A Brief History of the San Diego Gulls
by Hannah Peters
The San Diego Gulls are a professional ice hockey team in the American Hockey League (AHL) that started playing in the 2015-2016 season. On January 29th, 2015 the Anaheim Ducks, a National Hockey League team, announced that they would purchase their American Hockey League affiliate, called the Norfolk Admirals at the time, and would be moving the team to San Diego as one of five charter members of the AHL's new Pacific Division. The team plays at the Valley View Casino Center, being the sixth professional hockey team to play there following the original San Diego Gulls of the WHL (1966–74), the San Diego Mariners of the WHA (1974–77), the San Diego Hawks/Mariners of the Pacific Hockey League (1977–79), the second San Diego Gulls of the IHL (1990–1995), and the third San Diego Gulls of the West Coast Hockey League (1995–2003) and later the ECHL (2003–06).
On February 22nd, 2015, the Gulls' name, along with their colors (black,white, blue, and orange) and logo, were revealed at Hockey Fest, which was held at the home arena they currently play at. The owners of the team are Henry and Susan Samueli, while the general manager is Bob Ferguson, a former professional hockey coach and player. The head coach of the Gulls is Dallas Eakins. The Gulls played their first game on October 10th, 2015 against the Grand Rapids Griffins and won (4-1).
The Gulls' main rival is the Ontario Reign, which is the Los Angeles Kings affiliate. Players and goalies are not permanent and can be moved up or dropped down from the Ducks team. The Gulls are second in their division, in which they are only one game behind the San Jose Barracudas and fourth total in the league. The Gulls have won 14 of their last 17 contests (14-3-0) and 21 of the last 26 overall (21-3-0-1). The Gulls have also earned standings points in 21 of the last 23 games overall (20-2-0-1). Their main goal scorer is Corey Tropp (currently number 12), who is a right wing and has scored forty-seven goals in the entirety of his AHL career with the Gulls. His accomplishments are closely followed by Kalle Kossila (14, left wing) with forty goals, and Spencer Abbott (11, right wing) with thirty-eight.
The players prepare for games throughout the week with a daily early morning training session, which takes from 5 to 25 minutes. On all practice days, they go to the gym for 30 to 45 minutes, then 45 minutes to an hour of structured time, and 10 to 20 minutes of opportunity time. On game days, they have a morning skate that lasts 30 minutes, and then practice from 4:30 pm until game time at 7 pm. Game days are typically on Fridays, though sometimes weekends and/or Wednesdays. They are still in the game today and are trying to make their way to the playoffs and possibly to the Calder Cup (named after Frank Calder, the first president of the National Hockey League), which is the finals in the American Hockey League.
Hockey first became prevalent in Canada in 1875 and has been brought to different countries and states, evolving along the way to become the sport it is today. The San Diego Gulls are important to pop culture today due to the factoring of sports and entertainment.
(Rival Fight - Ontario Reign)
(March 8th, 2017, Game Against Barracudas. This was arguably the most important game of the Gulls' 2016-2017 schedule, due to the fact they were playing the number one team in their division. The Gulls ended up winning in overtime with nine seconds left, leaving the score 7 to 6. They then needed two more winning games to be tied for 1st place, which would make an impact on the teams they played if they made it to playoffs or the Calder Cup.)