The weather is getting warmer, the sun stays out longer and I'm enjoying fresh produce at the farmers' markets, sunny hikes and putting together the brand NEW website!
That's right! THE BULLS SHEET is going to be a full website. We'll still have the SF Bulls blog, but we'll also have interviews, stories and lots more photos of the team. Along with the Bulls, we'll be covering all of minor league hockey, including the ECHL, AHL, SPHL, EIHL, CHL, AIHL and others.
We'll release the new website in July, so stick with us! We'll have a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT here, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
And if you haven't added us on Facebook or Twitter, why not?
See you in July!
Sunday, May 26, 2013
For the first time in the team’s history, the Reading Royals won the Kelly Cup last night in Stockton, California against the Stockton Thunder. This was the first Kelly Cup finals series played in California as well.
Reading took control of the game with a goal in the First Period and continued to score, making the total 6-0 against the Thunder.
The Royals won the final series against Stockton 3 games to 1, Stockton winning the third game.
The team under Coach Larry Courville, started the year out slow and not with the best record, but with perseverance, battled through to the playoffs and made it successfully to the end.
Stockton had a similar story, except they managed to come from behind in most of their playoff games, thus earning the nickname “Comeback Kids”. But Reading was too much even for them, and the Pennsylvania crew will have a parade in Downtown Reading Wednesday evening at 6pm.
Royals’ Goalie Riley Gill gets Kelly Cup Playoff MVP of 2013. He had two shutouts in the finals and four shutouts in total; he’s tied for second most in league history.
Both fan bases should feel proud of their team's performances. They are what hockey is all about!
|Game 4 May 24, 2013 (Tasha Hudick)|
Now, for some Bulls Sheet news…..There will be a full website coming this summer! It will cover not only the SF Bulls, of course, but all of minor league hockey! We’ll have interviews, stories, pictures, as well as continue my blog about the Bulls.
It’s going to start small, but will grow with time. The start date is July, so keep reading The Bulls Sheet, I’ll announce it when the start date is closer!
Until then…Hockey Rules!
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
I’m a couple days late with this blog, I know. I’ve been busy getting back into my daily routine of running, cooking from scratch and going to bed early at night. I know, exciting life I lead. But it is exceptionally nice to get back to making most of my food from scratch, including my bread, going out for my 5 am runs and getting the rest I need.
During hockey season, this doesn’t always happen. Sleep is sometimes hard to come by, runs get skipped and the food isn’t always the best. So, I’m enjoying my coconut milk and berry smoothies and my whole wheat bread while I can.
“It’s a long ways to the top if you wanna rock n roll…”
AC/DC blasted this out about the music business, but it’s very fitting for professional hockey. It’s a long, long ways to the top of the Kelly Cup Finals and two teams have made it to the pinnacle. These two teams could not have chosen more different paths.
The Reading Royals was ahead in the Eastern Conference the entire season. They started out strong and stayed that way. The Royals have some big players. They make big plays and big hits. They overtake their opponents and don’t let go.
The Stockton Thunder, on the other hand, was a fairly weak team in the beginning of the season. It wasn’t until the last two months of the regular season when the Thunder grew stronger overtaking teams, winning games when they were losing, earning the nick The Comeback Kids. They aren’t a big team, they’re scrappy and patient. They’re willing to fight it out until they win.
The Finals start Friday in Reading, PA. It is too difficult to say who has the advantage. If Reading scores first, they could muscle Stockton and surge through, over-powering them for the rest of the game. But the Thunder can never, ever be counted out. Just ask Idaho or Alaska. This tenacity is their secret weapon and it serves them well.
The Thunder have never won the Kelly Cup and they’re hungry. The games against the Idaho Steelheads were very close with two going into overtime. The games against Reading will be even more difficult.
This series could go either way. One thing is for sure, it will be exciting, hockey at its finest!
ECHL Hockey rules!!!
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
There are many reasons why hockey is the greatest spectator sport there is. The playoffs is just one of them. I’m writing as a hockey lover and writer. The playoffs are a time for the best to pull every last bit of themselves out and go farther than they think they can. It is a glorious time.
The Semi-Finals brought about so many upsets that it makes one’s head spin to think about it.
Take the Gwinnett Gladiators – Cincinnati Cyclones series. Gwinnett was packed with great players like Casey Pierro-Zabotel, Sacha Guimond and Ryan Giunand. I was sure they would take this series, but I was wrong. The intimidating Cyclones hungry for victory have won the right to move forward. Their roster is all big players, not a one is under five feet, 11 inches. And they are skilled with the likes of Jeff Foss, David Pacan and Matt Smyth.
