Reaction to the pending demolition of Stagg Memorial Stadium has made some nostalgic for Friday nights watching high school football under the lights and Saturday afternoons and evenings watching the Pacific Tigers play football. The 64-year-old relic will be razed to make room for tennis courts, a soccer field and a field hockey playing suface.
Obviously, the $5 million renovation project means the end of Pacific football,which was discontinued in1995. Two years ago, when the university announced it was closing Stagg Stadium to the public, the Record sports staff produced comprehensive articles and a video in conjunction with the university’s announcement.
The work below goes into the history of the stadium and Pacific’s reasons for closing the structure.
Goalie Parker Milner and a determined Stockton Thunder defense put on quite a display In front of a huge, light saber-waving crowd at Stockton Arena.
Milner earned a 1-0 shutout versus Utah, his second of the season. He made a single goal by Greg Miller stand up and got plenty of help from his blue liners, especially alternate captain Ryan Constant, who saved the game with 16 seconds to go.
The Grizzlies pulled goalie Aaron Dell and got exactly what they wanted — the puck loose on one side of the net and Milner tied up on the other side. But Constant quickly jumped in and cleared the puck, basically icing the game.
It was the most significant play during a standout performance by the Thunder D. And it was the first chance Stockton fans had to see 6-foot-4 Islanders prospect Andrey Pedan,who will be a big help as long as he’s here.
About the fans — Star Wars Night drew a season-high 8,702 to Stockton Arena, many dressed up as characters. It gave the rink a goofy, fun vibe, and they were rewarded with a well-played win by the home team.
Which of course, was a big part of the problem. Not enough people visited the Bulls’ well-past-retirement-age antiquated arena to get to know you. That, combined with other financial woes and the failure to get an infusion of cash were the reasons the Bulls ceased operations.
Their six games still scheduled with the Thunder will be reassigned to other teams. Here’s a few observations about the failure of the Bulls:
* The 73-year-old Cow Palace wasn’t a great place for a team when the Sharks played there in the 1990s, and it didn’t get better with age. A new scoreboard didn’t change that.
* Although the Bulls drew just over 2,200 a game, their loyal fans are disappointed. The players who signed with them are now searching for employment. And anytime a team has to close shop in the middle of a season, its a blow to the league.
* It’s troubling that the Bulls final interaction with its fans was to tell them they has until Feb. 28 to ask for a refund for purchased tickets. I’m assuming the Bulls had representatives calling people to sell tickets over the past two years, yet those same fans have to call to get their money back after the franchise didn’t deliver its promised product. That’s bull-you-know-what.
* It’s nice to have teams named after big cities, it looks good. But it doesn’t always work, as San Francisco and Chicago Express have shown in recent years. To be fair, the Cincinnati Cyclones are an example of a big-city team doing fine. But a medium-sized market with a decent venue and a desire for pro sports is still the best bet for success.
* The feeding frenzy to grab the Bulls good players has begun as the Florida Everblades signed defenseman Eriks Sevcenko on Tuesday. They have a few forwards the Thunder should look at, such as Dean Ouellet and Brett Findlay.
Rich Kromm was clearly not happy about the officiating in the third period of the Thunder’s 4-2 loss to San Francisco on Friday.
Was he correct?
To a point. And the problem was more about what wasn’t called than what was.
First, it should be noted that officials can be an easy excuse, and Stockton had plenty of chance to at least tie the game in regulation before San Francisco sealed the deal with a late empty-net goal. Still, this game was not well officiated.
After JM McNulty’s crew laid off the whistle much of the game, Stockton was called for three quick penalties. The result was two San Francisco power play goals (one a 5-on-3), and the Thunder never caught up.
Frankly, I didn’t have a problem with two of the three penalties. The too many men call was obvious, and a slashing on Nathan Deck was pretty clear. Not as sure about a slash on Garet Hunt, but I didn’t get a great look at it.
But those were the only three penalties of the third period, and that was ridiculous.
There were a few you could have called on SF, and should have. I counted a hold against Thunder defenseman Ryan Constant that gets called in youth leagues, and there was a couple of others.
Who knows if Stockton scores on any of the possible power plays, and inconsistent officiating is something you have to overcome.
It’s not an excuse. But facts are facts, and the officials were not consistent on Friday.
Friday’s game will certainly look different at Stockton Arena. But will it play different?
