The ECHL's Bakersfield Condors believe they've identified the next big thing on ice - even though he's only 5-foot-7, and probably wouldn't list hockey as his No. 1 passion.
World renowned recording artist and big-time hockey fan Justin Bieber has been offered an amateur tryout contract by the Condors. While Bieber has yet to comment on the proposal, it may be hard to envision the teenage multi-millionaire cancelling the remainder of his very long North American Tour in order to make somewhere between $2,500 and $3,000 a month toiling in the minor hockey ranks - even with free room and board provided.
That hasn't deterred the Condors, who are coming off a dismal 2011-12 campaign that saw them finish with just 55 points, second-fewest in the league. While the team struggled at both ends of the ice, offense was a particular concern as the club finished 16th in the 20-team league in goals.
Enter the Biebs, who, we imagine, amazed Bakersfield officials into virtual incoherence with a sensational workout with the Toronto Maple Leafs not long ago:
In the club's somewhat tongue-in-cheek release, Bakersfield head coach and director of hockey operations Matt O'Dette identifies Bieber as a guy who can help his club in several facets:
“Very rarely do you see this combination of skill and toughness. 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 release goes on to praise Bieber's "soft hands, good skating stride and ... devastating wrist shot capable of beating NHL caliber goaltenders." He was also credited for his "sick flow" - which, as any hockey fan knows, is an absolute must in the minors.
While Bieber boasts some impressive statistics in his non-hockey activities, it's hard to say how he would fare in a league where this sort of thing is commonplace:
Nevertheless, the Condors are promising to give Bieber his cherished No. 6 jersey and would likely allow him to take his own personal transportation rather than ride on the team bus.
It shouldn't surprise anyone that the Condors are looking to drum up interest in the club through a wacky promotion. The Gwinnett Gladiators signed former major-league pitcher Tom Glavine - a Los Angeles Kings draft pick - to an honorary contract back in 2010, while Manon Rheaume - the first woman to suit up for an NHL team when she appeared in an exhibition game with Tampa Bay in 1992 - spent time in the league.
It's highly unlikely that Bieber will line up for the Condors when their season begins Oct. 12 in San Francisco - but in the words of the Biebs himself, never say never.