Wednesday, Jul 03 2013 07:33 PM

New Condors coach has plenty on plate

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    Troy Mann

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BY MIKE GRIFFITH Californian staff writer

It's been a busy two weeks for new Condors head coach Troy Mann, who has been working in his new role three time zones away.

"Extremely hectic," said Mann, reached by phone at his home in Harrisburg, Pa., when asked how his first couple of weeks have gone. "The first week was pretty much getting acquainted with returning players and making decisions with J.O (general manager John Olver) on the qualifying list.

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The ECHL announced Wednesday that Kevin Bartl and Ryan Holt of the Bakersfield Condors are the 2012-13 recipients of the Award of Excellence for Media Relations, as determined in voting by members of the media.

Bartl completed his 10th season with the Condors in 2012-13 and oversees the communications department. The Rochester, N.Y., native first served as director of broadcasting and media relations with the Condors from 2001-05. He then spent two seasons in the American Hockey League with Lowell (Mass.) as director of media and team services prior to returning to Bakersfield.

Holt completed his second season with the Condors in 2012-13 as the media relations and broadcasting manager. His primary duties include assisting with all matters of the media relations department including providing written and video content for website, social media and game-night materials.

Holt is the play-by-play voice on all 72 Condors game on radio, TV, and internet.

"I also spent a significant amount of time talking to NHL teams trying to align an affiliation. I went to the draft (in New Jersey on Sunday) and talked with some teams and have continued that process this week. I've had some positive feedback, but no guarantees."

Toss in recruiting, looking for a house in Bakersfield with the help of long-time pal Paul Willet, setting a moving schedule and taking care of family responsibilities, and Mann has had a full two weeks.

And it's not going to slow down any time soon. That point was driven home early in Wednesday's phone conversation.

"Can I call you right back, I have an agent calling me; I've been trying to get hold of this guy for two days," Mann said.

Later, Mann said at one point Tuesday he had left 19 straight messages for players or agents.

"It's the nature of the beast," he said.

The Condors made qualifying offers (the last in a three-step process by which ECHL clubs can retain rights of players who skated with the team the previous season) to eight players -- goaltenders Scott Greenham and Brian Stewart, defenseman Erik Burgdoerfer and forwards Scott Freeman, Brett Lyon, Brett Perlini, Nicholas Tremblay and Francis Verreault.

Mann, an assistant coach for the Hershey Bears in the American Hockey League the past four seasons, was familiar with more than half of the players, including both goaltenders. Greenham was with Hershey (Pa.) at the end of the season in 2012 as was Verreault. Tremblay had a few games in the AHL the past two seasons and Mann said the Bears almost called up Burgdoerfer late last season.

The list does not mean all those players will be back -- Stewart has signed to play in England -- but by making a qualifying offer it means the Condors have the ECHL rights to those players this season.

Although the team has not made an official announcement, the Condors do have at least one player under contract -- forward Mike Hellyer, who was rookie of the year in the Central Hockey League last season as he put up 61 points in 63 games for the Quad City (Iowa) Mallards. The transaction was noted on

"When I met with JO (a few days before being hired), he said he was working on a kid from the Central (hockey) league," Mann said. "I talked to a couple of coaches I know in the Central league and they said good things about him."

Mann arrives in Bakersfield next week to settle into his office, secure a home and continue preparations for his first head coaching job since the 2007-08 season.

"This time of the year is for trying to build some depth, find out who the top (available) players are and be in contact with them or their agents and maybe pick up a veteran or two," Mann said, noting many players don't want to commit early. "You just have to keep pounding the phones and realize the best players that are probably going to help you win are not signing until late August or September and many will wait until after AHL camps open."

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