A Tale Of Two (Hockey) Cities: Bakersfield And Fresno Face Different ECHL Futures
The last seven days have been significant ones for local ice hockey fans. Last week, the Bakersfield Condors of the ECHL announced that the team has been acquired by the NHL’s Edmonton Oliers. Fans and local officials hope the change will help give a boost to the popular franchise in many ways.
Meanwhile in Fresno, And further up highway 99 the City of Fresno in discussions with a Bay Area developer who has plans to bring another ECHL franchise to the city. Fresno has been without a professional hockey team since the Fresno Falcons went out of business in 2008. The demise of the Falcons also left the city without a permanent tenant for the city-owned Selland Arena, was underwent $15 million worth of renovations in 2007.
The new proposal from investor and hockey fan David Bouquillon would bring Fresno an ECHL franchise that formerly belonged to the San Francisco Bulls, which ceased operations earlier this week. But big obstacles remain - like negotiating a lease agreement with the city, which is also using Selland Arena as a concert venue.
To tell us more about the most recent developments in both Bakersfield and Fresno, Valley Edition spoke with Mike Griffith, a sportswriter with the Bakersfield Californian, and Marek Warszawski, sports columnist with the Fresno Bee.