Tonight’s 2011 ECHL Allstar Game in Bakersfield marred by Anti-Semitism lawsuit levied against Bakersfield Condors by former player

By Jon Swenson - Last updated: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment


2011 ECHL Allstar Game in Bakersfield marred KHL
2011 ECHL ALLSTAR GAME IN BAKERFIELD MARRED BY DISCRIMINATION LAWSUIT


The fourth ECHL Allstar Game to be hosted in California in the last 6 years was marred by the recent filing of a discrimination suit against the Anaheim Ducks by former draft pick and Bakersfield Condors player Jason Bailey. According to a lawsuit filed at the Orange County Superior Court one day before the ECHL Allstar Game tonight in Bakersfield, Jason Bailey alleged mistreatment regarding his Jewish background by Condors head coach Martin Raymond and former assistant coach Mark Pederson. In the complaint, Bailey alleges he was subject to “a barrage of anti-Semitic, offensive and degrading verbal attacks regarding his Jewish faith” from Raymond and Pederson according to a report by CNN.

The 23-year old right wing played 35 games for the Bakersfield Condors in the 2008-09 season, registering only 2 assists. He was called up to Anaheim’s AHL affiliate in Iowa for 2 games. According to the complaint, Bailey believed his ice time and the resources available to him in Bakersfield and Iowa were negatively affected because of his Jewish background. Bailey also alleges attempts to address the situation within the Anaheim Ducks organization were unsuccessful, and that letters of apology written by Raymond and Pederson were not sincere.

According to Bakersfield Now, Martin Raymond was suspended by the team for one week in 2009, and Mark Pederson for two. Martin Raymond was an assistant coach with Bakersfield, before becoming head coach for the next 7 seasons from 2003 to 2010. He remains head coach of the team. Mark Pederson played parts of 7 seasons with the Montreal Canadiens, Philadelphia Flyers, San Jose Sharks and Detroit Red Wings, before becoming an assistant coach with Bakersfield. He left the ECHL to coach the Tilburg Trappers in the Netherlands last season.

The Bakersfield Condors, 120+ miles from Anaheim’s home rink in Southern California, became the Ducks ECHL affiliate in 2008-09 and 2009-10. That affiliation ceased this season. The Ducks attempted to send Bailey to the Central Hockey League after his lone season in Bakersfield, before eventually trading him to the Binghamton Senators, an AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators franchise.

According to TMZ.com, Jason Bailey alleges the the Ducks were “happy to be rid of him” when he was traded after the 2008-09 season.

The filing of the lawsuit comes at the worst possible time for the Bakersfield Condors and the ECHL. The 2011 ECHL Allstar Classic and Skills Competition is scheduled to begin tonight at 6:30PM (PT). The event is designed as a showcase for the best players in the ECHL, the ‘AA’ league for professional hockey in North America. Formerly known as the “East Coast Hockey League”, the ECHL’s Pacific Division hosts three California based teams (Stockton Thunder, Ontario Reign, Bakersfield Condors), each known for strong attendance, their involvement in the community, and for the affordable entertainment they bring on and off the ice.

As someone who has interacted with the Anaheim Ducks and their prospects (on a peripheral level) at numerous rookie tournaments and rookie exhibition games and practices, the allegations come as a shock. The drafted and developed prospects within the organization, and the young tryouts just looking to make an impression, were never treated anything but professionally in front of this blog’s purview. With long road trips and small pay checks, minor league hockey often embraces its road warrior culture and aesthetic. That being said, many of the young players and coach’s plying their trade in California still exhibit the respect and values of small town Canada. This lawsuit, and the allegations and comments contained within, could not be more of an anomaly.

[Update] Report: Jason Bailey suing Ducks for coaches’ alleged anti-Semitism – Yahoo Puck Daddy.

According to (Bakersfield Condors team president Matt) Riley, in this case, the suspension was the right thing. “It’s probably unheard of, or extremely rare that coaches are suspended during a season by their own organization and so we took a lot of risk doing that,” Riley said of the disciplinary action. “But we felt it was the right thing to do and regardless of the consequences you need to do the right thing.”

[Update2] Condors will be seeing stars tonight – Bakersfield Californian.

[Update3] All-Stars, TV Stars, Local Stars, and Cereal Bowls – the All-Star Classic is here! – BakersfieldCondors.com.

The ECHL All-Star Classic is scheduled to start at 7:00 pm., doors will be open at 5:30 p.m. The first 2,000 kids age 12 and under wil l receive All-Star Cereal Bowls. All fans in attendance will also get Condors All-Star Posters, and everyone also receives a free All-Star Game Program.

The Skills Competition is presented by CCM and Mercy and Memorial Hospitals. Players will take the ice at 6:05 p.m, and the Skills Competition will begin at 6:15 p.m. During pregame, the players will take part in the Fastest Skater, Accuracy Shooting, and King of the Shootout. The Hardest Shot competition will be held during the first intermission.

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