After a week of negotiations with a potential new owner’s group and ECHL league meetings all last week, The San Francisco Bulls, ECHL affiliate of the the San Jose Sharks, announced today that they would cease operations. In a letter addressed to season ticket holders, Head Coach and General Manager Pat Curcio said “the team was hoping to secure new ownership, however the terms of an updated deal were unable to be finalized, cancelling the remainder of the season.”

Curcio went on to say, “We had a great opportunity come to us that would’ve kept the Bulls in San Francisco at least through the end of the 2014 season, with potential for future seasons, but we ran out of time to complete all ends of the deal. At this point, the  best thing to do financially is to reluctantly end the season. We will miss playing here, miss our fans, and miss the city.”

Last week,  in an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, it was revealed that the team was in financial trouble, with losses reaching over 2 million dollars. A variety of factors contributed to the financial woes, including difficulties with the Cow Palace management, low attendance, the high cost of San Francisco and  costly renovations that were needed to the Cow Palace arena.

The hope was for the team to finish out the season at the Cow Palace with a new ownership group, or move to Oakland or Fresno. The ECHL Western Conference is already a small pool with only 9 teams in the entire Conference. The loss of the Bulls is greater than just to the fans, it is a loss for the entire hockey community.

A West Coast girl, born and raised in the Bay Area in the most non-traditional Hockey Market you could imagine for a long time... When the Sharks came to town it changed the Bay Area hockey landscape forever. Her first love will always be the Red Wings but she has embraced the Sharks since their debut in 1991. She has a passion for minor league grind-it-out-in the-corners hockey. Her heart broke when the ECHL Bulls folded , but luckily the Stockton Thunder are still close enough for her to get her gritty-hockey fix. Besides watching hockey, she is an American Tribal Style belly-dancer and trolls the blue-line, playing defence in a local rec hockey league... A somehow strange but balanced juxtaposition.

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