Idaho Steelheads defeated the Ontario Reign. All season Idaho had never been that far behind Alaska and Ontario in the Western Conference, so it wasn’t out of the question that they could win this series, but with Ontario’s long drought in the Kelly Cup, it would seem to be their time. But not this time. The Steelheads crew, including Rylan Galiardi, David de Kastrozza and Scott Todd were dominant for enough of the series to avail over the Reign. Even Ontario’s superb players Derek Couture, Mario Lamoureux and Chris Carrozzi were not enough to beat Idaho.
In the most surprising contest, Stockton upset favorites Alaska Aces. Even the likes of Aces players Bobby Hughes, Chris Clackson and Gerald Coleman couldn’t stop the “Comeback Kids”, as they’re known as. Anyone who had paid attention to the Thunder’s last month of regular season play knew that this team was capable of coming back and winning nearly any contest. Even a 0-5 deficit couldn’t stop this squad. They kept battling, marching, moving forward until they’d win. As a hockey writer, I find this winning desire incredible and something to emulate. Players like Garet Hunt, Mike Little and Tyler Bunz don’t give up. And they’re not a big team, they’re scrappy and determined.
The most recent series just ended tonight with the Reading Royals closing out the Florida Everblades. I thought Florida might just be able to repeat, but the Royals were too much for them. The Royals toughness stems from players like Mark Owuya, Nikita Kashirsky and Joel Champagne. Florida’s stars Mathieu Roy, Leigh Salters and Brandon MacLean and an additionally played game couldn’t stop Reading.
So, the Final Conference games are:
Reading Royals vs Cincinnati Cyclones – East
Idaho Steelheads vs Stockton Thunder – West
Games start Friday. I won’t begin to guess who I think will win. It really is anybody’s Kelly Cup to win!
I WILL say that all of these games will be fast, exciting hockey and you should try to catch at least one on America One if you can. And by all means, listen to them online!
Minor league hockey rules!
Friday, April 26, 2013
A silly name for this blog, I know, but it’s true. There’s nothing “minor” about minor league hockey. It’s an amazing, exciting and MASSIVE place where, if you’re a hockey fanatic like me, you can spend hours upon hours and not spend your entire paycheck going to one game like you do in that other league.
There are so many individual leagues all around North America, Europe, Asia and yes, Australia & New Zealand, it would be hard to write about all of them, but over the coming weeks and months, The Bulls Sheet will be doing our best to do just that.
Little by little this blog will turn towards not only covering the San Francisco Bulls our first love, but will also write about other teams, games and countries. So, stay tuned for that!
Now, there are some very exciting things happening in the ECHL. The league is right in the middle of the second round of the playoffs and the eight teams playing are so close skill-wise, but it’s getting closer to see who will pull away with wins this time around.
Reading Royals vs Florida Everblades in Florida. Blades are ahead 2-1 games
Gwinnett Gladiators vs Cincinnati Cyclones in Cincinnati. Cyclones are ahead 2-1 games
Ontario Reign vs Idaho Steelheads in Boise. Ontario are ahead 2-1 games
Alaska Aces vs Stockton Thunder. Stockton leads this series 2-1 games
Listening to or watching online any of these battles is a real treat. This is prime hockey, so try and catch a game if you can. I’ll give more of an opinion after the fourth game in all.
This season was a good one for most of the ECHL teams. According to ECHL attendance numbers, many showed an increase over last year. Sure, much of this has to do with the lock out, but also because I think hockey as a sport is on the upswing.
It was a surprise to me that the Fort Wayne Komets has the best attendance numbers. This certainly has nothing to do with the NHL lockout! Fort Wayne is over 200 miles from both Chicago and Columbus. The Komets had crowds all of their first season averaging 7,583 fans. Hockey is GOOD in Indiana!
The Ontario Reign also increased in attendance by 20%, totaling over 1 million fans in five years. People in the Inland Empire know that good hockey is to be had for less than the price of parking at a Kings game.
In fact, all of the new teams had great attendance during their first years. This is a positive sign. The Bulls had eighth highest attendance at 4,164 fans average per game. In a big city with lots of other diversions and ways to spend one’s money, these are excellent numbers.
Not all of the teams did great. The Trenton Titans announced this week they will cease operations in the 2013-2014 season. The team drew just over 3,000 per game and dropped to 2,500 at one point. They’re hoping to come back for the 2014-2015. My best wishes to them, it sucks losing teams.
Las Vegas Wranglers announced Mike Madill as new general manager and head coach. Seeing that they lost to Florida in the finals last year and got bumped by the Stockton Thunder in the first round this season, I guess the owners want to try something new. Madill played for the Wranglers and this is his first professional coaching job. Madill holds the record for all time games played with the Wranglers at 336, scoring 131 points. He was no slouch as a player. Good players don’t always make the best coaches, so I hope this works for the Wranglers.
