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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

San Francisco Bulls: Hockey Team Inks First Player; Affiliation With Sharks Remains Elusive

Posted By on Tue, Jun 26, 2012 at 10:59 AM

Unless you're within the devoted cadre of Slovakian hockey aficionados, you probably don't know much about Peter Sivak. You've probably heard of the San Jose Sharks, however. They're the guys with the teal uniforms who fly onto the rink via an oversize shark head and through a mist of dry ice.

Well, the San Francisco Bulls have the former. They're still working on the latter.

At a press conference this morning, Bulls President and coach Pat Curcio announced the signing of Sivak, the team's first player. The 30-year-old Slovakian comes with a solid resume; playing winger for MsHK Zilina, he was one of the most prolific scorers in the top Slovak league. His 51 points in 55 games trailed only Ziggy Palffy and Miroslav Satan. These aging Slovaks used to be top-flight National Hockey League scorers; Satan also moved a lot of jerseys for obvious reasons.

As the video above reveals, Sivak also has the "certified Slovak record" for the fastest goal in league history -- just 4.08 seconds after faceoff.

Curcio admitted, however, he still hasn't inked the deal he really wants -- to be a minor-league affiliate of the Sharks much as Fresno is a minor-league farm club for baseball's San Francisco Giants and Sacramento for the Athletics. "If we wanted an affiliation with an NHL team, we could have it today," says Curcio, whose team will play home games in the Cow Palace starting in October. "But our goal is to one day be affiliated with the San Jose Sharks. We're going to be loyal to them and if it takes a whole year, that's what we're going to do."

The Bulls are the newest franchise in the ECHL, which used to stand for East Coast Hockey League but now simply stands for ECHL. The ECHL is roughly equivalent to Double-A baseball; it is two steps beneath the NHL. The Bulls remain independent; if they latch on with the Sharks or another NHL franchise, they will be part of a chain featuring an American Hockey League affiliate one rung up the ladder. In the meantime, Curcio notes that Bulls tickets are for sale regardless and you can get yours here.

Sealing a pact with an NHL team is additionally challenging for Curcio because the pro league's collective bargaining agreement expires in mid-September and a lockout is looming. Still, the coach anticipates signing several more players in the next couple of weeks. Sivak -- whose wife is a doctor in the East Bay -- is on a one-year contract for an undisclosed sum.

The Bulls' uniforms, incidentally, feature Giants orange and 49ers gold. Whether they'll one day feature a splash of Sharks teal remains to be seen.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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