After a sale of the team failed, the ownership of the ECHL’s San Francisco Bulls decided to pull the plug on the season.
The San Francisco Bulls played at the historic Cow Palace, the first home of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks and the longtime home to pro hockey and basketball in the Bay Area.
Though the return of pro hockey to the Cow Palace was eagerly anticipated by some fans, the Bulls failed to attract enough fans to keep the franchise going. The Bulls were averaging only 2,292 fans a game this season (far off the league average of 4,549), second to last in the ECHL. Add to that some high travel costs, and you have an unsustainable economic situation.
“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,” Pat Curcio, the team’s president and head coach, said in a statement. “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 this city.”
He added: “We want to thank all of our fans for your support and loyalty over the last two seasons. It’s been such a memorable time here with you in San Francisco, and we’ve especially appreciated all of your positive feedback over the past week.”
Players were declared free agents by the ECHL, with accompanying changes in the league schedule to come.