After the Edmonton Oilers called up Bakersfield Condors head coach Jay Woodcroft in February, forcing Colin Chaulk to take over in Bakersfield on an interim basis, both teams have ended up happy.
The Condors announced Monday that Chaulk has been named the team's ninth-ever head coach.
The news came a week after Edmonton signed Woodcroft to a three-year contract extension. Both Chaulk and Woodcroft led their teams into the playoffs after taking on the role of interim head coach and were rewarded in kind.
Chaulk, who had joined the Condors as an assistant coach focused on forwards prior to the season, went 19-12-3 and helped Bakersfield advance to the second round of the Calder Cup Playoffs with a series sweep over Abbotsford.
When Woodcroft joined Edmonton at midseason and took assistant Dave Manson with him, Chaulk was thrust into the head role with American Hockey League Hall of Famer John Anderson at his side. In a video released by the Condors, he discussed the process of adapting to leading the team's staff and building relationships throughout the Condors and Oilers organizations.
"I felt like in the beginning, we spent a ton of time over-communicating," Chaulk said, "making sure the message was clear, tweaking some things that we had done before with the old staff."
Chaulk had previously spent four years as head coach of the Brampton Beast of the ECHL. Prior to joining the Condors, his most recent AHL appointment was as a Belleville Senators assistant in 2019-20, but he quickly jelled with Woodcroft's staff.
"I wanted to take that year and learn," Chaulk said, "and I feel like we were definitely, as a staff, in stride ... We had our group, it felt like we were really working well together."
Chaulk added that he wants to continue the Condors' run of developing players while still experiencing success on the ice, as the previous staff did, winning a pair of John D. Chick trophies as Pacific Division champions.
"We believe that that can go hand in hand," Chaulk said. "I think they've proven that, so that needs to continue."
The new head coach is already working with general manager Keith Gretzky and Oilers management to assemble a coaching staff all his own. The Condors will hope to become "a hard team, a fast team and a smart team, meaning mixing blue-collar and white-collar," Chaulk said.
After a frenzied midseason start to his tenure, Chaulk looks forward to an offseason "slow burn" leading up to the AHL's return in the fall.
"We're excited to have what we had at the end of the season, how loyal the fans were when we saw them come back and how loud the building was," he said. "Really excited to see that on Day 1."
Reporter Henry Greenstein can be reached at 661-395-7374. Follow him on Twitter: @HenryGreenstein.