BY MIKE GRIFFITH Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
While the search for a new coach is taking place nearly 1,800 miles away in Edmonton, Alberta, the Bakersfield Condors announced their first two signings -- forward Chase Schaber and defenseman Nick Pageau -- during a public sendoff for former coach Troy Mann on Thursday at Rabobank Arena.
Schaber and Pageau are among a handful of players that Mann, named head coach of the Hershey Bears in early July, signed before getting the Hershey job.
"We signed five or six guys before the July 1 deadline," Mann said. "And I know from talking with Edmonton before I got the Hershey job, that they want to send seven or eight guys here so the organization is in good shape."
Schaber, 23, tied for third in scoring for the Condors with 44 points (18 goals, 26 assists) in 64 games. He was fourth in playoff scoring with 10 points in 16 games.
"I think the biggest thing is everyone in the organization is treated professionally and on board which is huge for preparing for the next level," Schaber said in a release. "It's a great place to play and I grew to like the city more and more, especially the further we went. One memory that sticks out is when we went on the hot streak just after Christmas and realized that we could be one of the top teams in the league. I want to take the next step this season."
Pageau, 26, had his rookie season cut short when he suffered season-ending facial injuries after being struck by a puck on Jan. 10 in Ontario. He had seven points in 23 games at that time and will be considered a rookie this season because he played in fewer than 25 games.
"I really enjoyed the group we had last year and we should have a good amount of returning players which should make for another good year," Pageau said. "I'm feeling really good, have been skating once a week and working out four times a week with my trainer in town. It's been since January 10 since I've played in a competitive game, so I'm really looking forward to doing that again."
As for a new coach, Condors president Matthew Riley said that is being handled by the Oilers in Edmonton.
"We should have a new coach in the next couple of weeks," Riley said. "It's an attractive position, (the Oilers are) interviewing this week and should have a short list in the next week or so and then finalize something in the next couple of weeks."