The Sharks Foundation Community Award is given to individuals, businesses or groups who exemplify the Sharks Foundation’s mission to enhance the lives of youth and families in our local area.
The Sharks Foundation is honored to grant Shannon Wass with the Sharks Foundation Community Award for the month of March. Wass’ consistent dedication to the San Jose Sharks, the Sharks Foundation and the local community has cemented her reputation as a loyal Sharks fan and committed community member.
Nearly ten years ago, Wass had never witnessed a live NHL game. Her first Sharks experience was so positive that she catapulted herself into the San Jose hockey world. Today, she is a season ticket holder, ice hockey player and regular Sharks Foundation supporter. Her involvement in “Shark for a Day” Fantasy Camp, “Sampling with the Sharks” and multiple in-game charity auctions has helped raise thousands of dollars for local youth and their families. Wass’ upbeat personality and generous spirit make her a welcome figure both on and off the ice.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My husband and I live in Willow Glen with our three cats. He was born and raised in the Bay Area and remembers the Sharks when they first came into the league. I am a newer fan, but extremely dedicated! We spend a large portion of our free time playing on various hockey teams at Sharks Ice San Jose and Redwood City. We love to travel, especially if it means getting to see a road game.
2. How did you first become a Sharks fan?
Shortly after moving here from Oregon, a friend asked if I would like to split a Sharks ten-pack of tickets with her. This was 8 years ago and I’d never seen an NHL game. I like sporting events, so I figured, “why not?” I had so much fun at the game that I told my boyfriend (now my husband) that we should get season tickets the following year. I’ve been a fan ever since!
3. How is your favorite Sharks player? Why?
That’s a tough question, since my favorite for many years was Douglas Murray. Currently, my favorite player is Tommy Wingels. I love his style of play. He is very persistent and never gives up. I also admire him off the ice because of his involvement with the “You Can Play” campaign. It’s such an important topic and it’s great to see the positive influence the campaign has had.
4. What is your most memorable Sharks moment?
The 5-on-3 penalty kill against the Edmonton Oilers in the 2006 playoffs. Not only were we down two men, but only one of our players had a stick at the end of the kill. It was absolutely amazing to watch and the Tank had awesome energy. I can’t imagine how exhausted those guys must have been, but they gave it everything they had all the way to the end.
5. Do you support any other charities?
I have been involved with Team in Training since 2009. I train to complete endurance events while raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I also support Defending the Blue Line and various animal shelters in the area.
6. How did you first get involved with supporting the Sharks Foundation?
My husband and I were at a game several years ago and saw an in game advertisement for the “Sampling with the Sharks” wine event. Well, we like wine and we really like the Sharks, so this sounded like a great event. Spending the evening socializing with the players and coaches in a relaxed environment made for such an enjoyable time. Since then, we continue to attend Sharks Foundation events since they always put on a top notch experience!
7. What is your favorite Sharks Foundation Event?
Every event they host is spectacular, but you can’t beat “Shark for a Day” Fantasy Camp. Watching the Sharks inspired me to take up ice hockey three years ago, so I am always looking for new opportunities to play. Fantasy Camp takes you through a day as an NHL player; from morning skate, to video review, right up to skating through the Sharks head and playing a game next to Sharks alumni such as Owen Nolan and Curtis Brown. The Sharks Foundation then puts us all in a Penthouse Suite to relax, eat dinner, and watch the evening’s game. The attention to detail and the overall experience makes it something I will remember forever.
8. What inspires you the most about the Sharks Foundation?
You can tell a lot about an organization by the people involved with it. At every Sharks Foundation event the staff has smiles on their faces. You can tell that what they’re doing is truly important to them. The player interaction also gives me the sense that the players realize how important it is to give back to the local community. Sometimes the events they attend fall immediately after a tough loss or a long road trip, but they never complain and are always happy to talk with their fans. The players and their families give up their free time to give back, and it takes a very well run organization to get so many people excited about the work they are doing.
9. How would you describe the Sharks Foundation to someone who did not know about the team’s charitable initiatives?
The Sharks Foundation works to raise money for the local community through various fundraising events. They award grants to various non-profit organizations within our local community. In addition, they execute programs such as “Reading is Cool” and coordinate with other non-profits for events such as blood drives and food drives.