On Monday night, thousands of hockey fans streamed into HP Pavilion to watch an ECHL matchup featuring the Sharks ECHL affiliate San Francisco Bulls versus the Stockton Thunder. Official attendance was recorded at 12,881 and many of those fans showed their support for the local community by visiting downtown businesses before and after the game and by donating to the “Toys For Tots” Toy Drive.
The streets of downtown San Jose were busy with hockey fans patronizing local businesses. Many restaurants and bars reported a bump in business on the night with fans dining out before the game.
David Kendall, a bartender at nearby Henry’s Hi-Life, was grateful to see hockey back at HP Pavilion. “It was like a Shark’s game night,” said Kendall. “Henry’s filled up before the game and although we weren’t open after it was a perfect night and we’re happy the Sharks put on an event like this.”
Kendall noted that about half the patrons were actual Sharks fans wearing teal while the other half represented Bulls and Thunder fans. “Overall, the fans were excited to see hockey back in San Jose and seemed happy about the night,” said Kendall.
Bruno Rocha, the General Manager at Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria downtown felt the impact of the game at HP Pavilion.
“For business here it’s been steady all day long with people dining early. During the day we saw people walking around and coming to Amici’s, which is a huge impact for us on a Monday night,” said Rocha. “Without the game here, we would probably see about sixty to seventy percent less business than this on an average night.”
Sharks EVP of Business Operations Malcolm Bordelon felt it was great to see hockey again at HP Pavilion.
"We have all missed the game and are very grateful to the SF Bulls and Stockton Thunder for working with us to adjust their schedules," said Bordelon. "We are appreciative of all who were able to attend and especially those who were able to provide a boost to our downtown restaurants and donate to Toys For Tots - the response was outstanding"
Sharks fan Mark Adam was glad to see hockey back at HP Pavilion. “My friends and I had a great time at the game,” said Adam. “It was great seeing a game at HP Pavilion again, along with Sharkie, Randy, Drew, and the SF Bulls Crew.”
The Sharks Foundation also held their annual “Toys For Tots” Toy Drive. Thousands of dollars and over 1,200 toys were collected during the Toy Drive. Put on by the Marine Corps Reserve, the Toys For Tots program delivers new toys to children in need and distribute the toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the community.
Sergeant David McDonald, a representative of the US Marine Corps described the importance of Monday night’s event on the Toy Drive.
“This event has the biggest impact on ‘Toys For Tots.’ We get most of our donations from HP Pavilion and we’re blessed to come to out here and get the community involved through toys and cash donations, said McDonald. “This is where we get most of our toys.”
For more information on the Toys For Tots program, to donate online or to find your local drive coordinator, please visit www.ToysForTots.org.