Give Matt O’Dette credit. The head coach and director of hockey operations for the Bakersfield (Calif.) Condors, an ECHL team, clearly has his finger on the pulse of pop culture.
As any seasoned minor league sports front office member knows, promotions are a key component of fun — and media attention — at the minor league hockey rink.
And when one of the world’s biggest pop superstars just so happens to be a known hockey player (and a Canadian, to boot), it would be foolish not to attempt to add him to your roster.
That’s precisely what O’Dette did Tuesday when he offered Justin Bieber a tryout contract.
“Very rarely do you see this combination of skill and toughness,” O’Dette told the team’s Web site. “We share a common Canadian heritage since we both hail from Ontario. I’ve scouted some video of him online skating with my hometown team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, and I think he could provide some elusive speed up front for us. Plus, he’s a right-handed shot which we’ve been looking to add. I think if we paired him on a line with (Robby) Dee and (Peter) Boyd we’d be tough to beat.”
The 18-year-old Bieber was born in London, Ontario, and has skated with the Toronto Maple Leafs, but as the Condors point out, he “has never appeared in a professional game.”
“According to scouts, he possesses soft hands, a good skating stride, and a devastating wrist shot capable of beating NHL caliber goaltenders,” the team wrote in its release. “He appears to be strong in shootouts as well.”
While Dee and Boyd may never find themselves paired with Bieber at the top of the Bakersfield attack, O’Dette has nothing to lose here.
Keep in mind, this is the same team that hosted the wildly succesful “Charlie Sheen Night” in March 2011, which awarded free admission to anyone who showed up with a clean drug test and sold Tiger Blood Icees.