The San Francisco Bulls
With the start of the 2012 AA hockey season, the ECHL’s newest franchise, The San Francisco Bulls, will call the Cow Palace home. The Bulls become the 21st team in the premiere ‘AA’ hockey league that serves as the development league for the National Hockey League. The San Francisco team joins the Pacific League of the ECHL, which includes the Bakersfield Condors, the Las Vegas Wranglers, Ontario Reign, and the Stockton Thunder.
The ECHL began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states. Today, the league has 20 teams in 14 states. The ECHL celebrated its 20th Anniversary in 2007-08 and is the third-longest tenured professional hockey league behind only the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League. The ECHL has had 273 players reach the NHL over the last eight seasons. It’s the primary developmental league for the NHL and the AHL. On opening day of the 2010-11 season, 79 former ECHL players were on NHL rosters. The ECHL teams are divided into the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference. The Bulls will join the Western Conference which includes the Alaska Aces, Bakersfield Condors, Colorado Eagles, Idaho Steelheads, Las Vegas Wranglers, Ontario Reign, Stockton Thunder, and the Utah Grizzlies. All teams play a 72-game schedule.
ECHL Western Conference