By Scott Mason
On Wednesday March 7th the San Francisco Bulls formally announced their expansion team as part of the Eastern Coast Hockey League in the historically famous Cow Palace located in Daly City. My cameraman, Marlon, and I arrived in the morning to greet Pat Curcio, the president and head coach of the SF Bulls. Pat was excited and nervous, as was his entire staff. They have had their elbows to the grindstone for over 4 months in preparation for this big day. The Bulls mascot, Rawhide, was now warming up his skating skills as the press was to shortly arrive. Rawhide was surprisingly elegant as the comically large “bull in a hockey jersey” body suit casually spun webs of cut ice.
A few months ago, I had filmed Pat giving a radio interview on the Lamont and Tonelli morning show at SF’s 107.7 The Bone. They announced the Mascot’s winning name “Rawhide”, which was a public competition. Now the famously hilarious radio duo were among the first to enter the Cow Palace and volunteered to be the press conference MCs, shaking Pat’s hand and easing the mood.
Marlon set up his AF100 with a 14-140mm zoom. Next to us was a shooter form KTVU Fox 2. It was just the two of us and we were wondering if any other news crews were going to show up. The KTVU shooter had a standard TV station Beta SP Camera. Marlon pointed out that back in the day those cameras cost around $35,000. We wondered why the networks haven’t transitioned from tape to digital and surmised that because Betacam SP remains an industry standard in post production it would require a big overhaul to make the switch.
Up until now we weren’t sure what kind of crowd to expect. After all, the last minor league hockey team to hit the ice at the Cow Palace was the SF Spiders. They lasted one year from 1995-1996 before the franchise folded, which was also the beginning of the end for the International Hockey League they played in. One of the former Spiders players, Dave Maley, was in the line up to speak on the Bulls behalf. Dave had finished out his career at the Cow Palace and said it was one of the most fun years he had ever experienced playing hockey, which was quite the compliment considering he took home a Stanley Cup with the Montreal Canadiens in 1986.
Tensions finally eased as news channels started pouring in, CBS, NBC, ESPN just to name a few. They all angled in on our spot but Marlon and I held our ground. We were the new guys but, ironically, we were also the only ones to bring gaffer tape when they needed in to lay audio cable lines down from the cameras to the podium. Marlon and I chuckled as we were the only ones with a wireless lavalier microphone set up on the podium. Good thing, too, as Marlon mentioned that if everyone had a lav it could create some interference between wireless feeds. So maybe it’s best to let the big boys stick with their Beta set ups and XLR cables.
Check out our video! It was great to see the room packed, entertaining speakers and Rawhide goofing off after the jersey unveiling, naturally. It looks like the SF Bulls will be charging full steam into their regular season opener this October. And we’ll be there to capture it – so stay tuned for more!
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