Defenseman Brad Lukowich cut through the traffic in front of the net, perfectly stick-handling between the outstretched sticks attempting to stop him. The last player to beat was the goalie, who was clearly struggling to keep up with Lukowich’s speed. Left to right, forehand to backhand, a flick of the wrist and the puck was in the back of the net.
Cheers erupted from the second and third graders at Holly Oak Elementary School, from both the sidelines and from the students playing on Team Teal. Lukowich just gave his side a 2-0 lead over Sharkie’s Team Orange.
Today was the Sharkie Lunch Bunch Day for Holly Oak’s students and that meant that the Mobile Shark Tank was coming. Included in the visit was Sharks mascot S.J. Sharkie, who helped his crew who set up a street hockey court for the students. Also present was Lukowich, who assisted by playing in the games and serving ice cream.
“Lots of these kids only see us on the ice during games,” Lukowich said, “so to come out and do something like this helps them realize that we are just like them.”
He also added that he and many of his teammates have children. As a result, he feels good about giving back to the younger generation.
Mobile Shark Tank is a program aimed at creating a positive athletic experience for elementary school students. Additionally, the MST allows the Sharks Fan Development Program to reach students who otherwise might not have a way of knowing about hockey or the Sharks.
Holly Oak’s Parent Teacher Association President Sherry Gilmore explained how the
75 students were chosen to play in the street hockey games out of the more than 600 who attended the event.
“We held a contest where students submitted a poem, drew a picture or wrote a story,” Gilmore said. “We selected the best ones and those students are playing today.”
These student projects were posted on walls throughout the school for everyone to see. One drawing that caught the eye of many on the staff working the event was of a shark wearing a Jonathan Cheechoo sweater swimming up from the depths of the water with its jaws open. The shark was headed toward a duck on the surface. Written on the bottom on the drawing: “We’ll meet again.”
Most Mobile Shark Tank visits last a little more than two hours, allowing students to play multiple games of 5-on-5 hockey. To the delight of all the students, every visit in Santa Clara County ends with ice cream.
Bay Area school visits by the Mobile Shark Tank are free and can be requested by parents and teachers here
. (Please note: due to the high demand for the Mobile Shark Tank, not every request can be fulfilled.)
The San Jose Sharks Fan Development Department is committed to providing top-notch, Sharks-specific hockey experiences for all age groups and skill levels in an effort to support, cultivate and produce new hockey fans. Working in conjunction with SVS&E Business Operations and the Hockey Department, the programming platform includes hands-on instruction, interactive experiences and while leveraging mascot, player, coaching and executive integration.