A 'grizzled' vet who, just this past winter, was on the verge of retirement, is finding new life with Anaheim, both on the ice and off.
During this morning’s skate around before the evening’s face off against the home team Colorado Avalanche, Anaheim Ducks Radio Commentator Dan Wood noticed an unfamiliar skater on the ice. He asked the other reporters who the new man was, but everyone shrugged their shoulders in the negative.
They determined that the new man was not a rookie at all because he skated freely and always seemed to be in the correct spot when the team practiced plays. He also seemed to be instructing team rookie Sam Poulin.
They would all find out who this new player was.
As usual, soon after the morning’s preparation, Coach David Quinn held his pre-game press conference. As Quinn entered the conference room reporter’s hands went up. They all wanted to know the name of this mystery player.
When Quinn finally stood behind the podium he looked and waived the new player in.
“Gentleman. I would like to introduce you to Erik Condra.”
Condra, the six-foot, 185-pound winger stood in front of the podium and read a prepared statement:
“In the fall I was days away from retiring from the game when I received a phone call from Coach Quinn. We met a week later at my home in Michigan. Coach convinced not to turn in my retirement papers and agree to a one-year contract to play with the San Diego Gulls and work with the young players.
"Coach added, at the end of the season I would be offered a job as Anaheim Duck Player Development Coach. I am glad to be here to get an early start at my new career.”
With that Coach Quinn replaced Condra at the podium to take a few questions. He called on Dan Wood first.
“Coach. First, I would like to say you look different from the last time we saw you. You actually have a smile on your face.”
Even the always serious Quinn had to smile.
Wood continued. “With the Gulls season only half over, why is Erik Condra here so soon?”
“Well Dan. I have a two-part answer and then I am afraid we must leave for the team lunch. First part is Erik was having a great season with Gulls leading them in scoring and deserves the call up. He was paired with Nathan Legare and Coach John Stevens reported that Legare was making great strides because of Erik.
"The two were roommates on away games and their lockers at home were side-by-side. Erik earned one last run at the pro level. He will be paired with Sam Poulin the rest of the season. Both will continue to prepare for their future rolls in the organization.”
Reporter hands immediately raised but Quinn waived them off as Coach and player walked out together.