The Thunder and San Francisco Bulls will play on the Stockton Arena ice which is adorned with paintings of more than 800 youngsters, courtesy of the “Kids Take Over Stockton Arena” promotion following Sunday’s 5-1 Stockton win against the Bulls. The ice is literally covered with youth grafitti, and it looks really cool.
But will it affect the players. Stockton practiced on it for the first time on Wednesday, and admitted it was different.
“It took a little getting used to, and at first it was a little tricky to see the puck,” Thunder captain Garet Hunt said. “But you make adjustments, and it was great to do for the kids. It will be the same for both teams.”
Said goalie Brian Foster: “It will be a little different at first. But once we get playing, I don’t think it will be that big of a deal.”
After Friday’s game, the paintings will be cleared from the ice.
Before a bunch of youngsters went out and painted its ice with everything from flowers to turtles, the Thunder finished 2013 with a very good performance.
It beat the S.F. Bulls 5-1 at Stockton Arena, thanks mostly to a four-goal first period and a fine outing by goalie Parker Milner, who got a much-needed win.
The game turned early when Matt Bergland scored and James Henry contributed a shorthanded goal, which was a back breaker for the Bulls. Mike Dalhuisen, Nick Larson and Landon Oslanski also scored, and Milner took care of the rest and had 31 saves.
This was the third out of what amounts to a five-game series between the franchises, and it got pretty nasty on Sunday. There was four fights — Thunder captain Garet Hunt had two — and plenty of shoving and pushing.
Sunday was “Kids Takes Over” Day at the arena, with children taking up various jobs around the arena such as announcing, running the music board, etc. It was a fun event, and at the end of the game they were allowed on the ice to paint it. The Thunder and Bulls will play on the newly decorated ice on Friday.
The Thunder won its first game in 13 days on Saturday, and will get a chance to enjoy it for a little while.
Stockton beat the Idaho Steelheads 4-3 to end a five-game winless streak. It was the Thunder’s first real slump of the season, and it certainly had its ugly moments. After a very busy November, the team also gets to slow down, schedule-wise.
It doesn’t play against until next Saturday, when it meets the San Francisco Bulls at the Cow Palace. On Dec. 15 Stockton hosts the Bakersfield Condors.
At the Dec. 15 game, the franchise is holding a “Diaper Drive.” Fans are encouraged to bring a pack of diapers (no loose diapers) to the game, and those who do will receive a $3 off voucher to any regular season home game.The diapers will be donated to the Stockton Shelter for the Homeless.
The Ontario Reign won its third consecutive game against the Stockton Thunder, but it needed an eight-round shootout to pull it off.
Ontario’s Matt Register scored in the top of the eighth round and Stockton couldn’t respond as the Reign won 3-2 Wednesday in front of a crowd of 9,584 at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario.The teams meet again Friday at Stockton Arena.
The Thunder (11-4-2) fell behind 2-1 in the third period, but was able to force overtime when Greg Miller scored 9:03 into the period. It was less than a minute after Everett Sheen had given the Reign (11-2-4) the lead.
Brett Beebe gave Ontario a 1-0 lead in the fifth round of the shootout, but Brayden Irwin staved off defeat for the Thunder by tying it up. After Register’s score, J.P. Burkemper couldn’t convert for Stockton.
Stockton goalie Brian Foster still hasn’t lost in regulation in 11 games (9-0-2) and had 43 saves. Michael Hutchinson of Ontario (9-1-2) had 37 saves.
There will be an extended game story and preview of the next game in The Record’s Friday edition.
Brad Phillips was out of hockey for a year, and finally made it back into the pro game on Sunday. He played well and got plenty of support in the Thunder’s 4-3 win.
He was brought in after Parker Milner was promoted to Bridgeport. Stockton was scheduled to play four times in five days, and that’s too much to ask of the exceptional Brian Foster.
Instead Foster played three in four days and won them all. Phillips’ job was to shake off the rust and give the Thunder a chance to stay in the game and have a chance to win, which he did well. Interestingly, all three goals he allowed were on his glove (left) hand.
But he hung tough until Andrew Clark came up with the game winner. He’s here at least a few weeks, perhaps longer, and it was a very nice start.
Bob Highfill has worked in The Record's sports department since 1990. He has covered a variety of sports, including high schools, Pacific and professional sports. In 2006, he was named sports editor. Bob is a graduate of Lincoln High and the ... Read Full
Linesburgh has been a member of The Record's sports department since 1988. A native of Wantagh, N.Y., he has covered the Stockton Thunder hockey franchise since its inception in 2005 and has spent more than two decades reporting on motorsports and ... Read Full