Anaheim Ducks Name Their San Diego Hockey Team The Gulls
The American Hockey League team that will begin play at Valley View Casino Center this fall will be nicknamed the Gulls, continuing a San Diego tradition dating to 1966.
The Anaheim Ducks announced on Jan. 29 that their Norfolk, Virginia, AHL affiliate would be moving to San Diego as part of a shift of five teams to California.
"While we initially considered several options, it quickly became clear that the obvious affinity and affection the fans have for the Gulls name," Anaheim Ducks owners Henry and Susan Samueli said in a statement on Sunday.
"We enthusiastically embrace the history and tradition of hockey in this market and plan on adding to its legacy with a community-first organization and winning product."
The nickname, team colors of orange, black and blue and logo, reminiscent of when the Gulls were members of the West Coast Hockey League and featuring the Ducks' orange and black colors with a touch of Gulls blue, were announced at what the team dubbed "HockeyFest" at Valley View Casino Center.
The team has established a website, sandiegogulls.com, a Twitter account, @SDGullsAHL, and a Facebook page, Facebook.com/SDGullsAHL.
Ducks CEO Michael Schulman announced the organization will fund two Learn to Play hockey programs in San Diego, including equipment. The sessions will be held next month at The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Rolando and Icetown Carlsbad.
Gulls was the nickname of San Diego's 1966-74 Western Hockey League team, 1990-95 International Hockey League team, 1995-2003 WCHL team and 2003- 2006 ECHL team.
The Feb. 6 announcement by the San Diego Gulls of the Western States Hockey League that they will change their nickname to the Sabres beginning with the 2015-16 season prompted U-T San Diego to report that it was a "foregone conclusion" that the AHL team would be named the Gulls.
The AHL version of the Gulls are San Diego's first professional hockey team since the ECHL Gulls folded in 2006 when negotiations to sell the team in time for the 2006-07 season failed.