I grew up in Anchorage, Alaska attending a lot of ECHL hockey games with the Alaska Aces. Being the big hockey fan that I am, people have occasionally asked me if I wished I had grown up somewhere with an NHL team. Honestly, I don’t. Even though at this point in my life I’ve attended numerous NHL games and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed them all, you don’t need to attend the games in person to follow the league or appreciate the passion of the fans. Television and the internet made it possible for me to be as big of a hockey fan as there is 3,500 miles away from the nearest NHL team. I do believe, however, that minor league sports still possess the uniqueness, accessibility, crazy promotions, and subtle charm that have to be witnessed in person to be truly appreciated. These are some of the many characteristics that I feel the Bulls proudly retain, and that’s why I couldn’t be more proud to work for the Bulls and play my small part in this organization. For me it was fitting that through all the excitement of our team making the playoffs in our inaugural season we ended up playing, who else, but that team I had seen play so many times growing up, the Alaska Aces.
Looking back on last season, some of my favorite moments were the rocky mountain oyster eating competition during Country Western Night, feeling like Ed McMahon when I got to award one of our grand prize chuck-a-puck winners $1,000 and a Bulls jersey, and the mascot hockey game where Rawhide, Stomper, Sharkie and Dinger got shown up by a talented youth hockey team. Working for the Bulls I was also privilege to some other special moments that the average fan unfortunately never hears about. Many fans enjoyed opening night last season, but very few probably know that forwards Dean Ouellet and Jordan Clendenning had spent the prior evening visiting patients at the Benioff Children’s Hospital. Or there was also the day when Tristan King, Ian Schultz and Rob Kwiet hustled through heavy traffic after practice in order to make it up to Matthew Turner Elementary in Benecia before school ended for the day. It’s moments like these that make me feel honored to be associated with the Bulls.
I spent a lot of time out in the community representing the Bulls last year, and although my position with the team has changed, I still try and take part in as many community events as I possibly can. I can tell you that the response we get now from the Bay Area community is night and day compared to what it was only a year ago. This time last year almost no one had heard of the Bulls and even less people seemed interested. Now we’re marching in parades and Rawhide can’t stand on a street corner without cars constantly honking at him in support. The reason for this success is attributable to everyone from the front office, to the players, and especially the fans. I can’t thank you enough fans for your generous support this past year; you have certainly helped make the Bulls San Francisco’s newest treat.
I can’t wait for next season and Go Bulls!
Tyler Durrell is the Ticket Service Manager of the Bulls and can be reached at TylerD@sfbulls.com