Could the Bakersfield Condors have a different nickname by the time the 2014-15 hockey season rolls around?
Patrick LaForge, President and Chief Operating Officer of the Edmonton Oilers, who completed a purchase of the Condors on Thursday, said he wasn't sure when asked that question during a luncheon with Condors corporate sponsors on Thursday afternoon.
"I don't know," he said. "I never saw a Condor until that one on the ice that was seen around the world on YouTube," he said, referencing the antics of the captive Condor, Queen Victoria, who escaped from her handler at a Condors game last season and flew into the Condors bench and then went down hall toward the locker room. "I can tell you one thing, our community, our team is built on the oil and gas industry."
Thus the nicknames: The Oilers at the NHL; the Barons at the AHL level and the Oil Kings (Edmonton) in the major junior Western Hockey League.
"We like oil. We like the petroleum business," LaForge said.. "This city (Bakersfield) is built on oil. A lot of companies here are guys we do business with in Oklahoma and Edmonton. I can't answer your question. I'm not trying to create a controversy. I'm trying to be honest with you. I don't have an answer."
To which came a request from an audience member: "Leave the Drillers (the nickname for Bakersfield High teams) alone," he said.
-- MIKE GRIFFITH