Bulls set to stampede into season

It can’t be easy to be the newest pro sports franchise in a city obsessed with its other teams.

But when you’re the San Francisco Bulls, being the new guys in town certainly has its perks.

Like, oh I don’t know, a ride on Pier 39’s Rocket Boat? Or watching the home town’s championship chasing baseball team in action? Or a couple of trips to the beach to take advantage of the unseasonally warm weather in The City has experience as of late?

But all the extracurricular activity hasn’t distracted a young Bulls team, who have been practicing for weeks building up to this season’s opening series against the Bakersfield Condors, tonight and Saturday night at the Cow Palace.

Right wing Keaton Turkiewicz told SFBay during the Bulls’ media day earlier this week:

“It’s been a long summer. We just want to get back out on the ice.”

The Bulls and their fans got a preview taste of their inaugural season last week with a preseason matchup against the Stockton Thunder. Despite being ahead for most of the game and tying the score just before the end of regulation, the Bulls fell 5-4 in overtime.

The team has worked this week to tighten up the screws before Friday night’s opening battle. Turkiewicz said the team made a lot of good adjustments in the preseason:

“We’re really positive about how we played. We’ll work on the things we did well and try to correct the things we struggled on.”

In addition to having a skilled group of athletes, Turkiewicz said the Bulls have good team chemistry early on, a factor that could make or break a team’s level of play:

“Chemistry’s great. We’ve been together for a couple weeks now, and a lot of guys knew each other before. We’ve got a great group of guys, and the ownership and coaching staff is great.”

Defenseman Scott Langdon — already a fan favorite, with gloves on and off — told SFBay he wants to get off to a strong start against Bakersfield, a team beginning their tenth year of play in the ECHL:

“We want to make a statement this weekend with these two games. Right now, it’s about going out there and getting some wins. Especially in front of our home crowd.”

Langdon, along with Jordan Morrison and Hans Benson, were announced as alternate captains by the Bulls on Friday, supporting team captain Justin Bowers. Bowers tallied 19 goals and 59 assists last season with the Greenville Road Warriors.

But this is still professional hockey, folks. Even with good vibes floating through the locker room, there will still be plenty of intensity on the ice. And plenty of fisticuffs to go along with it, Langdon said:

“Our team is focused on toughness and gritty-ness. And we have skill. . . But we know fans like the fights, so I’m personally going to try my best to get in some, ya know?”

The puck drops tonight at 7:15 p.m at the Cow Palace. For ticket and event information, visit the team’s website at SFBulls.com.

Notes

The Bulls also announced on Friday their roster to open the 2012-13 season:

Goalies: Taylor Nelson and Thomas Heemskerk.

Defensemen: Martin Lee, Dylan King, Mikael Tam, Scott Langdon, Sacha Guimond, Chris Frank, Trevor Hendrikx, Tim Buttery.

Forwards: Jordan Clendenning, Kris Belan, Justin Bowers, Peter Sivak, Kevin Baker, Matt Carter, Jordan Morrison, Alex Tuckerman, Dean Ouellet, Hans Benson, Thomas Beauregard, Chris Lawrence, Jonathan Lessard and Keaton Turkiewicz.