SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – The San Francisco Bulls Professional Hockey Team announced today they have renewed their affiliation with the NHL’s San Jose Sharks and AHL’s Worcester Sharks. The Bulls will continue to serve as the Sharks’ exclusive ECHL developmental team.
“We’re very excited to continue and further grow our partnership with the San Jose Sharks,” said SF Bulls President and Head Coach Pat Curcio. “We can’t thank Doug Wilson, Wayne Thomas, Joe Will and John Tortora enough for their support. Our first season created a mutually beneficial relationship. The Sharks provided us with high-quality players, who helped contribute to our team’s appearance in the playoffs. We are excited about the opportunity to develop Sharks prospects while putting a winning product on the ice. We also believe that our affiliation with the Sharks not only gives us quality prospects, it gives us an instant identity in a very large market, and we are very grateful to them for that.”
“We had an extremely positive relationship with the Bulls last season as a development vehicle for players within our system and we look forward to continuing that agreement,” said Sharks GM Doug Wilson.
In 2012-13, the Sharks provided seven players to the Bulls, including goaltenders Thomas Heemskerk and Taylor Nelson, defenseman Mikael Tam, and forwards Marek Viedensky, Daniil Tarasov, Yanni Gourde and Tommy Grant. Since the end of the 2012-13 season, Tarasov signed a two-year NHL contract with San Jose.
“San Francisco provides a terrific option for us to place players in a situation where they can further develop themselves as hockey players,” said Sharks Assistant GM Joe Will. “Bulls Head Coach Pat Curcio and his staff do a great job preparing the players to succeed and Daniil is a perfect example of that. He worked hard in San Francisco and Worcester and earned an NHL contract on the merit of his play.”
The Sharks and Bulls share a common history, having both begun their playing histories at the legendary Cow Palace. The Sharks played their first two seasons (1991-92 and 1992-93) at the Cow Palace before moving to their current location in San Jose.
“It’s important for us as an organization to help grow the game of hockey at all levels in the Bay Area and the Bulls have done a great job putting a quality product on the ice,” said Sharks Chief Operating Officer John Tortora. “The Sharks Bay Area journey began in the San Francisco area and this is another opportunity for us to connect and engage with our many fans and supporters in the North Bay, which is home to more than 15% of our season ticket base.”
The San Jose Sharks have been one of the most successful franchises in their first 21 seasons in the NHL. The Sharks captured the Pacific Division title six times in the last 11 seasons. In addition, they reached the Western Conference finals three times, including two out of the last four seasons. The Sharks have been in the Stanley Cup Playoffs the last nine seasons, and 14 out of the past 15 campaigns.
The Worcester Sharks, who play in Worcester, Massachusetts, have been owned and operated by the San Jose Sports & Entertainment Enterprises since their founding in 2006. The Worcester Sharks captured the Atlantic Division title in 2009-10.
There has been a rich tradition of future NHL players beginning their careers in the ECHL. The ECHL has served as a developmental league to the NHL and AHL since its inception in 1988-89. During the 2013-14 season, the league will be celebrating 26 years in existence.
Over the last eight seasons, the ECHL has had 256 of their players reach the NHL. On opening day of the 2013-14 season, 87 former ECHL players were on NHL rosters. ECHL teams have affiliations with 24 of the 30 NHL teams, marking the 16th consecutive season that the league affiliated with at least 20 teams in the NHL.
Bulls 2013-14 Season Tickets are on sale now. Catch Bulls action all season long and earn great benefits. Click here to find out more information, including 60 ways to use your season tickets. Mini Plans are also on sale now. Call the Bulls office at 855-SF-BULLS to speak to a representative.
The Bulls announced their 2013-14 season schedule, including key promotional dates. Click here for the complete schedule.
About the ECHL
The ECHL began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states. Today, the league has 22 teams in 15 states. The ECHL celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 2012-13 and is the third-longest tenured professional hockey league behind only the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League. A total of 256 players from the ECHL have made it to the NHL over the last eight seasons. The ECHL is the primary developmental league for the NHL and the AHL. On opening day of the 2012-13 season, 87 former ECHL players were on NHL rosters. The ECHL teams are divided into the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference. All teams play a 72-game schedule. For more information please visit http://www.echl.com/