The Sharks annual Holiday Adoption Party took place Monday at Sharks Ice and while a bit early (due to the Sharks being on the road for most of December), it was a great start to the festive season.
The event began with the families arriving and taking photographs with Sharkie Claus before heading out to skate with some of the players. For many of the children, it was their first time on skates.
“A lot of those kids, it was their first time skating, so you get to help them out and give them the advice we had when we were younger,” Derek Joslin said.
Following the skate, everyone headed to Stanley’s at Sharks ice for a terrific dinner provided by Outback Steakhouse. After main course and desert, it was time for everyone’s favorite part. Prior to the night, the Sharks players were given a wish list for their families and from the size of the presents, most wishes were granted. Many of the players handled the shopping themselves.
“Actually, McCarthy and McGinn did most of the shopping, but I did all the wrapping,” Joslin boasted.
“Ginner had some guest in from out of town and they helped us out a little bit,” McCarthy added.
There were some players who definitely deferred on the shopping duties.
“Absolutely not,” Boyle laughed. “That’s one good thing about being married, I sent the wife to do the shopping. I’m a terrible shopper.”
Seeing the presents in front of the deserving children truly put smiles on the Sharks special guests, as well as the players and participating staff members.
That concluded the evening as everyone loaded up their vehicles to head home. Many of the players resembled Santa Claus himself as they carried out bags of presents the size of which are seen in storybooks.
The entire evening was a special one for everyone involved.
“I think it’s great,” McCarthy said as he experienced things for the first time. “You go on the ice for a little bit and you sit and talk to the kids for a little bit and you can tell how happy it makes them. Any time you get to do something like this, it is fun.”
“At first everyone is a little shy because they don’t know anybody, but after you they open up and you get to see them smile,” Dan Boyle
Some of the players had participated in similar events before coming to San Jose, but they all had the same thought behind them.
“In Tampa we did something with kids who had cancer, kind of a similar thing,” Antero Niittymaki said. “We’re in a position to help people so it’s good we do something like this.”
“I think it’s great seeing all the happy faces,” Antti Niemi
said. “With how excited small kids get, it’s great to see. We had something like this, but not this big.”
Thanks to Rosendin Electric, a long-time HP Pavilion suite holder, as their company’s summer barbecue and raffle proceeds, as well as individual employee donations, provided gift cards to the families on top of the presents provided by the Sharks.