When the San Jose Sharks Mobile Shark Tank visited Valle Vista Elementary School on June 7, Fan Development Coordinators Erin Buchanan and Jeff Cafuir started off their program by asking three second-grade classes one simple question.
“How many kids have played street hockey before?” said Cafuir.
A couple hands popped up, but they were few and far between. The students, who were seated around the Mobile Shark Tank make-shift hockey rink, scanned their eyes over hockey goals, equipment, jerseys, and the Sharks SWAT style Ice Cream Truck in the distance. Cafuir then went on to his next question.
“How many kids have never played street hockey before?” he asked.
Immediately hands jolted up. With that, energy and excitement began to brew within the students. The anticipation of their first street hockey experience mixed with the sights of the excitement of all the hockey equipment. The kids’ enthusiasm multiplied when they learned of a possible guest appearance by the Sharks mascot, SJ Sharkie.
to see footage of the Mobile Shark Tank at Valle Visa Elementary.
Mobile Shark Tank (MST) is all about creating this type of positive athletic experience for elementary school students. The program, which Buchanan and Cafuir have headed for the past two years, is a way for the Sharks Fan Development Department to get out in the community and teach the sport of hockey to children who normally wouldn’t be involved in the sport.
“The MST allows us to expose hockey to kids who wouldn’t necessarily have the opportunity to play, while at the same time promoting fitness and teamwork among our youth,” explained Cafuir. “The most rewarding part about the MST is seeing the excitement on the kids faces as they are playing.”
Open to all elementary schools in the Bay Area, the Mobile Shark Tank is free and parents or teachers can apply for it online. To register your school, please email Erin Buchanan at firstname.lastname@example.org
. (Please note: due to the high demand for Mobile Shark Tank, not every request can be fulfilled.)
When MST visits a school, Buchanan and Cafuir use the Sharks Ice Cream Truck to transport a portable hockey rink consisting of one-foot-high light foam boards. These are set up on a blacktop area designated by the school to create a safe, non-competitive arena for students to play hockey. Equipment is also provided.
“We set up foam boarders and they form a hockey rink when they’re all put together,” said Buchanan. “We also have goals, sticks, jerseys, and pads for the goalies.”
A typical Mobile Shark Tank session lasts a little over two hours, allowing students to play numerous games of five-on-five hockey. And to the delight of all the students, every MST session in Santa Clara County ends with ice cream.
To find out more about Mobile Shark Tank, click here