Petshark: Talking Stick
by petshark on 09/19/11 at 04:10 PM ET
Monday morning, Sharks Ice
The fact that all the wrist bands were given out yesterday, and the fact that so many people were here Saturday, has been mentioned in a few places. Fan attendance is important, obviously, and a whole lot easier on the weekends for most.
Still no Vlasic on the ice, but reason to believe he is in the building somewhere. So, safe to assume he’s not carrying the plague or anything. Get well soon, Pickles.
This morning I asked a few of the fans some questions about who why and where… It seemed like the thing to do. I went looking for said people in the rink where the team was scheduled to warm up. Heemskerk and Sateri were on the ice early, working with their coaches. Shortly after 9 am, the rest of the skaters arrived and started with some short passing drills.
Most people today were in pairs or alone. I approached a couple of pairs first.
The first pair of fans I talked to were hockey fans only, no other sport interested them. They are local now but she was in Boston before. She didn’t follow hockey much there, but says that now: “more than any other game, I know hockey.” .
He has been a Sharks fan for about 10 years, born in Boston but raised here. What does he like about the Sharks? Success. He goes to 3-4 games a year, would like to be able to afford more, but watches most all the games on tv.
He says he isn’t sure he wouldn’t be a fan of some other team if he lived somewhere else.
The team started practicing chasing the puck into the zone and retrieving it. We notice that the acoustics are funny in the North rink, you’ll hear McLellan’s voices as a vague hum, then it will snap into crystal clear audio and then pop back out again. That’s why I know his voice was a little hoarse this morning. He really needs a bullhorn. Or a lapel mic.
The next folks I talked to actually worked at Sharks Ice. No fair not wearing name tags or something (jk). They did fill me in. Anyway, they both came to work here because they did have a strong interest in hockey. He has been here about 6 mos, her about a year. She plays hockey, he is learning to skate.
Of being here at Training Camp, she says this is “my own personal heaven.” I know how she feels, except I guess we’re sharing it now.
What do they like about the Sharks?
Her: “I like that they are family oriented.” Him: They’re the local team.
Next I approached some people there on their own. I started with a woman holding a big camera. She looked like a serious fan.
She is from Sausalito originally, lives in SJ now, since just before the lockout. She lived within walking distance of HP so she started going to games just out of curiosity. Now she and a friend get the 10 pack each year. They’ve been to Chicago to see the Sharks play there.
She says the access fans have to the team is part of the “coolest things about hockey: it’s sort of a sport of the people.”
What she likes about the Sharks: she said she hasn’t had the chance to get to know any other team, so she can’t say she wouldn’t like them as much as she likes the Sharks. She appreciates that when fans get to meet the team, they can truly “chat with players.”
Who is she looking forward to seeing play? “Dan Boyle is always my favorite…looking forward to seeing how Burns fits into D this year.”
She used to figure skate but hasn’t done much lately. She’s trying to get back into it, enjoys the sense of freedom it gives her.
During the scrimmage, the line combos that stayed pretty stable were the Pavs-Paddy-Jumbo line, the Coutch-Clowe-Ferriero line, the McGinn-Zus-Mitchell line. Also Acolatse stayed with Pelech, the 3Ms stayed together (Mashinter, McCarthy, MacIntyer), Braun was mostly with Irwin. Sgarbossa-Wingels-Guite, Livingston-Gogol-Moon, Connolly-Reid-Hamilton.
The D men moved around a lot, whether by design or shift change lags I don’t know. Even Boyle and Murray didn’t seem to spend much time on the ice together. Burns and Vandermeer were together a little more often than not but they both cropped up elsewhere too.
The last person I talked to was from Santa Rosa, lives in SF now. He discovered hockey because he had friends who were hockey people- they played, their kids played, they watched the games, etc. He started following the Sharks around the time Nabokov came to SJ. He had watched Red Wings games before that and liked that the Sharks had a “different team mentality, an underdog thing.” I pointed out that they can’t really be called underdogs anymore and he said “True, but this is the reward for that hard work.” He is looking forward to seeing Burns play, and Boyle is one of his favorites, ever since he joined the team.
He has been at all three days of training camp, he comes every year now. “I can’t believe the organization gives you this kind of access,” he said, speaking of how players take time with fans, and how much fans are able to watch of the practice time on the ice.
More than one person I talked to said that they like how the players are “normal,” and they know this because of the access fans have to Sharks players at events like this. Normal people. I know what they mean, I just think it’s kind of funny that they used that word. It also makes me think about Abby Normal’s brain.
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About Petshark: Talking Stick
Native of Northern California. Hockey fan since 1998... sort of... there's a hiatus in there that I still can't explain.
I want to know about anything and everything related to the sport and the spectacle. I watch, I react, I write it down.
My interest in the Sharks was initially a matter of geographic convenience and regional loyalty because that seemed to be how it worked. I had no prior interest (at all-- AT ALL) in professional sports of any kind. When I met hockey, it might have set off a chain reaction of general sports fandom. It hasn't, I don't think it will. At all.
Since then, that interest developed into full blown (mostly sort of usually almost completely) exclusive loyalty to the Sharks.
I started blogging a couple years ago on wordpress. I still occasionally put things there that I don't think fit here because they are not about the Sharks. Wherever my words wander, here on Kuklas Korner, they will (usually) hang on to a teal thread.
I can be found in cyberspace on Twitter @petshark47, or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org