Believe it or not the ECHL hockey season is over a month old but up until last weekend the San Francisco Bulls had only played two meaningful games at home. If you ever wonder about strange scheduling, especially in the playoffs and usually in the National Hockey League and National Basketball Association, it is typically because of something known as “building availability”.
In the case of the Bulls their 3-week absence was due to the Grand National Rodeo – an annual event here in San Francisco that dates back to the 60′s (yes, believe it or not San Francisco is home to one of the longest running rodeo/agricultural/Future Farmer events in the nation). But that home drought ended this past weekend when the Bulls returned to the Cow Palace for another weekend of professional hockey. In front of 10,000+ fans over two days the Bulls came away with one victory and one loss.
Besides incredibly fun hockey the weekend was also filled with ‘celebrity’ sightings. Keep in mind however that ‘celebrity’ at the ECHL level might not be the same as Oscar or Grammy night. With the National Hockey League still struggling with a labor dispute some NHL players are staying on top of their game in the ECHL. To that point Friday night saw San Jose Sharks forward Ryane Clowe behind the bench for the Bulls. Clowe has signed a contract with the Bulls and my contacts tell me he can play whenever he feels ready, but for now his role with the team has been limited to practice sessions and assistant coach.
Also appearing at Friday night’s game was San Francisco Giants’ closer and 2012 World Series Champion Sergio Romo. Romo dropped the game’s ceremonial puck to a very loud and very appreciative crowd.
Now when I qualified what ‘celebrity’ means at the ECHL level I think our next sighting will bring that qualification to light. Sharkie, the San Jose Sharks mascot, also attended Friday night’s game and participated in a mascots vs. pee wee hockey game.
And finally former San Jose Shark and current Minnesota Wild Devin Setoguchi came to town Saturday night playing for the Ontario (CA) Reign.
For more pictures and additional commentary see our additional post on penaltykill.net.