SAN JOSE, CA - Prior to the San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) 5-2 victory over the Nashville Predators at SAP Center in Game 1 of their Stanley Cup Playoffs Series on Friday night, an unusual visitor was spotted on the ice.
Just before the teams took the ice for warm-ups, fans watched as a small, black cat emerged from the player bench area and subsequently made his way onto the ice, running along the boards towards the giant Shark Head. Finding an open door, he was able to escape beneath the seating stands.
On April 30, the cat, now referred to as "Joe PAW-velski," was safely retrieved by SAP Center's staff.
The Sharks are making arrangements to transfer "Joe PAW-velski" to a local animal shelter, where it will undergo a full health examination and a microchip scan, to ensure it does not already have an owner.
In the event the cat is healthy and is not micro-chipped, the Sharks anticipate that the cat will be made available for adoption. If that is the case, the Sharks will provide more information via the team's social media channels and sjsharks.com when it becomes available.
San Jose Sharks Chief Operating Officer John Tortora issued the following statement:
"The amount of interest generated by 'Joe's' appearance and those wishing to adopt him has been overwhelming. We want to make sure the cat is safe and healthy and returned to its rightful owner, in the event it has a microchip. If he is indeed a stray, our goal is to find the best home for him with the support of our local animal shelters. If families are interested in adopting 'Joe' but unsuccessful, we strongly encourage you to consider adopting another animal in need of a good home from one of our terrific local animal shelters."
The Sharks believe strongly in the ethical and humane treatment of all animals. Any individual caught bringing a live or deceased animal into the building for any purpose will be immediately ejected from the venue and is subject to further prosecution from the law.