S.J. Sharkie may have some competition for intensity during hockey games. The members of the FinAtical Kids Club are joining the ranks of hardcore Sharks fans everywhere. With more than 400 members signed up in just under two months, the club has been a hit for the younger generation of hockey fans in the Bay Area.
The program is aimed at youth under 16 years of age, and the youngest member is two months old! In previous seasons, fans of any age were part of a large Sharks fan club.
“We wanted to gear a club more towards the younger age range. This program is designed specifically for kids,” said Fan Development Coordinator Jeff Cafuir, who oversees the new kids club.
The club launched in December 2005 with sign ups during Sharks games and online. On Saturday, January 28, the fan club was set up at Logitech Ice for the entire day, reaching out to the younger generation of hockey lovers. Kids skating with club teams or recreationally were able to join on the spot.
The membership is good through August 2006 and includes a monthly newsletter, chances to win a raffle during every home game, as well as participation in a private skate party with S.J. Sharkie, all for $14.95. Members also receive a pack full of Sharks memorabilia, including a Sharks yearbook, a temporary tattoo, a thunder stick to make noise during the games, a puck signed by Sharkie, and a certificate acknowledging membership. The first 300 kids to sign up received a demo disk of the new release, PlayStation NHL Gretzky 2006.
So far the program has been a huge success. More private club events are planned for February and March. The FinAtical Kids Club continues to be promoted at home games through announcements and giveaways.
“We give away a free membership to two select kids during home games,” said Coordinator of Fan Development Erin Buchanan, who expects to plan ahead with an earlier start time for sign up for next year in hopes of recruiting more members.
When asked why the club was created this year, Buchanan said, “We needed a fan focus on the kids since they are so important to the future of hockey’s fan base.”
The FinAtical Kids Club hopes to continue its growth the rest of this year and next. The hardest working fish in the NHL may have to watch out. There could be a future SJ Sharkie among the crowd.