NHL Lockout Ends: San Francisco Bulls Already Feeling the Effect
|Celebrate good times ...|
With the abrupt curtailment of the National Hockey League lockout, life just became much more complicated for the San Francisco Bulls -- until quite recently the Bay Area's only bastion of professional hockey. As a AA-level affiliate of the San Jose Sharks, the Bulls are already feeling the reverberations of a higher professional ceiling. With players being yanked from the Worcester Sharks to the parent club, two Bulls and possibly a third will be lifted off the roster and are Worcester-bound, according to team vice president Ben Farhi.
Coach and president Pat Curcio, per Farhi, has been on the phone since 4:30 this morning trying to fill those roster spots. "Life just got more complicated -- but also more exciting," says Farhi.
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It figures that the lockout helped the fledgling Bulls. If you were a hockey fan, they were, truly, the only show in town. A study of where fans went during the last crippling NHL lockout, in 2004-05, reveals that teams in the Bulls' league enjoyed a 3.6 percent boost in attendance -- that translates into a couple hundred fans a night.
Farhi, however, is hopeful that more interest in hockey spurred by an actual NHL season -- an abbreviated, 48-game schedule could be under way within two weeks -- will trickle down into more interest in the Bulls. The team is no longer the only show in town, but it is still the cheapest (and only one where between-period entertainment involves hurling foam pucks onto the ice or playing the "Dead or Canadian?" trivia game).
Curcio hasn't yet returned SF Weekly's calls -- he seems a bit busy attempting to fill his roster. Farhi, meanwhile, said the departure of several of the team's mainstays -- whom he declined to name until the transactions are finalized -- is bittersweet. "We're happy to see them get the chance. But it's sad to see them go."
Get used to it.