I spent the last three days at the Barn or to those not in the know, the Cow Palace. There, that’s your first Bulls Fans Insider Info. Regulars call it The Barn or The Palace, either is acceptable.
Anyway, getting back to my last three awesome days filled with Bulls hockey, I went to Friday night’s game against the Idaho Steelheads. The Bulls easily dominated, as I wrote about in my last blog entry. Saturday night, the Bulls looked tired and couldn’t get into any kind of a rhythm going until late, by then they ran out of time, losing to the Utah Grizzlies.
|Some awesome Bulls fans|
But the Sunday matinee game was one of those games I’ll remember for a very long time! The Guys played great hockey for the majority of the game. Utah’s a tough opponent; they don’t stop attacking, are really aggressive on offense and their goalie Grant Rollheiser made it extremely hard to get goals. The Bulls outshot the Grizzlies, but that didn’t matter to the huge goaltender, he was protecting the Utah net with every inch of his tall frame.
The Bulls Captain Justin Bowers got the tying goal at the very last possible second in the Third Period, leading the tense game into Overtime and eventual Bulls win after a great Shootout. And their very FIRST Shootout win!!!
If you want to go to a game and you’re thinking of where to sit, I don’t think there are many bad seats in the house. I don’t have a season pass this first year, I have a partial one, so I’ve purchased tickets to a few games not in my package. For those games, I tried to get seats in different areas to see what those are like. I’ve also walked around to get a feel of what a game would be like all around the house. Every location has its advantages and disadvantages of course. You decide what you like the best.
Keep in mind that the Barn is an old Beaut, however, and during the rains her roof may be a bit leaky. Yesterday afternoon, the seat next to me was empty, and there was a steady drip-drip of rain straight down from waaaay up above. If you feel a splat of water on your head and it’s been raining outside, it probably isn’t the drunk behind you accidentally spilling Bud Light on your head. Tell Guest Services at the Front Lobby and they’ll be happy to reseat you.
|Dylan King #47|
The Bulls have made the Barn as comfy as anyone could make the old Girl, and as soon as fans walk through the doors, they’re greeted by Rawhide, the Cow Belles and the Moo Crew. It’s all smiles and how could anyone not be in a good mood with that greeting? If there’s a promotion, this is where you’ll get your swag. Just before this, the security is pretty good. They’re doing better than when the team first started. Although I had a bit of a laugh Friday night when one over-anxious guard wanted to take my cough drops away from me. Cough drops, really? “I guess you can keep these,” she said. OK, uh, thanks.
They don’t allow you to bring food inside, and trust me, the selection of food sold sucks. It’s basic junk that one would have gotten at a baseball game in the 70s; popcorn, hotdogs, really horrific nachos, stale French fries, scary slices of pizza, and a myriad of sugared sodas and beverages. There’s not one place in the whole building where one can have even a salad. Not one! Lots of beer and a few bars though. So, eat out, treat yourself to something good. And have a snack while you’re at the game if you like. In a future entry, I’ll include my suggestions of places in the vicinity to enjoy before/after games.
|Alex Tuckerman #18|
Get to the game early. Lots of parking at the Barn and it’s fairly easy to get in and out. Besides, one of the most fun things I can think of is watching the teams warm up on the ice and take pictures. If you haven’t been to a game before or have never seen the Bulls, go down to the glass and get yourself some shots. Fans can get closer to hockey athletes than any other sport because the glass makes it possible.
If it’s your first time at a game, buy a program. It’s a great souvenir, and it also gives you some info about the players and about hockey, if you’re unfamiliar with the game.
Going early also makes it easier to check out the Bulls merchandise; they have a great selection, as well as the terrific encased shrine saluting the past hockey teams that played here in years past: the Shamrocks, the Seals and the Spiders.
