In January of 2014, the Edmonton Oilers acquired the Bakersfield Condors of the ECHL to add an important piece to the organization’s player development system. An important part of that sale and the success of the Condors is Team President Matthew Riley.
Under Riley’s guidance, the Condors have become one of the premier organizations in the ECHL. It was no surprise that the Board of Governors named Riley the 2014 ECHL Executive of the Year.
|Photo by Bakersfield Condors |
"I'm grateful to everyone involved, past and present, with the Bakersfield Condors organization, that I receive an award on their behalf," Riley said. "This award is a symbol of all the hard work and passion that our staff and fans put in this year. We're thankful for the guidance, leadership and support from our new owners, the Edmonton Oilers, and from the other member teams of the ECHL."
Riley becomes just the second executive to win the award twice since it was introduced in 1995. He received the honour in 2007 in addition to this year. This is the 13th ECHL award given to the Condors organization, the most of any team in the league.
BUILDING THE BUSINESS
Riley joined the organization in late 1997 (previously named the Bakersfield Fog). When he took over the team in 1998, the Condors were named the West Coast Hockey League Organization of the Year. He eventually helped oversee the transition from the WCHL to the ECHL. He was named president of the Condors in 2001.
His business acumen has allowed Bakersfield to increase their box office sales by over 6% in 2013-14. The team set a new record for group ticket revenue.
The organization’s promotional and entertainment antics are well known in the sports community. From having a live condor on the ice during the National Anthem to their Civil War jerseys that went viral and even ‘Undie Sunday’, the Condors are nearly always in the news in the sports world.
Bakersfield’s community efforts have also been outstanding under Riley. Bakersfield raised over $350,000 in cash and goods for non-profits this season, increasing their all-time donation total to over $4.6 million.
When the Oilers purchased the Condors from their previous owner Jonathan Fleisig, they were adding an excellent executive to their growing business.
"On behalf of our entire organization, I congratulate Matt Riley on being named ECHL Executive of the Year," Said Oilers Entertainment Group President & COO Patrick LaForge. "These awards are the culmination of a lot of hard work, effort and good planning from everyone in the organization, but guided by the good judgment and leadership of the person running the Team. We have known for some time that Matt Riley is a top quality hockey executive and we are so pleased by his award."
With the Condors now under the watchful eye of the Oilers, the team has added resources and support to help secure the long-term stability of the organization. In addition to securing the affiliation and sale of the team to the Oilers, Riley helped allocate more resources to the hockey operations department.
That contribution to hockey operations helped lead the Condors to the Conference Finals for the first time in their history. They lost to the eventual Kelly Cup Champion Alaska Aces in the Western Conference Finals.
This transition of ownership will give the Condors a much deeper pool of player talent and the guidance and assistance of the Oilers business team. Bakersfield continues their march to bigger and better things and Riley is a big part of that.