With two pivotal games against Henderson pending over the weekend at Mechanics Bank Arena, the Bakersfield Condors didn't have long to pick a new head coach.
After coach Jay Woodcroft and assistant Dave Manson were promoted to Edmonton to help salvage Bakersfield's parent NHL club, making their Oilers debut Friday night, the Condors went with the next assistant on the totem pole: Colin Chaulk.
Chaulk's new role was officially confirmed in time for him to lead the team into Friday night's Condors game, assisted by goaltending coach Sylvain Rodrigue and general manager Keith Gretzky, a former three-year head coach in the Bakersfield Fog days of the 1990s (and brother of Wayne Gretzky) who has since turned to the front-office side.
The team made the announcement Friday morning after first releasing the news Thursday night, taking care to refer to Chaulk as an interim coach, meaning the Condors may be in the market for a new leader after the season — depending, potentially, on how well the Toronto native steers them through the remainder of the year.
The team may look to hire another assistant to ease the burden on Rodrigue and Gretzky, but for now Chaulk is still the newest Condors staff member, having joined Woodcroft's team in September to work with the Condors forwards. This is his second American Hockey League assistant gig after a year with the division-winning 2019-20 Belleville Senators; he was previously head coach of the ECHL's Brampton Beast.
After less than half a year in Bakersfield, the responsibility falls to him to lead the Condors ahead.