SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The famous Shark Head has arrived at Levi's Stadium. Now it's really a San Jose Sharks home game.
Even though there is no roof at Levi's Stadium, meaning there is no way to drop the Shark Head to the ice to make the famous entry way for the home team as they have at SAP Center, the Sharks still decided the 2015 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday (10 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports 2) couldn't go on without their most recognizable symbol on site.
The Shark Head was transported from SAP Center to Levi's Stadium on Thursday.
"Our fans love it, and the players love skating through the shark head," Sharks chief operating officer John Tortora told NHL.com. "We had to find a way to incorporate the Shark Head into the stadium-game experience."
They did, but not exactly how Sharks fans have come to know it.
Instead of watching the Sharks skate through the Shark Head before the game Saturday, fans will have the chance to get their pictures taken inside the Shark Head during the three-hour Spectator Plaza Pregame Rally outside of the stadium.
"This way a staple of our brand is here, and we're able to share it with our fans even though it can't be incorporated into the game," Tortora said.
Getting the Shark Head to Levi's Stadium on Thursday was the biggest challenge. The move involved loading the 17-foot open shark mouth onto the bed of a tractor trailer and driving approximately nine miles, including a stretch of six miles on U.S. Route 101.
The problem was the Shark Head, built in 1993, wasn't meant to be transported. It wasn't even meant to last this long, Tortora said.
"It was originally designed to be for the first few home games or just the first season [at SAP Center], but it was so popular that the team kept it and it's been a staple now for almost 25 years," Tortora said. "But it's still the original Shark Head.
"There was some concern if we had to transport it. It's never been transported. It's always been raised up and raised down, a little maintenance here and there. But if we had to transport it, how would we do that? On a trailer, but it's kind of an awkward piece of equipment and it's heavy. How would it work driving down the highway?
"It worked out fine today."
Anybody driving down the 101 could easily see the Shark Head on the back of the tractor trailer. It was broken into three pieces to be better equipped for the transport.
"It was definitely clearly visible," Tortora said. "And we had a GoPro put on to the Shark Head so our digital team got the footage for our website of the Shark Head traveling."
Tortora estimated that it cost the organization $5,000 to move the Shark Head, but he said it was a no-brainer because of the impact it has had on the fans here for nearly a quarter century.
"That was one we had to make part of the experience," Tortora said. "You've gotta do it."