On December 19, 2015, the Bakersfield Condors and the Stockton Heat collided outdoors in West Sacramento, California at Raley Field. Stockton ended up sliding by with a 3-2 win in the “Golden State Hockey Rush.” Current Norfolk Admiral, Ty Rimmer, who was on recall to AHL Bakersfield at the time, had the opportunity to back up Condors starter Ben Scrivens before Edmonton dealt him to the Montreal Canadiens.
This was Rimmer’s first outdoor game and he described his experience, “It was very cool. It’s pretty crazy playing outside in California. The amount of preparation that goes into that is pretty unreal. They put on a great event for us. It kind of takes you back to your roots. We all started playing the game outside back in Canada.”
The outdoor game was originally slated for Friday December 18, but was moved to Saturday because of rain. “We actually got rained out on Friday night. It was pouring so we sat in our equipment for four hours waiting for the verdict. We ended up playing the next day. I think everyone was itching to get out there. Once we finally did, it was a good game. It was fast paced and I think both teams put on a good show,” said Rimmer.
Playing outside presents it’s own challenges to a player, but being a goalie and playing outdoors and trying to track the puck while the sun glistens off the ice is a task within itself. The 23-year-old out of Edmonton, Alberta shared, “It was difficult for sure. There was a big glare from the sun, even if the sun is not directly out it’s still hitting the ice and kind of shining off your cage. You’re trying to see the puck with your eyes half open. It was definitely an adjustment, but a very cool experience.”
While Rimmer didn’t start, he backed up former Maple Leaf Ben Scrivens. During his time with Bakersfield and before Scrivens trade, Rimmer tried to learn as much as he could from the veteran netminder. “Scrivs has been around awhile. Whenever you play with a guy like that you just want to learn as much as you can. Kind of watch his habits and stuff like that. Talk to him and learn from him. We had a good relationship while I was there,” said Rimmer.
While California is not considered a hockey hotbed, it’s growth has to be noticed and the Golden State Hockey Rush certainly helped grow the game in the Golden State. According to Rimmer, “Hockey has been growing in California for awhile now. I played there last year for half the season. We got great support everywhere we went throughout the state and I can’t say enough good things about the fans in Bakersfield.”
So while Rimmer didn’t get the opportunity to turn aside any pucks in the outdoor game being on the roster for a piece of hockey history was definitely a highlight in his career.