San Diego Gulls Hockey


What should the Anaheim Ducks name their San Diego AHL team?

 San Diego Gulls 63% (3,024)

San Diego Admirals 15% (739)

San Diego Ducklings 3% (181)

San Diego Mighty Ducks 11% (528)

Other 5% (285)

Total votes4,757

Your NHL Anaheim Ducks AHL Affiliate




The Ducks announced their American Hockey League (AHL) club’s new name and logo in an ice-breaking ceremony at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego. Unveiled by owners Susan and Henry Samueli, and co-owner Jillian Samueli, the team was officially named the San Diego Gulls. The new logo pays homage to the legacy of the WCHL Gulls logo and features the Ducks color palette and other design elements, including the Ducks trademark windswept font. A touch of the signature Gulls blue was added to the Ducks color palette to embrace the hockey history and tradition of the community. The clubs new colors are orange, black, and blue.


After the official unveiling, owners Henry and Susan Samueli, along with Chief Executive Officer Michael Schulman, held a press conference with members of the media.


You were expecting a good turnout. What were your thoughts when you saw the amount of fans that came to the event?

Henry Samueli: We were elated. It took us literally an hour to get from the freeway off-ramp to the arena. We had big smiles on our faces because we knew all of these people were in line to get into the arena. It was very exciting for us. We’re very excited to bring it back because we know there’s a tradition here. We had been looking at moving a team here ever since we took over the Anaheim Ducks. It takes a lot of work to align the stars and get five teams to agree and get their leases to coincide at the same time. It took us 10 years of work to finally make this come to fruition. We’re so excited.


What does this mean for the growth of hockey in Southern California? It seems like this was a natural progression for you guys.

Susan Samueli: With what you saw, the people are here. The youth hockey that San Diego can provide is exactly what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to get young people to enjoy hockey. Now we’re in San Diego, so we’re just spreading the word about hockey from Orange County to San Diego County. We’re thrilled.


The location seems perfect with San Diego being only a train ride away from Honda Center.

Michael Schulman: When we sat with the other four teams to make a decision as to who was going to go where, we jumped in first and said we wanted San Diego. We’ve known all along this is the place we want to be. It’s a natural extension. We’ll be bussing up to Northern California for games, but this is exactly where we want to be.


What makes San Diego a good hockey market?

Michael Schulman: They’re great sports fans, they’re great baseball fans and great football fans. Hockey is just a natural extension to that. We already know their youth hockey is good because they’ve been begging us to join our high school league. They already have a roller hockey league which is stronger than the one we have up there. It’s already a given. They just needed a team to support.


How important is it to have success at the American Hockey League level?

Michael Schulman: This is where they learn the game. If they don’t go through the AHL, there has been a history where they don’t perform well. They need to be able to spend time and learn the game. A lot of the guys we draft come out right at 18 or 19. They need to come in and learn the game, and learn it right. As you can see, most of the people on our team came through the AHL.


Was there any chance the name would be anything other than the Gulls?

Susan Samueli: We were thinking of all kinds of things. The Admirals might’ve actually worked here very well, considering San Diego is a navy town, but we knew the tradition of hockey was here. The San Diego Gulls was perfect. The Anaheim Ducks and San Diego Gulls. It’s great.


What was the process of acquiring the name San Diego Gulls?

Henry Samueli: We had to go through a negotiation to acquire all the rights to the website, the name, and everything. We completed that, and it’s done. The Gulls name is secure.

How important was it to incorporate the old logo with the Anaheim Ducks branding?

Susan Samueli: We really wanted to keep the Anaheim Ducks colors, but we also wanted to make sure the brand worked with the San Diego Gulls. We worked very hard to incorporate the colors and the new logo.


Henry Samueli: If you look at the logo, we wanted to have the blue around it because blue is a very strong color in San Diego sports, so we added that. We kept the black and orange of traditional Ducks hockey, and of course, the main logo is almost identical to the original Gulls logo. We tried to keep the tradition and bring in the font style of the Ducks and the color orange of the Ducks, but maintain legacy and tradition with the Gulls logo. The color scheme is a blend of San Diego and Orange County sports.


New team could rekindle San Diego’s long love affair with the sport
By Chris Jenkins, Staff Writer, UT-San Diego, Jan. 19, 2015


At the time, four decades ago, official capacity at the San Diego Sports Arena was set at 13,363. That particular Saturday night, more than 14,000 tickets were sold to a hockey game, an impressive fact that the San Diego Gulls proudly shared on the public-address system.


“The fire marshal went berserk,” said Bruce Binkowski, the front-office employee who announced the attendance. “The next time we sold more than 14,000 seats, we only announced 13,363.”


The point is, there was a “next time.” The Gulls — despite playing in a much smaller city than it is today, a city that already had NFL and major league baseball teams, a sun-splashed beach town where the perfect climate screamed for people to stay outdoors and enjoy the warmth — often had folks flocking indoors to watch the best minor-league ice hockey available.


Looks, too, like there again will be a “next time” for professional hockey in San Diego.


