San Francisco Bulls announce Opening Day roster


by Kahlil Najar


The San Francisco Bulls announced today their Opening Day Roster. The new roster consists of  two goaltenders (Tyler Beskorowany and J.P. Anderson), seven defensemen (Kyle Bigos, Andrew Eastman, Josh Kidd, Dylan King, Damon Kipp, Scott Langdon and Steven Tarasuk) and 11 forwards (Kris Belan, Chris Crane, Brett Findlay, Luke Judson, Mark Lee, Ryan McDonough, Dale Mitchell, Jordan Morrison, Christian Ouellet, Dean Ouellet and Brett Parnham).

There is some veteran leadership coming back as there are seven players returning for the Bulls: King, Langdon, Belan, Findlay, Morrison, C. Ouellet and D. Ouellet. Last years top goal scorer Peter Sivak is not on this years roster as he signed with the Alaska Aces this off-season and will face off against his former team in the first game of the season this Friday in Anchorage.


Late goal sinks the Bulls, Condors win 3-2

By Kahlil Najar


The San Francisco Bulls started off their second year in the ECHL with a tough preseason loss against the Bakersfield Condors 3-2. The Condors scored the their third and deciding goal with less than 30 seconds left when Gary Steffes put a rebound in after a tilt-a-whirl shot from Nick Wheeler was stopped by J.P. Anderson.

“You try to do everything you can to end up winning but you can’t. We made a lot of mistakes and so did they but we’re just going to learn from it.” said Head Coach Pat Curcio on tonight’s loss. “We wanted to give some of the young guys a chance and it’s a process and that’s the way it goes. You start slow.”

Returning players Dylan King and Kris Belan scored for the Bulls and OHL alum J.P. Anderson was between the pipes and was able to turn away 30 shots against an active Condor offense.

Defenseman Dylan King got the Bulls on the board first when he received a nice pass from Christian Ouellet from behind the next and he was able to beat Condor’s goalie Tyler Bunz top shelf. A little over 30 seconds later, Kris Belan was able to get a nice shot past Bunz from in between the circles in the Condors zone and make it a 2-0 Bulls lead. The Condor’s answered back with two consecutive goals in the second by Daniel Sobotka and Blair Maccaulay to tie the game at two a piece. The second goal being a short-handed masterpiece by the Condors stellar penalty kill line. The Condors sealed the victory with a nice rebound goal by Gary Steffes who shoved the puck under the sprawling Anderson.

The Bulls have a 22 man roster and a lot of them are young guys trying to earn a shot on the team. On putting the young players in the game, Curcio said “We want to see what their abilities are and who can do what.” Curcio continued and called out the play of Right Winger Dale Mitchell and said that he was” very good tonight. He’s going to be a good player for us.”

Also on the roster tonight was Anthony Taylor who earned a spot on the roster after wowing Curico and the Bulls staff at last month’s Open Tryout’s at the Cow Palace. “It was a great experience and it was very good hockey. I really liked the fans, they seemed really cool” said Taylor on stepping onto the Cow Palace ice for an official game. Curcio commented on Taylor’s and gave us a look into his future, “I thought he’s done a good job through training camp. We’re going to get him assigned to a Southern Professional team or Central League team where he can get his feet wet. He’s a young player and if he does well, we’ll give him another opportunity.”

The Bulls return to action on Saturday to host the Stockton Thunder at 7:30 pm at the Cow Palace.

SF Bulls Are Back, Moving Forward

By Mary Walsh

Seven players have returned to the San Francisco Bulls for a second season. Team Captain Scott Langdon, forward Kris Belan and defenseman Dylan King all signed again early in ECHL free agency. Last week, Dean Ouellet and Jordan Morrison returned from a stint in the Kazakh league to rejoin the Bulls. Christian Ouellet and Brett Findlay, rookies who impressed last season, are also back.  These players are not the only ones showing confidence in the San Francisco Bulls organization.

The San Jose Sharks renewed their affiliation with the Bulls in late August, but they had already given the organization a significant stamp of approval last season. They sent seven prospects to San Francisco from Worcester, including five skaters. This season, Bulls President and Head Coach Pat Curcio expects the Sharks to continue sending prospects to the ECHL:

We could have possibly ten guys from [the Sharks]. They signed a lot of players, and they signed them with the intention [that they will] have a place to put them. So our relationship’s been great and I’m real excited.

