Earlier this month, we published a cover story taking you inside the locker room and onto the ice with the San Francisco Bulls. The minor-league hockey team overcame a number of stumbling blocks while rehabbing the "historic" (their words) Cow Palace, and also encountered some stumbles out on the ice in the season's early going.
But the team has now put together four consecutive wins, and fans seem to be pleased with what they're seeing. With the National Hockey League on indefinite hiatus due to yet another excruciating lockout, the Bulls are the only show on ice around here. For the price of a movie ticket, you can watch professional sports, large men beating one another, and, on Nov. 9, the above scene. Yes, that's the team pushing a broken-down Zamboni machine off the ice -- which is probably not something you'd see millionaire NHL stars troubling themselves with.
Observing pro athletes hauling malfunctioning machinery, along with "chuck-a-puck" and the between-period "Dead or Canadian?" quiz would appear to be part of the allure of minor league hockey.
Zamboni driver Joe Ceccotti laughed when asked about the 1969-model Zamboni's on-ice mishap.
See Also: Puck Yeah: Taking the Ice with the San Francisco Bulls
"What happened is the connecting pin between the gearshift and the foot pedal came loose -- so I just couldn't get into gear," he recalls.
He was quickly surrounded by a herd of Bulls to escort him off the ice. And one, in fact, is an NHL player -- Theo Peckham. "Peckham was telling me 'give it some gas!'" says Ceccotti. "I told him I didn't have any gas."
The next day, Ceccotti and his staff spent several hours fixing up the Zamboni. At 43 years old, it's not exactly good as new -- but it's working just fine again.
The Bulls' other Zamboni, incidentally, hails from the early 1990s, and was the San Jose Sharks' original machine when they played at the Cow Palace. "So we drive around on two pieces of history," notes Ceccotti.
And, sometimes, the team pushes history.