Q&A WITH SAN FRANCISCO BULLS HEAD COACH PAT CURCIO

By  December 14, 2012

Pat Curcio brought hockey back to the bay area after a 15 year dry spell, and the residents of San Francisco are happy to have him in town. The San Francisco Bulls are the newest edition to the ECHL West and with record attendance in their inaugural season it looks like they are here to stay. We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Pat and talk all things hockey, from founding the Bulls to the challenges he faces as GM, President, and Head Coach.

Q:

As a league that finds itself feeding into larger leagues like the AHL & NHL how do you maintain and balance a roster where the slots are constantly changing? It seems like a juggling act, is it difficult to attract and keep talent?

A:

Yeah, it’s difficult to really say there’s an actual system to juggle your roster. You never know when injuries and things are going to happen at the next level and you always need to be prepared that the guys you have here can do the job.

Q:

How does it feel to own a hockey team that is a start-up in the bay area rather than a traditional tech start-up?

A:

We’ve got our unique challenges, that’s for sure. I think Cow Palace was a facility that needed a lot of love and attention. It continues to be a tough thing to manage but at the same time we’re a start-up and for a start-up we’ve had great attendance, great fans and it continues to grow for us so we’re very excited and very fortunate to have the success we’ve had with our first 9 home games.

Q:

Were you surprised by the turnout that you’ve had every game?

A:

I like to think that pro hockey is going to attract some people, we’re very happy with it and just hope that it continues to grow and catch on and people realize what a great time and experience it is, and affordable as well.

Q:

With the NHL lockout in full swing, is it a blessing for the team while you try to build a franchise?

A:

I don’t know it’s hard to tell, I don’t know how many people from San Jose that go to the Sharks games actually come to our games, I’m sure there are some local people that are happy they don’t have to travel but this is a unique situation with the lockout. We’ll be playing the Stockton Thunder at HP Pavillion on December 17th. We’re looking to put 17,000 in HP Pavillion. That’s going to be an amazing night. What an opportunity for us to market our team and our product at HP so it’s going to be great.

Q:

As a President, General Manager, and Head Coach, how do you balance all of the responsibility and decide when to throw on each hat?

A:

I need a little more sleep I’ll tell ya that! [laughs]. You know we’re managing, theres some great staff and obviously you cant do it all by yourself so you need good people around and I’ve been very fortunate.

Q:

How tough was it to build a team from scratch?

A:

That was a more difficult process than I thought. I just thought there would be so many players available but every time you turned around and thought this was a guy you want you realize he’s protected by another team. We played on the weekend with a lot of rookies. You play a team like Utah (Grizzlies) with two, it’s a big difference but our guys are learning, they’re competing, and you know I think that they’ve been pushed to learn quicker because we’ve been on the road so much.

Q:

Do you ever go out and provide any community education around hockey?

A:

We’re out a lot in the community, last night we went to toys for tots, I don’t know if that is exactly directed toward educating them on what hockey is but we’re out in the community a lot. We’re bringing our mascot and doing all kinds of things. On Saturday we were on the United flight for cancer. Rawhide went and a bunch of our promo team and decorated the whole plane like Christmas. They fly them (the kids) to Santa Clara and tell the kids they are going to the North Pole. We do as much as we can, we have something else on Thursday with Union Square skating and stuff like that.

For more information on the San Francisco Bulls and community events in the bay area please visit SFbulls.com