From all indications, San Diego is part of a plan to establish a West Division of the American Hockey League, the primary provider of talent to the National Hockey League. Specifically, the first-place Anaheim Ducks are taking steps to move to San Diego their AHL franchise in that other big Navy town, the Norfolk (Va.) Admirals.


According to U-T sources, San Diego could have its AHL team in place by September. Along with the NHL’s other two California teams — the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks — the Ducks are determined to buy and set up their top minor-league team just a drive away for logistic and economic purposes.


Officials of the NHL, AHL and all teams involved basically have been sworn to secrecy on questions seeking details of the western migration of minor-league teams, but conceptually, the San Diego team ideally would be in an all-California, five-team division. The other cities noted as possible locales are Ontario, Bakersfield, Fresno and Stockton.

“Absolutely, it would be good for everybody, very much needed,” said Don Waddell, president of the company that owns the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes. “If this works out, it’s going to make things a lot better for NHL teams and a lot better for the players, and I think it would be good for hockey.


“I already know from my own experience what a solid fan base there is for hockey in San Diego. I was surprised by how strong it was when I got there.”


Waddell was head coach of the San Diego Gulls who reached the 1991 playoffs of the International Hockey League, then one of the two top minor leagues in North American hockey, but long since gone defunct. The AHL is now a veritable super-league just one level below the NHL, consisting of 30 teams split into six divisions.


Even as the eighth-largest city in the U.S. and second-largest in California, San Diego hasn’t had the wherewithal to land an NHL team. Certainly, the AHL would be the closest thing to it, literally and figuratively.


“You’d be getting a lot more young players with higher potential in a development league,” said Waddell, who frequently shuttles between the Canes’ headquarters in Raleigh, N.C., and their AHL team in Charlotte. “When I was in San Diego, we went for experience, older players. But I must see 100 AHL games a year and I see a skill level that’s higher, players who are faster.


“Every top player starts off in the American League. When you go to the old Sports Arena — is it still called the Sports Arena? — you’ll see players playing there one night and playing in the National Hockey League the next night.”


Actually, it’s called Valley View Casino Center, and it’s rapidly approaching its 50th year in the Midway area. The facility already has undergone the assessment stage as a prospective home of an AHL club, and according to one pro-hockey source, it’s been deemed game-ready.


For his part, Valley View Casino Center general manager Ernie Hahn would not confirm any of the above. Though he’s known to be the local ramrod for an AHL move to San Diego, Hahn declined to discuss the subject, but did respond when asked about the sport’s place in San Diego history.


“I just think there’s been a huge void in this town without professional hockey,” said Hahn. “People know what kind of passion we have for the game. When we did have the Gulls here, there were many nights that were just … electric.”


The Sports Arena’s debut event on Nov. 17, 1966, was a Gulls win over the Seattle Totems. Players didn’t wear helmets. Instead of plexiglass, a barrier of wire mesh ringed the top of the boards for the protection of fans from pucks and players alike.


The Gulls were in the Western Hockey League, filling a void of their own, since the National Hockey League still consisted of just a half-dozen teams and none of the “Original Six” were west of Chicago.


While expansion assigned NHL teams to Los Angeles and Oakland in 1967, the WHL remained the best hockey to be found everywhere else in the Pacific and Mountain time zones.

History was in the making in San Diego, too, in the person of Willie O’Ree. He was San Diego’s speed demon, a two-time scoring champion of the WHL, and a huge crowd favorite.

“We averaged around 7,500 in attendance back then, and for some games, it’d be packed with 13,000 people who truly loved hockey,” said O’Ree, who has lived in San Diego since his playing days. “You could feel the excitement when you got the puck on your stick. It made you want to do something special.”


He did. O’Ree, a black Canadian, went on to break the NHL’s color barrier with the Boston Bruins.


“That’s why the possibility of hockey coming back means a lot to me personally, because I have those memories of the heyday of hockey in San Diego, watching players like Willie O’Ree and Jack McCartan,” said Binkowski, the latter a reference to the Gulls goaltender who was a star of the U.S.’s gold-medal team at the 1960 Olympics in Squaw Valley. “If you were there, Saturday nights in January were really, really something.”


Binkowski, now the longtime director of the San Diego Bowl Game Association, since has announced games for the San Diego Whalers of the World Hockey Association and witnessed the many incarnations of the Gulls over 30 years. Over an eight-year span, the Gulls won eight Taylor Cups as West Coast Hockey League champions.


But then hockey faded in quality and incongruity — honestly, the San Diego Gulls in the East Coast Hockey League? — disappearing altogether in 2006. Even without pro hockey around for motivation, though, the game took hold at the grass-roots level in San Diego County.


Local rinks and youth hockey began producing players who, while generally having to play as teens in L.A. and move to colder climes to progress via the juniors ranks, have made it to the big time.


Chad Ruhwedel of San Diego is a young defenseman bouncing between the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres and their AHL affiliate in Rochester, N.Y. Scripps Ranch product Thatcher Demko, a Boston College goalie who has started for Team USA in world-championship tournaments, was a second-round pick by the Vancouver Canucks last spring.


