Monday evening the Sharks returned back to Sharks Ice at San Jose, but it had nothing to do with hockey. The players joined front office members and the Sharks Foundation to do the most important thing for the holidays and step out to help out those less fortunate. It is always one of the best nights of the season for people involved with the organization.
“It’s a great event,” said Ryane Clowe
. “The guys love doing it and we look forward to it. It’s great to see the families and hopefully we have a little impact.”
“You never have to pull teeth to get people to this event and they are smiling to the end,” said Laura Johnston of the Sharks Foundation. “It’s a lot of fun hearing someone say thanks for giving me Christmas.”
The players were all teamed up with families who are a little less fortunate during these difficult times. However for this one night, the Sharks players did their best to make everyone attending feel like the most important people in San Jose.
The festivities began with an open skating session for the youth involved and for a good portion of them, it was their first time on skates. Many of the players joined the youngsters on the ice for conversation or, in some cases, to simply help hold them up.
“This was her first time skating,” said Kent Huskins of the daughter in the family he sponsored. “I think she was more excited about that anything.”
The on-ice session was followed by a catered meal from Outback Steakhouse during which the players sat with their families for the entire meal in Stanley’s.
The final stage of the night came when the families moved downstairs and headed to the Sharks Ice entry way where there were bags of presents from the players and Sharks staff.
The shopping was completed by the players, their wives and girlfriends and the staff themselves after receiving the list of desired items.
“The kids were really excited to see the gifts and hopefully they got what they wanted,” said Marc-Edouard Vlasic
. “It was nice to see the smiles on their faces.”
The event is an annual affair for the Sharks, but it was the first time attending for Huskins.
“I’ve never been to an event quite like this,” said Huskins. “We had the chance to sit with them at dinner. It was great to get to know a little about them and for them to get to know a little about you.”
When the night concluded, everyone from the participants to the front office members to the players went home happy.
“It was really nice and we had a lot of fun,” said Vlasic. “The family we had deserved it. They were both hard working and it was nice to be able to give back.”
“It makes an impression,” said Dan Boyle
. “Unfortunately some people are struggling and it’s nice to help out. Hopefully it’s brings a little more joy for the kids at Christmas.”