The Ducks today announced their American Hockey League (AHL) club’s new name and logo in an ice-breaking ceremony at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego. Unveiled by owners Susan and Henry Samueli, and co-owner Jillian Samueli, the team was officially named the San Diego Gulls. The new logo pays homage to the legacy of the WCHL Gulls logo and features the Ducks color palette and other design elements, including the Ducks trademark windswept font. A touch of the signature Gulls blue was added to the Ducks color palette to embrace the hockey history and tradition of the community. The clubs new colors are orange, black, and blue.
After the official unveiling, owners Henry and Susan Samueli, along with Chief Executive Officer Michael Schulman, held a press conference with members of the media.
You were expecting a good turnout. What were your thoughts when you saw the amount of fans that came to the event?
Henry Samueli: We were elated. It took us literally an hour to get from the freeway off-ramp to the arena. We had big smiles on our faces because we knew all of these people were in line to get into the arena. It was very exciting for us. We’re very excited to bring it back because we know there’s a tradition here. We had been looking at moving a team here ever since we took over the Anaheim Ducks. It takes a lot of work to align the stars and get five teams to agree and get their leases to coincide at the same time. It took us 10 years of work to finally make this come to fruition. We’re so excited.
What does this mean for the growth of hockey in Southern California? It seems like this was a natural progression for you guys.
Susan Samueli: With what you saw, the people are here. The youth hockey that San Diego can provide is exactly what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to get young people to enjoy hockey. Now we’re in San Diego, so we’re just spreading the word about hockey from Orange County to San Diego County. We’re thrilled.
The location seems perfect with San Diego being only a train ride away from Honda Center.
Michael Schulman: When we sat with the other four teams to make a decision as to who was going to go where, we jumped in first and said we wanted San Diego. We’ve known all along this is the place we want to be. It’s a natural extension. We’ll be bussing up to Northern California for games, but this is exactly where we want to be.
What makes San Diego a good hockey market?
Michael Schulman: They’re great sports fans, they’re great baseball fans and great football fans. Hockey is just a natural extension to that. We already know their youth hockey is good because they’ve been begging us to join our high school league. They already have a roller hockey league which is stronger than the one we have up there. It’s already a given. They just needed a team to support.
How important is it to have success at the American Hockey League level?
Michael Schulman: This is where they learn the game. If they don’t go through the AHL, there has been a history where they don’t perform well. They need to be able to spend time and learn the game. A lot of the guys we draft come out right at 18 or 19. They need to come in and learn the game, and learn it right. As you can see, most of the people on our team came through the AHL.
Was there any chance the name would be anything other than the Gulls?
Susan Samueli: We were thinking of all kinds of things. The Admirals might’ve actually worked here very well, considering San Diego is a navy town, but we knew the tradition of hockey was here. The San Diego Gulls was perfect. The Anaheim Ducks and San Diego Gulls. It’s great.
What was the process of acquiring the name San Diego Gulls?
Henry Samueli: We had to go through a negotiation to acquire all the rights to the website, the name, and everything. We completed that, and it’s done. The Gulls name is secure.
How important was it to incorporate the old logo with the Anaheim Ducks branding?
Susan Samueli: We really wanted to keep the Anaheim Ducks colors, but we also wanted to make sure the brand worked with the San Diego Gulls. We worked very hard to incorporate the colors and the new logo.
Henry Samueli: If you look at the logo, we wanted to have the blue around it because blue is a very strong color in San Diego sports, so we added that. We kept the black and orange of traditional Ducks hockey, and of course, the main logo is almost identical to the original Gulls logo. We tried to keep the tradition and bring in the font style of the Ducks and the color orange of the Ducks, but maintain legacy and tradition with the Gulls logo. The color scheme is a blend of San Diego and Orange County sports.