Monday, February 18, 2013


In the 60s, The Big Valley put Stockton on the map. More recently, Sons of Anarchy has done the same thing. Not in a positive way, like the Big Valley, but in a violent, nasty, murderous way. It’s a great show, I do watch it, but it certainly does not show the San Joaquin Valley in the best light. The Stockton Thunder even use a modified version of the SofA logo in their game introduction. I have no idea why they would want to associate themselves with a television show about a drug dealing, murdering biker gang, but there you have it.

Downtown Stockton
The Stockton Thunder have been around as a team for eight years. They started in 2005 and according to the team’s website, didn’t even win a game for the first two weeks. . ("Two weeks later, Stockton got another landmark: its first win in team history.") Also during that first season, they didn't make the playoffs. So, right off the bat the Bulls are off to a much better start than the Thunder. I say this because some Thunder fans have the tendency to be quite arrogant when it comes to how great their team is compared to the Bulls. OK, Stockton has a better record this season, true, but this is the Bulls first year and we're doing better than the Thunder did. So just wait, Valley fans, just wait...

(Photo: Ray Ahner)

Stockton swept the Bulls in a two-game series this weekend. They were ugly nasty, fight-filled games. At least the first one was.

The first game took place in Stockton and ended with a 10-man brawl where a whole line from each team was ejected from the game. The Thunder won the game 4-0. It was such an ugly game; I'll leave it at that, not much to say expect it was as ugly as a junk yard in Stockton.

Pucks & Paws (Photo: Ray Ahner)

Yesterday was Pucks and Paws day at the Barn. Fans could bring their dog to the game if they had one. This is a popular event in not only minor league hockey but baseball. The San Francisco Giants do this as well. It worked out great. Both the dogs and owners had a great time. The only glitch I noticed was one very vocal dog barked the entire game. 

(Photo: Ray Ahner)
The game itself was exciting, even though the Bulls lost 3-1. Through the 1st Period there was no score. Lots of action and the team kept it tight. But the Thunder scored first. Heemskerk did a really good job on the net, but in spite of that, couldn't stop Stockton from scoring to win the game. Jordan Morrison got one goal in the 3rd Period and San Francisco tried to make a comeback but it fell short. The Thunder scored one empty netter and the lid was closed.

Thomas Heemskerk (Photo: Ray Ahner)

Even with the loss it was a fun game. I thank my friend Ray Ahner for joining me at the game. Many years ago, I published an underground metal magazine called BAST magazine for 15 years until I couldn't afford to any longer. It never made money, but I had a blast doing it. Ray did lots of photographs for it. He can usually be found in the nearest concert photopit. This was his first hockey shoot but I know it won't be his last. Thanks for the great pics! Check out his website at:

The Bulls go on a long road trip starting February 22nd with two games in Boise, Idaho. If you remember, they beat the Steelheads the last time these two teams played, so hopefully, they'll do it again!