With the announcement that the NHL lockout is over and the San Jose Sharks season will be in full swing a month from now, we can officially announce the Bay Area’s honeymoon with the San Francisco Bulls is over. Beginning with the Thirsty Thursday tilt against the Idaho Steamheads, the Bulls will no longer be the sole option for hockey fans in Nothern California. How severe will the drop-off in attendance be? My guess will be minimal, as hockey lovers continue to welcome a low-cost alternative to Team Teal. The homespun atmosphere, Cow Belle ice girls, and more accessible players are three assets unique to the Cow Palace inhabitants. For a fun night out that doesn’t break the bank you can’t go wrong with minor league hockey.
THE TORREY MITCHELL ERA BEGINS… THEN ABRUPTLY COMES TO AN END
I was in attendance for the much-hyped debut of former San Jose Shark Torrey Mitchell, one of 2032 who attended the Wednesday night game. Mitchell scored the team’s first goal and the weekday crowd went wild. I was too busy shoveling 2-For-1 hot dogs into my gaping maw to stand up and cheer (see photo below) but you couldn’t have asked for a better start to a game.
Unfortunately, the Bulls lost 2-1 in a shootout. The ECHL shootout goes 5 rounds, not 3, and had they adhered to NHL shootout rules the Bulls would have won the game. Alas, it was not to be. Goaltender Taylor Nelson is improving in leaps and bounds after taking over the reins from injured Thomas Heemskirk.
DEAN OUELLET HAS GREAT HOCKEY NAME, ALL-STAR CREDENTIALS
Forward Dean Ouellet has been scoring at a feverish clip for the SF Bulls (17 goals, 14 assists) and the ECHL league office has taken notice, making him a 2012 All-Star. Can a call-up to Worcester be far behind? It should be interesting to see how the Bulls deal with what will now be an ever-changing lineup with the major league players back to work.
COW BELLES NOW HAVE OWN FACEBOOK FAN PAGE- AMERICA REJOICES
Unfairly maligned by (pure conjecture here) bitter post-menopausal women, the Cow Belles took this in stride and have been phenomenal ambassadors for the fledgling franchise. Easily dismissed as eye candy, these girls are impeccable skaters themselves and do a great job of keeping energy up during lulls in the game. Belle Annalysa performed admirably in an on-air interview during Comcast Home Network’s telecast of a game late last month (see stolen photo below). God bless professional hockey players, but most have the charisma of a piece of aged driftwood. A young, well-spoken and attractive promoter can be a godsend in a cluttered marketplace. Follow all things Cow Belle at their new Facebook fan page here: http://www.facebook.com/sfcowbelles