(The AHL has undergone a season of change and one-third of the league has changed locations or logos for the 2015-16 season. Leading up to the new season, The Hockey News will be ranking the logos of the league’s teams and offering a brief look at the history of each franchise. See the rest of the rankings in our AHL feed.) The Bakersfield Condors have lived up to their billing as one of the most fun teams in all of professional hockey over the past few seasons, but the on-ice product hasn’t exactly been as successful. That could all change with 2015-16’s jump to the AHL, however. In the four years prior to 2015-16, the Condors were an ECHL club of the same name and only made the playoffs once in the past four campaigns — albeit that was a run to the third round of the post-season. Only once have they eclipsed the 60-point plateau. But they’ve never ceased to be entertaining. For 2015-16, the year the team becomes the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors thanks to the league’s shift to the West Coast, things look promising. Bakersfield is inheriting an Oklahoma City Barons club that has made the post-season in each of the past five seasons and hasn’t seen many major changes to the roster this off-season. Leading scorer
Andrew Miller will be back, as will
Matthew Ford and rookie Joshua Winquist, who were re-signed in the off-season. That’s not to mention young guns like
Iiro Pakarainen and
Leon Draisaitl are all likely to play in Bakersfield this season. Add to it newly acquired defenseman
Griffin Reinhart, top prospect blueliner
Darnell Nurse and goaltending standout
Laurent Brossoit and the on-ice product might be just as fun as the promotions in the building.
Team History: The franchise first began as the minor league team of the dominant 1980s Oilers and put down roots in Nova Scotia. First, they played out of the Halifax Metro Centre and were know as the Nova Scotia Oilers, but the time in Halifax was short-lived — after four seasons, the club packed up and moved to Sydney, N.S., to become the Cape Breton Oilers. For eight seasons, the club would remain in Sydney and play host to one of the most incredible feats in professional hockey history. During the 1992-93 post-season, Bill McDougall scored an unthinkable 26 goals and 52 points in 16 playoff games as the AHL Oilers captured the Calder Cup. Sadly, three seasons later the club would move to Hamilton. In Hamilton, the club would be rebranded as the Bulldogs through a naming contest. For seven seasons, they would be the sole AHL affiliate of the Oilers, but after seven seasons and two Calder Cup final appearances, Edmonton made the decision to move their AHL club to Toronto. While the Bulldogs carried on thanks to a local campaign, the Oilers AHL talent was suiting up for the Toronto Roadrunners the following season. In 2003-04, the Roadrunners played in Toronto, but they relocated to Edmonton for the 2004-05 season. After only one campaign in Edmonton, however, the club was considered for a move to Saskatoon, Sask. The deal fell through, though, and instead the club went inactive for five seasons before being brought back in the form of the Barons. The Barons spent five seasons in Oklahoma City, but failed to make a Calder Cup final, but came one win away in 2012-13. The franchise’s all-time leader in goals (219) and games played (466) is Dan Currie, but Shaun Van Allen holds the record for assists (307) and points (432).
Logo History: The NHL’s Oilers logo was very influential in the early days of the franchise, but unlike other teams who have had their parent club logo grow into the minor league crest over the years, the Oilers’ AHL teams have branched out in later years.
In Nova Scotia, the logos were very much based on the NHL’s Oilers, with both teams bearing the moniker and very similar logos. The move to Sydney — the team was called Cape Breton — resulted in a slight logo change to represent the province.
It was the move to Hamilton and a fan vote that led to the Bulldogs name, one which the franchise stuck with even after the Oilers were gone from the southern Ontario city. The logo has become somewhat iconic for hockey in the region and has since been adopted by the OHL franchise of the same name that will play in Hamilton in 2015-16. As for the failed attempts to build the club in Toronto and Edmonton, the Roadrunners moniker and logo was an interesting tribute to the WHA team of the same name.
When the club was reborn, the team took on the name Barons and for five seasons used the oil rig logo. The crest was simple and effective, and it even changed along with the Oilers’ use of the retro blue and orange.
Current Logo: The Condors are hockey in Bakersfield. There was some doubt whether the name would remain with the move to the AHL, but the Condors will be back with the Oilers. While the logo didn’t change much from ECHL to AHL — the color scheme was the biggest change — it’s been a good logo for years. There is eventually going to be an update made to the logo or, inevitably, a third jersey that makes its way onto the ice. If the next iteration of the logo focuses more on the condor’s head and makes it look a bit grittier or meaner, we think the crest would be even better.
(All logos courtesy of Chris Creamer’s SportsLogos.net)