The informal skates with the players at Sharks Ice are starting to look more and more like an assembly of NHLers as additional Sharks have made their way to the Bay Area.
For a couple of participants, it made for an introductory session as both Antero Niittymaki and Jamal Mayers have found their way to San Jose. Counting the two newbies, there are more than Sharks 10 regulars already in town.
“I didn’t really know anybody,” said Niittymaki. “I didn’t play with anybody before, but it was the same thing for me last year in Tampa. It’s a long year, I’m sure we’ll get to know each other well.”
Both took part in their first on-ice sessions Monday after moving west the past week.
“Friday night (was the flight), so it’s been a hassle trying to move in,” said Niittymaki of his arrival. “I’ve got jet lag, but it’s getting better. I had to fly to Tampa and move out and fly here and settle in.”
Mayers walked his daughter to school on Monday for her first day much like many of the other Bay Area fathers. Just like dad, there are new names to learn, but there was a nice first intro for his daughter.
“We were lucky,” said Mayers. “We had a neighbor come by last night and her son is in the class. That was nice that she had a familiar face right off the bat. She did pretty good. She got to meet her teacher and was excited and happy that we left.”
Mayers also handled some domestic duties with regards to the new home.
“I got to prescout, get things sorted out to make the transition a little bit easier,” said Mayers. “Set up the house and that. I’m sure I put things in the wrong place and my wife will have to fix it. At least it’s all out of boxes and we can get acclimated.”
As for the on-ice action, Nittymaki let the players fire on an NHL goalie for the day.
“They were scoring at both ends, so I don’t know if people could tell which goalie was which,” joked Niittymaki. “It was fun to go out there and sweat a little bit.”
The players have begun getting acquainted with their new surrounding away from the rink as well as to the new teammates.
“I’ve been in California probably three times in my life,” said Niittymaki of his new home. “I’ve still got a couple of more weeks until camp starts, so I’ve got some time (to explore the area),”
Mayers has found the local coffee shop and grocery store, and isn’t concerned about the new surroundings. Things will fall into place.
“It’s a really easy area to get to know,” said Mayers. “This weather certainly helps. I think it’s going to be a nice transition so we can focus on what we need to focus on which is hockey.”