When the Sharks first came into existence, summers in Silicon Valley were beautiful, but barren of NHL players. Now, more and more Sharks players are spending a chunk of their offseason in the same homes they stay in during the season.
Even permanent San Jose resident Owen Nolan, who is signed with Calgary for next season, has noticed the amount of players staying in town.
“It used to be Jeff Friesen, Mike Rathje and I were the only ones,” said Nolan, who was skating in the Captain’s Practice, along with Andrei Zyuzin, another former Sharks player who makes his offseason home here.
Current Sharks spending the bulk of their offseason in the Bay Area include Patrick Marleau
, Evgeni Nabokov, Kyle McLaren, Jonathan Cheechoo and Curtis Brown. Each has their own reasons, but for many, it is simply that San Jose has become their home.
“I’ve been staying in San Jose for six or seven years,” said Nabokov. “I go home for a month or so, but I like staying here. It’s the only house I have. We love the city and everything here. I don’t know people anywhere else.”
Marleau is in the same situation, taking advantage of the simple things in the Bay Area.
“I’ve stayed here for more than three years,” said Marleau. “We like to just go walking around Palo Alto, Willow Glen, Los Gatos or Saratoga. We really enjoy San Francisco, but Carmel is right up there.”
With so many players around, it definitely keeps workouts a bit more lively.
“We need to work out during the summer and what better way to do it than with Mike Potenza (Sharks Strength and Conditioning Coordinator) right here,” said Brown. “I worked out five times a week.”
“We’ve been working out together all summer,” said Marleau.
For Brown, staying in San Jose is beneficial in many ways.
“It gives the kids some stability, being in one place year round,” said Brown. “When we go somewhere, we just base out of here. It simplifies things.”
And then there’s the sunshine.
“The weather here is fantastic and there are so many places to go,” said Brown.
“The weather is perfect every day and I’ve been to some A’s games,” said Cheechoo, who’s also a big A’s fan.
The perfect weather makes it very advantageous to play golf during the down time.
“I’ve definitely met more people in the area and there are great places to play golf,” said Brown. “I played at Corde Valle, Stanford and Monterey Peninsula.”
And hockey players enjoy watching other athletes take center stage during the offseason. Sharks players can be found watching the Giants or the A’s play at home.
But they don’t just watch the pros. Their kids are into soccer and swimming. But overall, Northern California has plenty to offer the players.
“I’ll go to Tahoe, but nothing dramatic,” said Nabokov. “My daughter has swimming and gymnastics and we go to the park. I try to help out (wife) Tabitha.”
Yes, they do the same things they would do in their old home towns. But in California, the weather is better and the golf courses are nicer.
Besides the previously mentioned Sharks who spent their summers in town, others who have already arrived to get settled in before camp include Joe Pavelski
, Craig Rivet, Matt Carle, Marcel Goc, Patrick Rissmiller and Devin Setoguchi.
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Sharks blueline prospect Ty Wishart is currently in Russia, representing Canada in the head-to-head, eight-game series. Wishart was scratched in the first meeting as Canada opened the series with a 4-2 victory.