One of the biggest myths for sports fans is that there is an offseason.
Before you start to disagree, allow me to explain. I am obviously aware that seasons end and that there are long and frustrating months until the next one begins. (Side note: Is it October yet?) But the idea that the off-season is a vacation in which nothing important gets done is wrong.
I won't even debate on how much work professional players put in during the off-season. However, I will point out a solid article from Tim Grover in SI who suggests every locker room should have this notice:
OFFSEASON DOESN'T MEAN TAKE THE SEASON OFF.
IT MEANS YOU'RE OFF ON YOUR OWN UNTIL NEXT SEASON.
There's a similar sentiment for the business side of sports. After the announcement was made that I was joining the Sharks, many of the congratulations I received included a comment that I should be happy that I now get the summer off. A nine-month sports job should be so much more relaxing than my former year-round tech one.
Only that's not close to being true.
Since we stopped playing hockey, we've already had more than a dozen events in the SAP Center including Andrea Bocelli, President Bill Clinton and the Bollywood show DA-BANGG. All of those events require essentially the same level of work as a hockey game. Said another way, our year consists of about 175 total events - not just the 41 regular season Sharks home games.
Yes, there are fewer events during the summer. But we use that time to invest in the building. We recently cleaned out the York chillers that freeze the ice and cool the arena. That should sound cool because it definitely is. There are also only a few short months to upgrade the building without negatively impacting the fan experience. Over this summer, we will be installing new arena lighting which improves the appearance of the game on television and allows us to change lighting colors and intensity more quickly than before.
There's really not much of a lull when it comes to hockey either. Consider the week of June 17. In just that one week, the 2018-19 schedule was announced, NHL team meetings happened in Vegas, AHL team meetings happened in Des Moines, and the NHL Entry Draft happened in Dallas. Oh yeah, and our GM, Doug Wilson, pulled off a pretty big trade.
While others might be headed to the beach this summer, we have lots of work to do to get ready for the October 3 opening day. We're traveling to players' homes to create episodes of Off Days, we're creating bobbleheads and other giveaways, and we're redesigning the Sharks365 program to provide better service to our most loyal fans. There's also the launch of the new alternative jersey which I can't tell you about because it's still in stealth mode.
Stealth mode is an apt metaphor for all us at the Sharks. You may not be seeing us every day like you do during the season but we're still here. We're Sharks for Life, just like you.
Even during the so-called off-season.