San Francisco, Calif. – The San Francisco Bulls Professional Hockey Team, proud affiliate of the San Jose Sharks announced today the signing of left wing Hans Benson and center Justin Bowers. Benson hails from nearby Menlo Park, California, while Bowers is from Halifax, Nova Scotia.
“We’re excited to add two more forwards to our offensive core,” said SF Bulls President and Head Coach Pat Curcio. “Justin has been a prolific scorer at this level, and we expect him to be a big contributor on the scoresheet. Hans brings a physical presence to the team that is just as invaluable. He is a winner at this level and a great leader in the locker room. It’s also a bonus that he’s from Northern California and knows the area well.”
Benson, 28, enters his ninth season of professional hockey, most recently playing for Bakersfield of the ECHL last season, where he ranked second on the team in penalty minutes with 144 in 58 games. Benson has skated in 105 American Hockey League (AHL) games with Peoria, Springfield and Portland, totaling eight points (3 goals, 5 assists) and 452 penalty minutes. The 6-foot, 200-pound, power forward ranked first on Peoria of the AHL in penalty minutes in 2007-08 with 265 in 44 games. He captured a Kelly Cup Championship with Cincinnati of the ECHL in 2009-10, leading the team in penalty minutes with 154. Benson has played in 138 games in ECHL for Alaska, Cincinnati and Bakersfield. He has also skated in 173 games in the Central Hockey League (CHL) for Laredo.
“It’s a huge honor to play for the San Francisco Bulls, having grown up in the Bay Area,” said Benson. “There’s no better timing for the city, the team and myself. It’s going to be a big responsibility to make hockey thrive in this city. It’s exactly what the city deserves. I’ve seen hockey grow here and now it’s good to see it flourishing.”
Bowers, 27, brings his high scoring to San Francisco after leading Greenville of the ECHL last season in assists (59) and points (78). His 78 points placed him third in the ECHL. Starting his fifth year pro, Bowers also helped lead Allen in its first year in the CHL to the Finals, finishing second on the team in scoring with 73 points and first in assists with 50 in 49 games regular season contests. His 30 points (12 goals, 18 assists) in 20 playoff contests ranked first in the league. In 157 career ECHL games with Dayton and Greenville, Bowers has compiled 175 points (50 goals, 125 assists). He has also registered 19 points (9 goals, 10 assists) in 57 AHL games with Lake Erie, Quad City, Abbotsford, Portland and Milwaukee.
“Talking to Pat, this seems like a good opportunity for me,” said Bowers. “I’m looking forward to a fresh start. It will be my first time playing on the West Coast, and I’ve heard great things about San Francisco. There are lots of positives for me coming to the Bulls.”
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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 October 12. The Bulls are the ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. 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. The ECHL’s Western Conference includes the following member teams and their NHL affiliates: Colorado Eagles (Winnipeg Jets), Idaho Steelheads (Dallas Stars), Utah Grizzlies (Calgary Flames), Ontario Reign (Los Angeles Kings), Stockton Thunder (Edmonton Oilers), Alaska Aces, Bakersfield Condors and Las Vegas Wranglers. For more information about The San Francisco Bulls, including Season Ticket opportunities and corporate partnerships, please visit http://sfbulls.com or call 415-469-9843.
SF Bulls season tickets start as low as $12.50 a seat and include the first four games of the Kelly Cup Playoffs, savings on parking and special invitations to “Meet The Team” and Chalk Talk Events. Click here to find out more or call 415-469-9843.
About the ECHL:
The ECHL began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states. Today, the league has 23 teams in 16 states. The ECHL celebrates 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. The ECHL has had 234 players reach the NHL over the last seven seasons. It’s the primary developmental league for the NHL and the AHL. On opening day of the 2011-12 season, 83 former ECHL players were on NHL rosters. The ECHL teams are divided into the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference. The Western Conference includes the Alaska Aces, Bakersfield Condors, Colorado Eagles, Idaho Steelheads, Las Vegas Wranglers, Stockton Thunder, Ontario Reign, Utah Grizzlies and now the San Francisco Bulls. All teams play a 72-game schedule. For more information please visit http://www.echl.com/