San Francisco, Calif. – The San Francisco Bulls Professional Hockey Team announced today they have been named the ECHL affiliate of the San Jose Sharks. The Bulls have also been named the ECHL affiliate of the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Worcester Sharks. The Bulls will serve as the primary ECHL developmental team for the San Jose and Worcester Sharks.
“Today is a landmark day in SF Bulls history,” said Bulls President and Head Coach Pat Curcio. “To become affiliated with the San Jose Sharks is a goal we’ve had since we founded the team last year. We look forward to developing young prospects in the San Jose Sharks system that will ultimately make an impact in the AHL and NHL in the near future. Our ultimate goal is to help the Sharks win a championship.”
The Sharks and Bulls share a common history, 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. The Bulls begin their first season on Oct. 12, 2012 at the Cow Palace.
“We are very excited to add the San Francisco Bulls as our ECHL development affiliate,” said San Jose Sharks Vice President and Assistant General Manager Wayne Thomas. “Our organizations share the same passion to put a strong, competitive product on the ice, as well as being an active member in our shared Bay Area communities. Having our prospects develop in close proximity to our club in San Jose while playing for a first-class organization will serve them well moving forward in their professional careers.”
The San Jose Sharks have been one of the most successful NHL franchises in their first 21 seasons in the league. The Sharks have captured the Pacific Division title six times in the last 10 seasons. They have reached the Western Conference finals three times, including two out of the last three seasons. The Sharks have been in the Stanley Cup Playoffs the last eight seasons, and 13 out of the past 14 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. The league will be celebrating 25 years during the Bulls’ inaugural 2012-13 season.
Over the last seven seasons, the ECHL has had 234 of their players reach the NHL. On opening day of the 2011-12 season, 83 former ECHL players were on NHL rosters. ECHL teams have affiliations with 26 of the 30 NHL teams, marking the 15th consecutive season that the league had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL.
The ECHL has affiliations with 24 of the 30 teams in the American Hockey League in 2011-12 and for the past 22 years there has been an ECHL player on the Calder Cup Champion. In the last seven seasons the ECHL has had more call-ups to the AHL than all other professional leagues combined with over 3,500 call-ups involving more than 1,800 players and in 2011-12 there were 10 times as many call-ups from the ECHL to the AHL than all other professional leagues.
Sharks fans, be the first to experience SF Bulls Hockey live, when the Bulls host an exhibition game against the Stockton Thunder on Wednesday, Oct. 3 at 7:15 pm at the Cow Palace. The first 1,000 fans to sign up receive TWO (2) COMPLIMENTARY ticket to the game simply by filling out the following form.
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About the San Francisco Bulls
The San Francisco Bulls Professional Hockey Team will officially take the ice as an expansion team of the ECHL on Saturday, Oct. 12. The Bulls are part of the Western Conference of the ECHL and will play a 72 game schedule with 36 home games to take place at the legendary Cow Palace. For more information about The San Francisco Bulls, including Season Ticket opportunities and corporate partnerships, please visit http://sfbulls.com or call 855-SF-BULLS (855-732-8557).
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