ineffectiveness in the past few games and partly for the sheer competition.
“It all started due to injuries but no doubt down the road (mixing up the lines) will help because everyone will have played with one another,” Raymond said. “It’s also healthy competition. I want guys to feel like they have to compete for a spot to play. If they work hard in practice they’ll get a chance.”