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Sharks hosting displaced Fort McMurray family

Foley, relatives in attendance for Game 4 of Western Conference Final

by Pat Pickens @Pat_Pickens / Staff Writer

When Billy Foley, a native of Fort McMurray, Alberta, received an autographed jersey from San Jose Sharks mascot Sharkie, he thought his favorite team had done more than enough for him.

Sharks general manager Doug Wilson managed to do more for Foley and his family, who are displaced by the wildfires in northern Alberta.

Foley, his parents, brother and girlfriend are in San Jose on Saturday as guests of the Sharks for Game 4 of the Western Conference Final against the St. Louis Blues at SAP Center (7:15 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

"[Wilson] called me and said he wanted to send me and my family out to the game, and I was in shock," Foley told on Saturday. "I wasn't expecting that much support from my favorite team. I still can't believe I'm here."

The Fort McMurray blaze, which started May 1 and was only contained Friday, displaced more than 100,000 Albertans and burned the Foleys' home to the ground. When authorities called for a mandatory evacuation, Foley was at work but texted his girlfriend to pack his Sharks jerseys.

Tweet from @MorganAshley87: Lost the house in the #ymm fire. Saved the jerseys! @sjsharkie @SanJoseSharks @NHL

When Foley's sister's tweet went viral, Sharkie sent an autographed jersey to him, and Los Angeles Kings mascot Bailey sent a Logan Couture game-used stick.

"I thought that was more than enough," Foley said.

Less than a week later, Wilson called Foley and invited him and his family to the conference final. They arrived Friday, with Sharkie and other members of the organization greeting them at San Jose International Airport with personalized Sharks jerseys, and a group of Bay Area media there to interview them.

Tweet from @SanJoseSharks: Meeting his favorite player, Jumbo, & getting a signed @Burnzie88 stick were highlights of @BillyFoley12's night.

The family ate dinner at Britannia Arms, an English pub in San Jose, and former Sharks great Owen Nolan picked up the tab. The Sharks have special plans for Foley during the game, but he said he did not know what was in store.

Tweet from @SharksCare: .@SharksCare to collect monetary donations at doors of today's game for Fort McMurray relief efforts. #SJSharks

Foley, who was temporarily living in Lac La Biche, Alberta, was able to return to Fort McMurray briefly last week, and although he did not see much of the devastation, it was enough to upset him. Still, San Jose reaching the conference final for the first time since 2011 has provided a welcomed respite.

"I haven't missed a game," he said. "We didn't get cable, but I hooked up a laptop to my TV and watching the games got me distracted and my mind off all the chaos."

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