For the team that played in the WHA from 1976 to 1979 and the CHL from 1979 to 1981, see Birmingham Bulls
The Birmingham Bulls was a minor professional ice hockey team in the East Coast Hockey League from 1992 to 2001. Their home arena was the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Center. The team moved to Atlantic City, New Jersey and was renamed the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies in 2001. After the 2005 season, the franchise was sold to a California investor group and became the Stockton Thunder, affiliated with the Edmonton Oilers of the NHL.
In the early part of 1991, Art Clarkson flirted with the idea of bringing professional hockey back to Birmingham. Clarkson, who owned the Birmingham Barons, knew of the popularity of the Bulls from the World Hockey Association days. In the summer of 1992, the Cincinnati Cyclones of the East Coast Hockey League relocated to Birmingham and was renamed the Bulls and played in the ice arena attached to the city's largest synagogue.
Bruce Garber was the team's first coach. The New Jersey Devils were the Bulls' NHL parent club. The Bulls finished 30-34, just missing the playoffs. After the inaugural season, Phil Roberto was named coach. He was familiar with Birmingham from his playing days with the earlier team. The club affiliated with the Florida Panthers. Roberto stayed with the team through the 1994-95 season. The Bulls made it through the second round of the playoffs each season. During the 1995-96 season, the Bulls changed coaches three times. Roberto was replaced by player-coach Jerome Buchard. Dennis Desrosiers finished the season as head coach.
Prior to the 1997-98 season, Clarkson sold his interest in the team. Charles Felix became the primary owner. Dennis Desrosiers was let go after the 1999-2000 season. They lost 18 of their last 20. The Bulls were forced to forfeit games, due to using ineligible players. Following the 2000-01 season, dwindling attendance and poor performance, owner Charles Felix sold the team to NBA owner George Shinn of the Charlotte Hornets. He relocated the team to Atlantic City, NJ, naming them the Boardwalk Bullies. The team won the Kelly Cup in their third season. They too relocated, this time to Stockton, California.
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