by Larry Leavitt
SAN FRANCISCO–The prospective owner for the San Francisco Bulls wanted to jump in and save the team this past week but unfortunately his plans were to build a rink in the Monterey area and eventually move the team there but he needed a place to play in the few years it would take to build the new rink and since Oakland and Fresno was not going to be a good location it didn’t work out and he decided to forget the whole deal.
The prospective owner is going to build his own rink without the Bulls financial baggage and apply straight to the ECHL for his own team and start from scratch which is a shame the Bulls had a lot of good fans but they had a bad location. The Cow Palace was run down and it wasn’t really helping team president and head coach Pat Curcio.
Curcio put in a lot of money to get the team started he had to fix the ice surface it was an ammonia system they didn’t shut it down properly, they had to fix all the pipes and change it over from an ammonia system to a legal system for the state of California which is a cost that he didn’t expect to incur. There was a lot of little expenses he really didn’t expect and he went reportedly $2 million in the hole the first year and I could believe that.
I was surprised the team folded only because a lot of those costs were one time costs, you only have to buy the scoreboard one time once it was bought. It’s just maintaining it, you only have to fix the ice, the refrigeration system once and it’s just maintaining it. The team wasn’t drawing and I can’t say they were going to draw a lot because of the traffic to get to the Cow Palace it’s not an easy place to get to. Once you get there it’s one of the highest ticket costs in the league.
The immedities weren’t all that plush, it was not the most favored place to be, the seats weren’t real comfortable and just wasn’t the nice arena setting that people are used to nowadays. I’m not saying it was dirty as in people didn’t clean up after themselves but it’s dusty old it just didn’t have that feel of inviting a team or people to come watch a team.
The Bulls played really well, my only criticism of Curcio would be that he wore too many hats, he had too much going on, he should have focused on the team and had better backers obviously or researched it a little better but he had some good players, they were starting to jell, they played a good game and it was exciting to watch and it’s a shame that the players aren’t going to be around.
As I understand the league is going to eat them up and take the free agents and unrestricted free agents and allow them to play to play on other ECHL teams that takes them. The Bulls just spent too much money which included a state of the art scoreboard, it’s beautiful but they overspent for it. If the Bulls cut some corners here and there they might have been able to salvage the season.One thing you could say about Curcio he did go full all out to make hockey in San Francisco work again and too bad it didn’t.
Larry Leavitt does Pro Hockey commentary each week for Sportstalk Radio