By Birmingham Bulls
With the 2023-24 season opener coming up this Friday night at the Pelham Civic Complex, The Birmingham Bulls would like to announce that during the first intermission of Friday’s game, the organization be will retiring the first jersey number of the Birmingham Bulls.
We will look to the rafters to unveil that the #16 worn by former Bulls Captain, Jerome Bechard will be forever enshrined in Birmingham Bulls history. A Regina, Saskatchewan native, Bechard moved away from home to play Juniors at the age of 15 and was selected 115th overall in 1989 NHL Draft by the Hartford Whalers. He played 260 games for the Birmingham Bulls from 1992-96 recording 81 goals and 121 assists along with a staggering 1,361 penalty minutes. Jerome quickly became a fan favorite in Birmingham and was known as Jerome "Stay Out of My Yard" Bechard. His infectious hockey smile was the centerpiece of many pictures and even some fan giveaways. In the 1995-96 Season, Jerome joined the club of only 4 to become a Bulls Player, Captain and then Coach. After retiring as a player, he stayed in the South and became the head coach for the SPHL's Columbus Cottonmouths where he took a young player named Craig Simchuk under his wing. Following Bechard's tenure in Columbus, Simchuk signed on as the Captain for the Birmingham Bulls in 2017. In 2019, Simchuk retired as player and was named Head Coach for the Bulls in 2020. Simchuk then brought Bechard back to Birmingham as his interim Assistant Coach for that season. The student became the master when Simchuk was named the 2022-23 SPHL Coach of the Year while leading the Bulls to their second SPHL President's Cup Finals appearance since 2018.
"We are looking for to a great night of pro hockey in Birmingham remembering our history as we begin our journey to a SPHL President’s Cup Championship." says Bulls' President, Joe Stroud. The Bulls take on in-state rival the Huntsville Havoc this Friday night, October 20 for Opening Night at the Pelham Civic Complex.
The puck drops at 7:00pm with the first 1000 fans through gate receiving a Jerome "Stay Outta My Yard" Bechard bobblehead courtesy of the Chesser Team - Ridgeline Realty. Tickets are on now sale at Ticketmaster.