The ECHL's Bakersfield Condors made a splash today by offering Justin Bieber an amateur tryout contract today, and caught the hockey and music worlds off-guard with this offer. Again, this will do more for the Condors in terms of publicity than anything else they do this season, but check out the write-up they added on the "news" story.
They have Justin Bieber listed as a right-winger. I've scoured the internet for hockey cards of Bieber as a youngster, and I can find none that have him listed as a right-winger. Clearly, Head Coach/Director of Hockey Operations Matt O'Dette has done his homework in scouting Justin Bieber. His comments on the Condors' website suggest that he's been watching Bieber's game for a while.
“Very rarely do you see this combination of skill and toughness,” said O’Dette. “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.”
linked to Bieber's career statistics on their story.
Ok, enough with the cotton candy because I'm starting to get sick. Let's call a spade a spade here: Publicity Stunt 101. There's no way that the Bakersfield Condors will ever sign Justin Bieber to play hockey. He's adored and idolized by millions of teen girls, and that kind of popularity, while helpful at the ticket gate and autograph sessions, probably won't sit well with the die-hard hockey fans. And what happens if someone takes a run at Bieber and puts him out with an injury? Yeah, his contract will be pennies compared to the touring monies and appearance fees he'll be missing out on.
Secondly, he's actually a pretty decent hockey player, and he skates well from the videos I've seen. But he's not much of a finisher as Jonas Gustavsson stones him in his session with the Leafs, and I doubt the Condors can afford to carry players who can't finish in a shootout or on a breakaway.
Honestly, though, this was a pretty good marketing idea that cost the Condors nothing except a little time in designing this splash page for their website. Some will rip them for even tossing an offer out there, but they got a ton of free advertising from people like me for doing nothing more than thinking outside the box. And I'm happy for them for getting a ton of free word-of-mouth advertising for their team.
Bieber's not going to play for the Condors this season because it's just a bad idea when it comes to Bieber's career, and the Condors know it. But maybe, just maybe, he'll agree to appear for the Condors once this season.
After all, they can always use a good anthem singer.
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!