Then make your way around to the opposite side and you can look at the pictures of all the rock bands, circus acts, wrestling matches and anyone else who performed here throughout its history. As you get to the opposite side, you’ll see the Mechanical Bull. Yep, they got one. It’s $5.00 a try and it’s pretty fun watching other people do it. No way I’m getting on it, but you should give it a try!
|Mechanical Bull Rides|
Also, a good thing to do is buy your orange pucks for Chuck A Puck. What the heck is “Chuck A Puck?” You ask. It’s a game the club has in the Second Intermission. The orange pucks are $1.00 each or 6 pucks for $5.00. They are thrown onto the ice and if your numbered puck lands on the target at the center, you win whatever the dollar amount that night is. It starts at $150 and goes up if no one hits the target. The winner also wins a shirt and I believe tickets to a future game. Quite a nice little deal, and it’s fun. But buy your picks early, the lines can get really long.
|The beginning of Chuck A Puck toss|
Every night has special deals or games. Friday Night Bingo is my personal favorite, although I have yet to see anyone win. LOL! It’s still fun to play. After Sunday matinee games the kids can try to hit the puck into the net. Check the Bulls website for every games promotion or special. And after every game, there will be two Players signing autographs. I highly suggest doing this. The line moves really fast and you never know if one of these guys will get very famous one day and you can say you met him when he used to play for San Francisco. No need to thank me.
|Faithful Bulls Fans|
As is true with the San Francisco Giants and the San Francisco Niners, the San Francisco Bulls have our share of characters. You may run into the Bull Guy, a man dressed in a bull outfit who runs around one Side of the Barn. Or, take a look up at the Visitor’s net and you could spot the Body Painters, a group of young guys who sport orange GO BULLS on their chests. I love this stuff and hope I see more of it!
Once again I will reiterate as I have before: DO NOT POUND ON THE GLASS!!!! Only noobs do this. Real hockey fans look at the idiots pounding on the glass and shake their heads. If you insist on Glass Pounding, you will never be taken seriously by them. Parents, teach your children not to do this, please.
Another happening I saw that I was not too happy about, was the idea of hipsters showing up making fun of hockey. These three skinny, badly-dressed “I’m Much Cooler and Hipper That You Will Ever Be Ever” Types sat a row and a few seats over from me Saturday night. They were already loaded when the game started. In the Second Period when the Bulls weren’t playing their best and the crowd was a little cranky, they were shouting “The Bulls Suck!” and a few other things. What is that all about? Could it be that some crap piece in a rag only hipsters read brought on SF’s dbags to laugh at what they thought would be “Goon”-style entertainment? Who knows? But it wasn’t making me or a few others very happy. They left before we could call security to tell them to chill or escort them out.
If you want to watch hockey and have fun, by all means, come and enjoy the game. But if you think this is a place where you can be a jerk, stay the f**k away!!!! Stay in the Mission at you little trendy bar, slobbering in your drink about how much cooler you are then me. Whatever. I don’t care.
Excuse me for that mini-rant, but it needed to be said.
One of the most important pointers I can pass along to you is get to know the people in the seats around you. Hockey fans are some of the most friendly sports fans there are. The ECHL is a small league and you will see your fellow fans repeatedly over the season. Why not make some new friends?
Hockey is one BIG Family; each division is a branch of the Hockey Family. The NHL is the biggest branch, but there are other branches and the ECHL is one of those. If you want, you too can be part of the ECHL branch. Just hop on and have fun!!! The Bulls extend a warm welcome and get ready for lots of great action!
I know I’ll see you at a game soon! Just ask the staff if they’re seen Martha around. They all know me. And if not, they will soon.
Remember The Bulls game Tomorrow, Tuesday from Bakersfield, listen online at www.knbr.com 7:00pm
Also coming up Wednesday, November 21st is the online LIVE Broadcast from Pedros Cantina 128 King Street, across the street from AT&T Park in San Francisco. Jason Lockhart and a Bulls player will be on from 6:00 to 7:00pm. I will see you there!!!