Do you think you're tough enough to skate in a professional hockey game?
The San Francisco Bulls are giving local puckheads a chance to earn a spot on their roster with open tryouts at the Cow Palace this weekend. The player who shows the most skill, toughness and determination will get a chance to compete in one of the team's preseason games in October.
“I get really excited for open tryouts because it reminds of the movie 'Invincible,'” coach Pat Curio said, referring to the Mark Wahlberg flick about Vince Papale, who landed a spot on the Philadelphia Eagles in 1976 through open tryouts. “I believe in that stuff, so I hope someone can surprise us this weekend.”
Curcio expects roughly 60 players to come out for the tryout and he's hoping to invite two or three to the Bulls' fall camp, which kicks off Oct. 5.
Last season, the team used a goalie who skated in open tryouts as an emergency backup during one of its regular-season games.
Curcio said he's looking for local talent and late bloomers that might have “slipped through the cracks.”
“We could lose a couple of players to the Sharks overnight, so if we have some local guys who could step in, it would be huge for us,” he said.
Family matters: The Bulls re-upped their affiliation with the Sharks in August and the relationship could benefit the club even more this season.
“Last year, it was new, we were feeling each other out and the Sharks didn't know exactly what they'd be able to provide for us,” Curcio said. “After a year of getting to know each other — we're all family now.”
Curcio said the Sharks have more players under contract this year, so he expects that the Bulls will receive four to eight players from Worcester of the American Hockey League when the season gets underway.
“We didn't have the depth last year because we didn't have all these guys under contract,” Curcio said. “It's very encouraging.”
In and out: Scott Langdon, Dylan King, Kris Belan, Nick Czinder, Brett Findlay and Christian Ouellet will be returning to the Cow Palace this season, but the team parted ways with leading scorers Dean Ouellet, who will be playing in Kazakhstan, and Peter Sivak.
The Bulls acquired seven players during the offseason, including former ECHL All-Star goaltender Tyler Beskorowany.
“Goaltending was our biggest priority,” Curcio said. “We felt that was the position we had to secure right away.”