“It’s a smart move by the Ducks for their own reasons, but I think this could create an even greater explosion in youth hockey here,” said Dan Ellison, who grew up watching the Gulls, spent 30 years with the San Diego Police Department and presently is USA Hockey’s chief of referees for the state of California. “I do think they’ll have to win some of San Diego back — just because of the way teams came and went and came and went here — but the level of hockey they’d bring would be at a much higher level than was here before.

“We’ve been hearing about pro hockey coming back for 10 years. This is getting a lot of people excited. There’s a buzz.”


Alert the fire marshal.

San Diego Gulls Teddy Bear Toss

The San Diego Gulls Teddy Bear Toss was a huge success. 15,174 teddy bears were collected via the San Diego
Regional Law Enforcement Teddy Bear Drive for Rady Children's Hospital.




San Diego Sports Arena Link  


The third San Diego Gulls team was founded in 1995 immediately upon departure of the IHL team of the same name. The new Gulls were a part of the West Coast Hockey League. The Gulls played at the San Diego Sports Arena.

The Gulls won five of the league's eight championships known as the Taylor Cup. On December 11, 2002, Danielle Dube became the third female goaltender to start in goal for a professional men’s team. Dube was the goalie for the San Diego Gulls in a 4-1 loss against the Long Beach Ice Dogs.  In 2003, the WCHL became the Pacific Division of the ECHL, formerly known as the East Coast Hockey League. In 2004, the Gulls became the ECHL affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche. As of June 29, 2006, the Gulls folded and released their players as free agents in 2006 following years of unprofitable seasons.

Throughout their WCHL stint and through their first year of ECHL play, the Gulls were coached by St. Cloud State University (Minnesota) alumnus Steve Martinson. Martinson left the Gulls and went on to coach the Rockford IceHogs of the UHL. Martin St. Amour, who was a star for the Gulls in their WCHL years replaced Martinson as head coach prior to the 2004–05 season. St. Amour stepped down in the middle of the 2005–06 season and was replaced by former Gulls players Jamie Black and B.J. MacPherson as co-coaches. The final starting goalie was Kevin Lentz. He went 20-1-1 in the final stretch of the regular season but retired due to a knee injury.






Taylor Cup - Playoff Champion, Founders Cup - Regular Season Champion



Taylor Cup - Playoff Champion, Founders Cup - Regular Season Champion



Taylor Cup - Playoff Champion, Founders Cup - Regular Season Champion



Taylor Cup - Playoff Champion, Founders Cup - Regular Season Champion



Taylor Cup - Playoff Champion



Brabham Cup - Regular Season Champion

Remember these guys? ....

Patrick Couture
Trevor Koenig
Steve Martinson
Sergejs Naumovs
Martin St. Amour
Stephan St. Amour
Mark Woolf

How about? ....



Many people know Willie O’Ree as the first black NHL player but did you know he was a very accomplished minor league forward? For those of us who grew up in San Diego with hockey in our blood, we were lucky to have O’Ree as our most popular player when the San Diego Gulls played in the Western Hockey League in the late sixties and into the mid-seventies.

O’Ree was one of the top scorers for the Gulls throughout his career, and in his final WHL season he scored 30 goals in 73 games. Five years later, O’Ree came out of retirement to play for the San Diego Hawks of the Pacific Coast League and scored 21 goals in 53 games – at the tender young age of 43. I had the privilege of watching many of O’Ree’s game that final season and even at his advanced age he was one of the PHL’s better players before the league folded in 1979.

When the San Diego Gulls were revived in the International Hockey League in 1990, and again in the West Coast Hockey League in 1996, both teams thought enough of O’Ree and his accomplishments to retire his #20. Even though we no longer have minor league hockey, Willie O’Ree will always be known around here as Mr. Gull and is as beloved in our community as Tony Gwynn.

Today O’Ree lives in the La Mesa area and is currently the director of diversity programs for the NHL.



How about? ....




Captain B.J. McPherson B.J.McPHERSON

I was a season ticket holder for years and hockey filled the void between football and baseball and added a level of passion and excitement not instilled by any of the
other sports. The NEW NHL Anaheim Ducks affiliate AHL team website at:  Also check out the current Minor League WSHL Gulls who play at the Iceoplex in Escondido.   Web Site at

Remember the Gulls Girls?  And our beloved Junior Seau.
They're back too!!!

Blind RefThe GULLS can win IN SPITE OF the AHL Referees!!!

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10.  Keeps telling the Goal Judge to "Get Ready!".
9.  Mask is painted like Malibu Barbie.
8.  On the net, with his squeeze bottle is a box of Kentucky Fried Chicken.
7.  Wearing Magooesque glasses over his mask.
6.  You find him in a fetal position in the corner of the net.
5.  Ice level microphone keeps picking up sounds of him praying.
4.  He's wearing a virtual reality mask.
3.  Keeps using his big stick to kill bugs on the ice.
2.  Technique in stopping breakaways: Fakes seizures.
1. Tries not to get hit by the puck!!!

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