New San Diego Gulls Team Opens Hockey Season This Weekend
The San Diego Gulls will kick off their 2015-16 inaugural season at the Valley View Casino Center this Saturday.
But this Gulls team is different from the one that folded in 2006. It will bring top-tier hockey players to San Diego.
After three different owners and four different leagues spanning 49 years, the San Diego Gulls may have found a long-term home in the American Hockey League.
The 80-year-old league, which is dubbed as the AAA affiliate of the National Hockey League, expanded five teams to California in 2015.
Under ownership of the Samueli family, the new Gulls franchise will serve as the primary farm team to the NHL's Anaheim Ducks — about an hour-and-a-half drive up Interstate 5.
Fans can expect to see much more talent coming through San Diego, according to Jay Paris of The Mighty 1090.
"This is one step below Broadway and these players are either 'this close' to the NHL or have already been up there," said Paris. "You can say it's the second-best hockey league in the world."
The Valley View Casino Center, where the Gulls will play, went through major off-season renovations including a new video-screen, an upgraded sound system, and 10 new local food vendors.
Saturday, in front of a sellout crowd, the Gulls will face the Grand Rapids Griffins in their first game since 2006.