By Mike Griffith
Californian Staff Writer
The Bakersfield Californian
Both will be back with the Bakersfield Condors this fall as the organization announced that the two have both agreed to terms for the 2007-08 season.
“It’s not a big surprise that we’ve come to terms with those two guys,” Condors coach Marty Raymond said on Tuesday. “It follows the suit that we’ve talked about — want commitment and people who train hard, really want to win and like it here. You can’t win without guys that care.”
Venedam, a 10-year veteran forward from Valley East, Ontario, has played in Bakersfield for the past two seasons and led the team in scoring last season with 74 points.
Venedam said he never had any thoughts of looking elsewhere for employment.
“There’s so many places to play but there’s a reason guy want to come back, here,” Venedam said. “This is a great organization, a great community and we’re supported very well. We bought a house here last year, that brings something into the picture, but you can sell the house any time if you’re not happy.
“There’s a reason I want to come back and that’s to win a championship.”
The Condors have fallen in the second round of the playoffs the past two seasons.
Kudelka, of Preov, Czech Republic, first played for the Condors in 2004-05, played in his home country the following season, and returned to Bakersfield last season. He had 11 points in the regular season and four points in eight playoff games where he was one of the most physical players on the ice.
“It was (an easy decision) for me,” Kudelka said of signing. “For me, there was never a question. I just wanted to agree to a contract as soon as possible.
“This is my home for right now. I struggled back home a couple of years ago and I don’t want to play there. “This is the best place to play hockey, that’s why the decision was so easy.”
Raymond noted that Kudelka made huge strides this season after getting off to a slow start.
“At the beginning of the year David wasn’t sure of himself but he turned out to be one of our grittiest players by the end of the playoffs. He was a menace. When he’s on his game he’s a tough guy to play against and we’re glad to have him back.”
As for Venedam, Raymond said his skills go far beyond the ice.
“With Vinny you get a solid human being,” Raymond said. “Not only will he score and do well on the ice, but he’ll be at Albertson’s and some fan will come talk to him and he’ll spend 15, 20 minutes talking.
“These are the types of guys that are helpful to the community. Polite, courteous, well-mannered with everybody and plays tough hockey. That’s the perfect combination at this level.”