Forget Connor and Kellen Jones. Meet Dr. Tim Whatley and Uncle Leo. At least those were their pro hockey names last Saturday night at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield, Calif. when the ECHL Condors held a wild Seinfeld Night.
The Condors wore puffy pirate shirt tribute jerseys as part of ‘Puffy Shirt Jersey Night,’ in honour of the 25th anniversary of the show’s first airing on television.
The jerseys were inspired by a gaudy pirate shirt Jerry Seinfeld once accidentally agreed to wear for a TV appearance in an episode of the hit ‘90s sitcom. The Idaho Steelheads won the game 2-1.
The backs of the jerseys were designed to bear the names of actual Seinfeld characters as opposed to Condors players. A Kramer impersonator named “Ozmo Kramer” was on hand to drop the puck and take photos with fans, while the show’s original “low-talker,” actress Wendel Meldrum was there to interview players after the game.
“Seinfeld night was great besides the OT loss,” said Kellen, in a Facebook message to me. “My whole family is big Seinfeld fans so it was tough to pick a name. Unfortunately we didn’t get to meet Kramer.”
The broadcast play-by-play team used those names to call the game. Seinfeld, Keith Hernandez, David Puddy, Newman, Kramer, Elaine and The Wiz were all represented.
The Condors also hosted a “shoot the marble rye” contest during one intermission, replacing the puck in a game of “shoot the puck” with — you guessed it — rye bread. There was even an Elaine dance-off.
This promotion was nothing new for the Condors. In March, 2011, the Condors held “Charlie Sheen Night” which garnered national media attention as one of the best promotions in minor league sports history.
The night, based on the antics of the Two and A Half Men star, offered fans free admission with proof of a clean drug test, Tiger Blood Margaritas, Charlie Sheen heads on sticks, and if anyone had the money, they could buy the team for $2 million outright. That was Sheen’s annual salary for the show he was eventually fired from.
The Condors held Field Trip Day Thursday morning and drew 8,209 fans, mostly rowdy students, in a 3-2 los to the Stockton Thunder.
Kellen scored his third of the season, from Connor (named second star). The 24-year-old twins have a dozen points apiece, one back of team-leader Josh Winquist, a former Everett Silvertip.
“We’ve had a few linemates but recently we were put with Brendan Brooks who we signed a few days ago,” said Connor. “Hockey is going well; a lot of good players. Me and Kel are living together so yes, it’s been a good time. We have lots of time on our hands compared to being at school.”
Brooks is a 35-year-old veteran who spent the last five years playing in Europe.
Said Kellen, an Edmonton Oiler draft: “We’’re living in a really nice place, just the two of us so it gets pretty quiet. Con likes to keep the place clean (he may have OCD). Hope all is well. Tell everyone around there we say hi.”
Connor’s Whatley dentist jersey is available for bidding on EBay.
The Condors were third in the Western Conference heading into weekend play. Bakersfield is a city of 350,000, two hours north of Los Angeles.
Ty Rimmer, 22, who played 159 WHL games with Tri-City, Prince George and Lethbridge, is the Condors’ No. 1 goaltender.
The Jones boosted Vernon to the 2010 Royal Bank title in Dauphin, Man. A few other Vipers from that team are in the ECHL.
Braden Pimm is with the South Carolina Stingrays and has two assists in eight games, while Cory Kane has played six games with the Stingrays and another six with the AHL Providence Bruins.
Sahir Gill is skating with the ECHL Wheeling Nailers, where he had 2-7-9.
D-man Garrett Noonan is in the AHL with the Milwaukee Admirals (2-4-6 through 11 games). Blueliner Steve Weinstein rang up 39 points with the NCAA Bentley Falcons last year and has nine points this year, while Dylan Walchuk is on the University of Calgary Dinos’ roster, and has 3-5-8.
The Vipers are selling their Honour The Troops camouflage jerseys on their website. Deadline is Dec. 1.