SAN JOSE – Sharks Ice at San Jose is set to play host to the inaugural Adult Safe Hockey Network (ASHN) North American Championships presented by Canlan Ice Sports beginning May 25 with championship games being played on May 30.
The event will feature 65 teams competing in 12 divisions, nine men’s divisions and three women’s divisions. All teams hail from Canada with the exception of two women’s teams from the Bay Area, Team Abby and the Oakland Seals II.
The ASHN has hosted an annual national championship at Canlan facilities for the past decade. The tournaments were only able to support 30 to 32 teams in six divisions for a one-weekend event. The ASHN decided recently to create a North American bid proposal for facilities not associated with Canlan, which San Jose won.
“We wanted to open the event up to more teams and combine it with a vacation destination,” said Kurtis Matthews, director of the ASHN. “Sharks Ice was selected because of the number of rinks available, the clean and customer-friendly facilities, the support of the local tourism associations and of course, the great weather.”
The move of the championship to San Jose allows the ASHN to double the number of teams and divisions that usually participate and extend the event length from a single weekend to almost an entire week.
Sharks Ice and the city of San Jose benefit from the championship as well.
“May is notoriously one of our slowest months for the facility, so this event is a welcomed addition. Furthermore, these participants have never been to our facility, so we are very excited to see how they react to it and its amenities,” said Jon Gustafson, general manager of Sharks Ice.
“Clearly these types of events bring positive economic impacts to San Jose. Hotels and restaurants, just to name a few, will see added business due to the fact that 65 teams from out of state will be participating over a five-day period,” Gustafson said.
There are four ways a team can qualify for the ASHN North American Championships. Teams competing in San Jose have finished first or second at one of the 2008 North American Qualifiers (NAQ), placed first or second at one of the 2007 or 2008 Adult National Hockey League (ASHL) Regional Championships, finished first at one of the 2007 or 2008 Spring / Summer Facility Championships, or were awarded an NAQ or ASHL Regional Wild Card entry.
The ASHN is an Internet network of more than 60,000 recreational hockey players in leagues owned by or affiliated with Canlan Ice Sports. The primary goal of the ASHN is to enhance a player’s regular hockey experience with online features and membership benefits such as insurance, player registration, prizing, opportunities to qualify for championships and online tools for finding rinks, tournaments and other adult recreational hockey players.
Canlan Ice Sports is the largest private sector owner and operator of recreational ice sports facilities in North America and currently owns or manages 22 multi-use facilities in the United States and Canada. Canlan Ice Sports also owns the Adult Safe Hockey League (ASHL), a recreational hockey League operating in Canlan owned, leased or managed facilities. The ASHL consists of more than 50,000 players.
Sharks Ice is the official practice facility of the San Jose Sharks. It is the largest rink facility west of the Mississippi and is one of only seven rink facilities in the United States that currently operates at least four NHL-sized ice rinks. Sharks Ice at San Jose, along with Sharks Ice at Fremont and Oakland Ice, currently hold the largest number of Adult USA Hockey participants (2,400) of any facility in the nation.