Cranbrook’s Ben Betker is climbing the pro hockey ladder.
The 21-year-old defenceman was summoned by the Bakersfield Condors of the American Hockey League (AHL) after starting the 2015-16 season with the ECHL’s Norfolk Admirals.
Betker, a 2013 sixth-round pick (158th overall) of the Edmonton Oilers, is in his first year of professional hockey after graduating from the Western Hockey League ranks with the Everett Silvertips.
Opening the campaign with the Admirals, Betker registered one goal and 14 points in 39 games.
With the Condors, Betker is now one step closer to the National Hockey League as Bakersfield is the direct affiliate of the Oilers.
According to Ryan Holt, broadcaster with the Condors, the team was carrying six healthy defenceman prior to the recall of Betker.
The 6-foot-6, 228-pound Betker is expected to don sweater No. 39 when he suits up for Bakersfield.
The Condors (14-13-2-2) sit sixth in the AHL’s seven-team Pacific Division. The Oilers’ affiliate is in action this weekend, hosting the Texas Stars (19-14-3-3) Friday before visiting the Ontario Reign (19-9-2-1) Saturday night.
Betker joins a handful of Oilers prospects WHL fans may be familiar with.
Goalies Eetu Laurikainen (Swift Current Broncos) and Laurent Brossoit (Edmonton Oil Kings), defencemen Griffin Reinhart (Oil Kings), David Musil (Vancouver Giants) and Martin Gernat (Giants), forwards Braden Christoffer (Regina Pats), Kale Kessy (Medicine Hat Tigers, Giants, Kamloops Blazers), Jujhar Khaira (Everett Silvertips), Mitch Moroz (Oil Kings), Tyler Pitlick (Tigers) and Joshua Winquist (Silvertips) all had successful WHL careers prior to graduating to the pro ranks.
The Condors play out of the Rabobank Arena, located in Bakersfield, Calif., a city of approximately 363,000 people located approximately 190 km north of Los Angeles.