by Kahlil Najar and Phillip Torres
The San Francisco Bulls announced today that their affiliation with the NHL’s San Jose Sharks and the AHL’s Worcester Sharks has been renewed. The Bulls will continue to serve as the Sharks’ exclusive ECHL developmental team.
The Bulls were the new kid at the table last year as they entered their inaugural season in the ECHL and when they announced their affiliation with the Sharks, they instantly became a the new belle of the ball. The Sharks provided seven players to the Bulls, including goaltenders Thomas Heemskerk and Taylor Nelson, defenseman Mikael Tam, and forwards Marek Viedensky, Daniil Tarasov, Yanni Gourde and Tommy Grant.
On the Bulls, Sharks Assistant GM Joe Will said “San Francisco provides a terrific option for us to place players in a situation where they can further develop themselves as hockey players. Bulls Head Coach Pat Curcio and his staff do a great job preparing the players to succeed and Daniil is a perfect example of that. He worked hard in San Francisco and Worcester and earned an NHL contract on the merit of his play.”
“We’re very excited to continue and further grow our partnership with the San Jose Sharks,” said SF Bulls President and Head Coach Pat Curcio. “We can’t thank Doug Wilson, Wayne Thomas, Joe Will and John Tortora enough for their support. Our first season created a mutually beneficial relationship. The Sharks provided us with high-quality players, who helped contribute to our team’s appearance in the playoffs. We are excited about the opportunity to develop Sharks prospects while putting a winning product on the ice. We also believe that our affiliation with the Sharks not only gives us quality prospects, it gives us an instant identity in a very large market, and we are very grateful to them for that.”
“We had an extremely positive relationship with the Bulls last season as a development vehicle for players within our system and we look forward to continuing that agreement,” said Sharks GM Doug Wilson.
This affiliation with the Sharks helps solidify the Bulls home here in San Francisco. The proximity of the Cow Palace to the SAP Center is something that most ECHL and NHL teams do not share and no doubt had an influence in both teams decision to continue this successful partnership. The Bulls had tremendous reach into the community during the season as they had above average attendance to most home games and put their stamp on all facets of media including radio, TV and other out-of-home advertisements.
“It’s important for us as an organization to help grow the game of hockey at all levels in the Bay Area and the Bulls have done a great job putting a quality product on the ice,” said Sharks Chief Operating Officer John Tortora. “The Sharks Bay Area journey began in the San Francisco area and this is another opportunity for us to connect and engage with our many fans and supporters in the North Bay, which is home to more than 15% of our season ticket base.”
The Bulls start their season this year with a preseason match up against the Bakersfield Condors on October 10th at 7:30pm at the historic Cow Palace