The San Jose Sharks and team mascot S.J. Sharkie visited the Mexican American Community Services Agency, Inc. (MACSA) Youth Center in San Jose on Oct. 6 as part of the Sharks "10 Days of Hockey." MACSA Youth Center offers children and teens numerous programs for aid in athletics and academics in Santa Clara County.
Sharks employees, along with S.J. Sharkie, provided two hours of fun for more than 50 children with the Mobile Shark Tank, hockey instruction and numerous prizes and giveaways.
Many children were playing hockey for the first time. From the smiles on their faces and their enthusiasm to get on the court, it was obvious these children were eager to learn and participate.
"This means a lot to the children," Mario Gonzalez, MACSA sports and recreation coordinator, said. "This is the first time playing hockey for 99 percent of these kids. We've tried to play various sports but with the San Jose Sharks presence and help, they're adapting to hockey quickly. Hopefully, we will have the chance to do this in the future with the Sharks because they are definitely liking it."
The kids weren't just excited about playing street hockey. They were excited to meet their favorite mascot. Besides signing autographs for all the children in attendance, Sharkie made a surprise appearance in net, tending goal for a few games as the crowd cheered him on.
Holding her handmade "Go Sharkie" sign, nine-year-old Vanessa said, "This is the most fun I've ever had in my whole entire life. It looks like Sharkie is having fun too! When he gets home, he will need to relax, have a snack and watch TV because he will be very tired. I think I will make a Sharkie poster tomorrow in class, because I am Sharkie's No. 1 fan!"
This may have been their first time playing hockey, but surely not their last!
The Sharks "10 Days of Hockey" continues until the Sharks home opener at HP Pavilion on Oct. 12 when the Columbus Blue Jackets will face the Sharks. To buy tickets, visit online at ticketmaster.com or by phone at 408-998-TIXS, 415-421-TIXS or 510-625-TIXS.