Five bizarre Bakersfield Condors memories as we say goodbye to ECHL’s weirdest, coolest franchise

Jared Clinton
An actual condor escaped its handler at a Bakersfield Condors game, landing on the home team's bench before leaving the ice. (via YouTube)

All good things must come to an end, and in the 2015-16 season the Bakersfield Condors will be no more.

The ECHL franchise is slated to become an AHL team next season as part of the NHL affiliate’s relocation and subsequent addition to the new five-team Pacific Division. As such, they’ll be dropping the at times infamous Condors handle and will be looking to select a new name, logo, and look for the squad.

Saying goodbye to the Condors isn’t easy, though. Over the years, the team has gained notoriety as one of the most creative organizations in sports, staying relevant with hilarious promotions and some amazing moments. These are the five most notable memories in Condors history: Read more

Courage Canada founder DeMontis inspires with blind hockey tournament

Jared Clinton
AMI presents the Courage Canada Blind Hockey Tournament brought to you by CNIB, which kicks off on Feb. 13 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto, Ont. (via YouTube)

When the AMI 2015 Courage Canada Blind Hockey Tournament kicks off on Feb. 13, it will be a celebration of an incredible effort by Mark DeMontis and the Courage Canada team – an effort that has seen the tournament grow, teach and inspire those who participate, watch and volunteer.

Diagnosed with Leber’s optic neuropathy, a rare degenerative eye disease, DeMontis was left blind by age 17. A promising hockey player before losing his vision, DeMontis said he went into a depression from age 19 to 22, something he accredited to being away from the game for so long. In search for something to inspire, DeMontis looked to Chris Delaney, an athlete who after losing his vision to Leber’s like DeMontis, rode across Canada on a tandem bicycle in 1996.

“One day I was looking at my bedside at my parent’s home in Weston, and I had an old pair of rollerblades just sitting there,” said DeMontis. “I remember going to bed that night, and I just had this vision in my head of being on skates across the country, meeting people and getting something moving and started. I didn’t exactly know what that was, but shortly after I realized what I was passionate about was the sport of blind hockey.” Read more

ECHL will replace three relocated AHL teams in 2015-16

Jared Clinton
ECHL Logo Featured

It may not be the same league, but a trio of cities that were announced to be losing their AHL teams in 2015-16 will see the clubs replaced with ECHL hockey.

Manchester, N.H., Norfolk, Va., and Adirondack, which plays out of Glens Falls, N.Y., will each be recipients of relocated ECHL franchises for next season, each of which will replace a relocated AHL team. Read more

ECHL team trolls Maple Leafs, will host “Toss Your Jersey” night

Jared Clinton
Nazem Kadri (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

One of the stranger stories of the NHL season is the number of times Toronto Maple Leafs jerseys have been thrown onto the ice in protest of the team’s subpar performance. So the ECHL’s Brampton Beast, being nearby and all, thought they would turn a negative into a positive.

Enter “Toss Your Jersey” night, which will take place on Thursday, Feb. 5 when the Beast host the Allen Americans at the Powerade Centre in Brampton, Ont. After Brampton scores their first goal of the game, fans have been “strongly encouraged” to throw their sweaters onto the ice, and they’re doing it for a good cause. Read more

Hockey dad loses mind, punches through glass to yell at refs

Jared Clinton
(via jmurr1988/YouTube)

This video, posted on Monday by YouTube user jmurr1988, shows a hockey parent slapping the glass following some on ice action. The parent stands up, approaches the ice, and puts his hand through the plexiglass.

There’s not much information about the video aside from what we can observe, but you can take a look for yourself and see the incident take place.

Read more

From haka to hockey: Love of the game in the most unlikely places on Earth

Jared Clinton
(via YouTube)

The New Zealand All Blacks made the haka part of popular culture. The traditional dance has been a fixture of the rugby squad’s games for over 100 years. Haka have been seen in basketball, soccer, and now, thanks to New Zealand’s U20 hockey team, in hockey.

Before taking on South Africa at the IIHF U20 Div. 3 tournament, being held in Dunedin, New Zealand, the New Zealanders removed their helmets and gloves, approached the red line performing the dance, while the South African squad refused to back down, staring right into the eyes of their opponents. Read more

Good on B.C. amateur league for harsh response to repellent abusive fans

Adam Proteau
(Image via Getty Images)

The Vancouver Island Amateur Hockey Association released Friday an open letter warning members they’re pondering a “spectator-free weekend” of action in response to fans abusing officials and players. And it’s about time other amateur leagues across the continent followed their lead and took similarly harsh measures to address a growing problem.

Minor hockey leagues have realized for years now they have an issue on their hands: the overzealous, expectant hockey parent – the alleged “adult” who thinks it within their right to abuse teenaged referees or players, as if they had some sort of final say on a subjectively-officiated sport. VIAHA president Jim Humphrey made it clear they are ruining the game and the ability of young people to learn and grow in different roles and remain in the system: Read more

High school coach charged after allegedly shoving, biting referee

Jared Clinton
Taunton High School Logo

A high school coach in Massachusetts has been charged with assault and battery and disorderly conduct following an incident in which he allegedly chest-bumped, shoved and bit a referee following his team’s 9-1 loss on Wednesday night.

According to a police report, the altercation was fuelled by an icing call that Taunton High School coach, 46-year-old William C. Kenney III, disagreed with. Kenney was released and pleas of not guilty were entered on his behalf, according to a report from The Boston Globe. Read more