Seven members of the San Jose Sharks participated in the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy. Among the participants were players Joe Thornton
(Canada), Evgeni Nabokov (Russia), Marcel Goc and Christian Ehrhoff (Germany), Director of Event Presentation Steve Maroni and Assistant Equipment Manager Roy Sneesby. The septet brought back with them a wealth of experience from overseas.
: Joe, whose run to the medal rounds were cut short, used his unexpected off-time to travel to Switzerland and practiced with Davos, the team he played for last season. The three-hour drive kept Thornton playing in hockey and helped keep him in top condition to resume the NHL season.
Ville Nieminen: A late addition to the Olympic team, Nieminen helped Finland win the Silver Medal.
Evgeni Nabokov: Nabokov experienced the most success on the ice during the games. His three shutouts led the competition and his 1.46 goals against average was the second-best. His medal hopes were ousted with a loss to the Czech Republic in the Bronze Medal game.
Christian Ehrhoff: No stranger to Olympic competition (Salt Lake City – 2002), Ehrhoff posted a goal and an assist for Germany. His solid play at the Olympics has trickled back to North America. He is playing the best hockey of his NHL career since his return.
“My favorite part of the whole experience is just being in the Olympic Village,” stated Ehrhoff. “Being around all of the best athletes in the world is really amazing.”
Goc scored one of Germany’s biggest goals during the Olympics, converting on the game-tier against Italy. Although Germany did not advance to the medal rounds, his experience on the ice will no doubt be a highlight of his life. Off the ice, Goc took advantage of the surrounding events.
“We went as a team and watched the women’s downhill,” said Goc. “Away from the rink, that was the best part of the trip. The women were unbelievable.”
Steve oversaw all of the game presentation on the main rink. It was the second time that Maroni has worked the Olympics, as the Salt Lake City games in Utah was his first. His job was made a little easier by the strong contingent of fans from each country.
“Every game was so important to the fans,” said Maroni. “Everyone is on their feet the entire game and that really builds a great atmosphere.”
Working the Easton tent in the Olympic Village, Sneesby helped equip the athletes during his two weeks. His return home was delayed a bit as inclement weather stopped their plane from landing. Finally touching down in San Francisco at 1am without eating dinner, he and Nabokov stopped at In-N-Out Burger for a late meal.