The spring weather is warming up in most places so go out and enjoy the weather and outside!
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
The Bulls are out of the playoffs, but there are a handful of other teams left fighting for the dwindling spots available.
Here are the results for the Quarterfinal games:
Florida Everblades advance, winning their series over Elmira Jackals 4-2 games
Reading Royals advance, winning their series over Greenville Road Warriors 4-1 games
Cincinnati Cyclones advance, winning their series over Toledo Walleye 4-2 games
Gwinnett Gladiators advance, winning their series over South Carolina Stingrays 4-0 games
Ontario Reign advance, winning their series over Utah Grizzlies 4-0 games
Idaho Steelheads advance, winning their series over Colorado Eagles 4-2 games
Stockton Thunder advance, winning their series over Las Vegas Wranglers 4-3 games
Alaska Aces advance, winning their series over San Francisco Bulls 4-1 games
Most of the wins in the First Round were predictable, but there were a couple surprises. One of them was Stockton’s ability to overtake the Wranglers coming from two games behind and win the series. That was some battle of a First Round for them; one the Thunder fans won’t soon forget.
San Francisco fought hard and surprised Aces fans who may have thought the games would be easy wins.
The Utah Grizzlies battled but in the end were overtaken by the stronger Reign, my favorite to win the west.
Gwinnett swept South Carolina. I expected them to win, but sweeping the Stingrays surprised me a little.
Reading won their series, even with a major change in team ownership and switch over NHL affiliation (they’re now affiliated with the Washington Capitals). I’m impressed with their ability to maintain their focus to get the job done.
Toledo kept up with Cincy as much as they could, but the Cyclones won in overtime in the Sixth game.
The Semifinals start Friday night:
Florida Everblades vs Reading Royals in Reading
Gwinnett Gladiators vs Cincinnati Cyclones in Gwinnett
Stockton Thunder vs Alaska Aces in Anchorage
Idaho Steelheads vs Ontario Reign in Ontario
My favorites to win this round are Ontario, Alaska, Florida and Gwinnett, but anything can happen! This is hockey at its best. Every team, every player, every coach deserves to be there. They’ve worked hard for their place and I commend them for it. Good luck to all! Hockey is the greatest team sport there is. Thank you for making it even better!
Sunday, April 14, 2013
When I was a kid, we used to spend part of the summer visiting my father’s family in Newburyport, Massachusetts. This always included at least one day at the amusement park at Salisbury Beach. My uncle worked there, so we kids had free reign of the place. The boardwalk had one of the most majestic wooden roller coasters I’ve ever seen and I loved it.
Waiting in line I got butterflies in my stomach, increasing as the screams drifted down from the top of that mighty beast. The click-clack of the cables pushing up the cars slowly, slowly to the top and then rushing down so fast with hands in the airs, screaming at the top of our lungs were what we lived for! And once off the coaster, we got back in line and did all over again. And again!
San Francisco Bulls games are like that for me. I start to get excited as I leave work or home and get more ancy waiting for the slow shuttle drivers to leave Balboa BART. It crescendos to a high when the Bulls players come out for warm-ups and I can get pictures, and maybe, just maybe snap a great one with my cheap little camera.
The tick tick of skates to ice are like the clicking of the coaster as it jettisons to the first peak. The puck smashing against the boards is the knocking of the coaster cars as they abruptly turn corners.
And taking my seat, I await Rawhide’s Intro and the National Anthem. And then it begins….
The season ended too quickly last night for the Bulls. In a 5-3 loss, San Francisco fell to Alaska in the final game of the first round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs. They fought hard and well. Taking one of the games, the Bulls surprised many by keeping most of the other games close and battling the entire way. I've included a few pictures from last night at the end of today's blog.
The whole first season was an amazing one. Surprising to some, but not to those of us who went to all or most of the games, who got to know the Bulls’ staff, went to Bulls’ events to meet the players and supported the team in every way we could. The Bulls passion of the game captured a city’s heart. They are now part of San Francisco and we love them.
Next year, expect Coach Curcio to work his brilliance and get the Bulls even farther. Big things will happen.
The Bulls Sheet will be working hard this summer, not just in covering the Bulls, but we will be expanding, covering the minor league hockey world in a way that is not currently being done. Keep reading for more news in the weeks ahead.
In the meantime, I’m still going to cover the Kelly Cup Playoffs. I’ll write an update about the games tomorrow night. Until then, you have six months to save your money for Bulls tickets next season!