The Sharks are happy with the arrangement as well. In their August press release about the renewed affiliation, GM Doug Wilson explained: “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.” -San Jose Sharks

Prior to their affiliation with the Bulls, the Sharks used the ECHL primarily for goaltender development. The Sharks have the option of using many places to develop players, including Canadian Junior leagues and university programs. The AHL has no cap and no roster limit, so in theory a team could use an AHL team to stash all their prospects without regard to whether there was room on the ice for them or not. Of course, that is not ideal. It is far better to have a pro hockey environment where your prospects can play a lot of minutes.

On the other hand, teams don’t want want to send young talent into a meat grinder. The ECHL is shedding a reputation for being a lawless slug-fest, and becoming a league where talent can be showcased and developed. That San Jose felt confident enough to send so many players to San Francisco in its first season speaks very well for the Bulls.

It also speaks well for the ECHL, as other NHL teams are also investing more talent in the Triple A league. The ECHL is an increasingly viable stepping stone in pro hockey development. In theory, this could also improve the level of play in the AHL, by giving less experienced players a different team to develop with. AHL players could come to the NHL more ready for having been in a system tailored to the needs of experienced prospects.

While the team has bolstered its connection to the AHL and the NHL, the Bulls still have a grass-roots element. In mid-September, the team held open tryouts. From that group, Anthony Taylor was chosen to participate in the team’s main training camp. He will also play in at least one pre-season game. The tryouts gave the Bulls a chance to scope out available talent that they might need through the season, as Curcio explains:

You’re going to need players that are readily available at the drop of a hat. If a player gets injured on a Thursday night and [someone] has to fly out Friday to Worcester or San Jose, it’s hard to find a player over night. You need some good players that are local.

The Bulls will play two pre-season games at the Cow Palace, on Thursday, October 10 and Saturday, October 12. Puck drop at 7:30 pm. Their regular season home opener will be on Friday, November 8 against the Bakersfield Condors.

Morrison and Ouellet back with the SF Bulls

By Kahlil Najar

SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Bulls announced today that forwards Jordan Morrison and Dean Ouellet have agreed to terms. Morrison and Ouellet join last season’s other core members, Scott Langdon, Kris Belan, Dylan King and Christian Ouellet.

“It’s great news for the organization and the fans to get Jordan and Dean back for this season,” said SF Bulls President and Head Coach Pat Curcio. “Their return from Kazakhstan shows their desire to reach the next level in North America. Dean is an all-star and Jordan is a proven leader.”

Calling Ouellet an All-Star isn’t just a euphemism, it’s a fact. Last year, Dean Ouellet was the lone Bulls player to represent San Francisco in the ECHL All-Star game. Jordan Morrison on the other hand, may not have been voted an All-Star but he was definitely deserving of the title. Not only did he contribute 16 goals and 25 assists but he was one of the key players to help get the Bulls into the first round of the playoffs. In the playoffs, Morrison played in all five games and had two goals an assist.

On returning to the Bay Area, both players are looking forward to being back and bring the same kind of intensity to the ice that they did last year.

Dean Oulette said, “Coming back to the Bulls this season feels really good. San Francisco is like a second home for me. It’s going to be a great season.”

“It’s good to see so many familiar faces back with the Bulls,” said Morrison. “San Francisco became a home away from home last season. There were great fans and it was a great city. I’m looking forward to a productive season and doing better than last year.”

Right Winger Christian Ouellet Returns With SF Bulls

by Kahlil Najar

SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francsico Bulls announced on Tuesday that they have resigned talented right winger Christian Ouellet through the 2013-2014 season. He’ll begin the season at the Bulls’ AHL affiliate’s Training Camp in Worcester, Massachusetts.

IIn 2012, he split time between both the Gwinnett Gladiators and the San Francisco Bulls racking up 17 goals, 20 assists and 46 penalty minutes. For the Bulls, Ouellet grabbed three assists in five games during their first ever playoff run against the number one seed Alaska Aces.

“Christian is a player that does everything well,” said Bulls President and Head Coach Pat Curcio. “He’s got offensive skills and is responsible in the defensive zone. He’s going to be a star. We wish him all the best at Worcester’s Training Camp.”

On his return, Oulette said, “I’m happy to be returning. I want to have a good season, since I had a great time with the team and in the city last year. I’m excited to be back playing with Scotty (Langdon), Kris (Belan) and Dylan (King) if I don’t make Worcester.”

Ouellet will be a welcome spark to Bulls who have already resigned Brett Findlay, Nick Czinder, Scott Langdon, Dylan King and Kris Belan back to the roster.