|Home Arena:||Stockton Arena|
|Colors:||Black, gold, silver, white
|Owner(s):||SC Hockey Franchise Corp.|
|General Manager:||Dan Chapman|
|Head Coach:||Matt Thomas|
|Affiliates:||Edmonton Oilers (NHL)|
San Jose Sharks (NHL)
Springfield Falcons (AHL)
Worcester Sharks (AHL)
|1990 to 1992:||Cincinnati Cyclones|
|1992 to 2001:||Birmingham Bulls|
|2001 to 2005:||Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies|
|2005 to present:||Stockton Thunder|
The Stockton Thunder are a minor league professional ice hockey team from Stockton, California. The Thunder are a member of the ECHL, and began playing in the 2005–06 season. The Stockton Arena is their home ice. Stockton is an affiliate team of the Edmonton Oilers and the San Jose Sharks of the National Hockey League.
Franchise history[edit | edit source]
Cincinnati, Birmingham and Atlantic City[edit | edit source]
The Stockton Thunder franchise began as the first incarnation of the Cincinnati Cyclones, who were an expansion franchise that joined the East Coast Hockey League in 1990. The Cyclones would reach the Riley Cup playoffs in their first two seasons, reaching the semifinals in the 1991-92 season. Following the 1991-92 season, Cincinnati's owner Doug Kirchhofer was granted an expansion franchise in the International Hockey League and took all Cyclones colors, logos and monikers to be adopted by his future Cincinnati IHL franchise.
The ECHL moved the franchise rights that had been held by Kirchhofer to Birmingham, Alabama. The new franchise was named the Birmingham Bulls, named after the former former World Hockey Association franchise that played in Birmingham from 1976–79. The Bulls played their home games at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex from 1992 until 2001. The Bulls would make the playoffs five out of their nine seasons in Birmingham, reaching the Riley Cup semifinals during the 1993-94 season.
Following the 2000-01 season, the Birmingham Bulls would move to Atlantic City, New Jersey and become the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies. The Bullies would find success quickly in the ECHL, reaching the Conference Finals during the 2002 Kelly Cup playoffs and winning the Northeast Division title the following season. The Bullies would continue their streak through the 2003 Kelly Cup playoffs, winning the Kelly Cup after defeating the Columbia Inferno, 4 games to 1. Despite winning a division crown and making playoff appearances in all of their four seasons in New Jersey, including the 2003 Kelly Cup championship, the Bullies were unable to maintain a large average attendance. Following the 2004-05 season, the Bullies were sold to an ownership group out of Stockton, California that moved the team into Stockton Arena which was to open during the 2005-06 season.
Stockton Thunder[edit | edit source]
The Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies were relocated to Stockton following the 2004-05 season and the franchise was named the Stockton Thunder after Thunder beat out Brawlers, Fog, Skate, Spears and Stallions in a name the team contest. Before the 2006-07 season, the Thunder reached an affiliation agreement with the National Hockey League's Edmonton Oilers to be their secondary affiliate after the American Hockey League's Springfield Falcons. Midway through the 2009-10 season, the Thunder would pick up a second NHL affiliate following an agreement with the San Jose Sharks and their AHL farm team, the Worcester Sharks.
In January 2007, the Thunder and Stockton Arena were chosen to host the 2008 ECHL All-Star Game. Three Thunder players, Ryan MacMurchy, Brad Farynuk and Andy Contois, were selected to the National Conference's All-Star team. The National Conference would win the exhibition, defeating the American Conference 10–7 and Victoria Salmon Kings' forward Ash Goldie was named the game's Most Valuable Player.
In February 2010, Stockton Hockey Franchise Group, Inc. sold the team to SC Hockey Franchise Corp., headed by Canadian oil executive Brad Rowbotham and the ECHL Board of Governors unanimously approved the transfer of controlling interest in April, 2010.
Since relocating to Stockton, four alumni have played in the NHL as of January 2009.
References[edit | edit source]
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