By Jason Lockhart
Last week, Bulls players were out on the town in San Francisco to help promote the January 31 Thirsty Thursday game in the most logical way—by hitting up local bars. Scott Langdon, Dylan King, Jordan Clendenning and Kris Belan socialized with San Francisco residents, sharing their stories and a few pints, while handing out promotional items and tickets. The players were well received at their stops at Park 77, Horseshoe Tavern and Monaghan’s.
“I don’t think there is a better place to play in this league than San Francisco,” said Clendenning. “You hop on the train and in a few minutes you’re downtown in one of the greatest cities in the world. Plus, the people here are so friendly.”
With 12-ounce domestic draft beers half price at the Cow Palace for the Bulls’ Thirsty Thursday game against the Ontario Reign, and beer on the mind, we asked some of the Bulls players to talk about their favorite watering holes in their hometowns, North of the Border, in Canada.
Bulls players come from big and small cities. The player from the biggest city is defenseman Simon Danis-Pepin. He hails from the metropolis of Montreal in the province of Quebec. While Montreal is known for its lavish pubs and fancy nightclubs, Simon favors an establishment that is off-the beaten path a bit, Chez Roger.
“It’s an old-school dive bar,” admits Simon. “It has a great selection of larger bottles of beer. There’s a nice terrace to go out to in the summer and most importantly, I can walk home. Oh, and it has a sick jukebox.”
Some players prefer a bar with some more pizazz. Jordan Morrison, who grew up outside of Toronto is a fan of the legendary Real Sports Bar & Grill, located across the street from the Air Canada Centre, home of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“Any sports night you’ve got a big crowd, whether it’s the Leafs, the Raptors or the Blue Jays,” said Jordan. “It’s one of the biggest sports bars in Canada. I just love the atmosphere.”
Not just big cities have their go-to places, bars in smaller locations know how to keep their patrons coming back again and again. Goaltender Bryan Hince, who lives in Stratford, Ontario, between the cities of Kitchener and London discusses his favorite bar, the Pour House, that brings in a wide variety of customers.
“I think I like the Pour House the best because of where it’s located,” said Bryan. “It’s right across the street from the Festival Theatre. You get people from all over Canada and the United States stopping in at the bar following shows. It also helps that it serves great poutine (a Canadian staple) and has 90 beers on tap.”
Forward Jordan Clendenning prefers a more Irish feel to his watering holes. His favorite hangout in Fredericton, New Brunswick, an hour ahead of the East Coast of the United States, is Dolan’s.
“The best part about Dolan’s is the live music,” said Jordan. “The maritime provinces in Canada are known for their great live music. There’s a big patio, has big pitchers of beer and it’s right downtown. There’s always a good crowd.”
While most people go to bars to whoop it up a little, forward Kris Belan’s favorite night of the year to go out to his favorite spot, The Squire, in Petrolia, Ontario, is on Christmas Eve.
“It’s former NHLer Dale Hunter’s home bar,” said Kris. “It’s a hole-in-the-wall but the whole town goes there on Christmas. There’s even a guy in there playing bagpipes. The owner, Ozzie, will stand up and make a toast and get everyone going.”
Whether you’re into crowded bars or more subdued wine bars, San Francisco certainly has that and much more. But for the last time this season, we hope the Cow Palace on Thursday, January 31 becomes your favorite watering hole. Come on down for half off beers domestic draft beers, some hockey and good times. We know you won’t regret it.
Individual tickets are now on sale. 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, 83 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/