Could a Bakersfield Condor be playing in the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea in February?
Possibly, but not likely.
The National Hockey League is not participating in the Olympics for the first time since 1994 but the American Hockey League confirmed Wednesday that their teams can loan players on AHL-only contracts to their respective countries from Feb. 5-16, 2018. The hockey tournament runs from Feb. 9-25.
At this point, players under two-way NHL/AHL contracts or those on one-way NHL contracts sent down to the AHL, are not eligible to be loaned.
Only five Condors, all forwards, are signed to AHL-only contracts — veterans Ryan Hamilton and Josh Currie and rookies Chad Butcher, Dave Gust and Evan Polei. Gust is from Orland Park., Ill., the rest are Canadians.
Hamilton, 32, has the most experience — 603 AHL games and 30 NHL games — so he could be a longshot to play for Team Canada.
Team Canada will likely feature a heavy dose of Canadian pros playing in Europe, where a series of exhibition games starting in August are expected to soon be announced.
However, there could well be former Condors participating in the Olympics.
Goaltender Timo Pielmeier, who played for Bakersfield at the ECHL level as a rookie in 2009-10, has played for Germany in international competition the past three seasons, including World Cups in 2015 and 2016, and is an Olympic candidate.
If you are looking for a U.S. representative, how about Dan Sexton (also with the Condors for a bit in 2009-10). Sexton currently plays in the KHL, Russia’s top league, and was on the USA team in the 2015 World Cup. Sexton led his team, Nizhnekamsk Neftekhimik, in scoring last season with 50 points in 51 games.