For Sharks winger Jamal Mayers, there is no need to prove himself. As a 35-year-old NHL veteran, his fitness level is as strong as just about anybody in the League. Yet, as the newest member of the Sharks and the only rostered person in San Jose who still hadn’t played a game, he had been injured until the Colorado contest, the rugged forward was a little antsy after watching the first four games from the press box. The Sharks fans, and his teammates, still hadn’t seen what he could bring to the table.
“You want to make a good first impression. When you’re not in there with the guys, you don’t feel a part of it and you want to get in there and compete,” Mayers said.
What helped Mayers as he waited was the infrastructure of the team he signed on with.
“Right from the beginning the whole organization has done an unbelievable job in making me feel comfortable and a part of the group,” Mayers said. “Also, the leadership group here, Jumbo, Clowey, Heater, Danny Boyle and the other guys just made me feel part of it.”
When Mayers finally stepped on the ice in the Sharks last contest, he definitely made his impression. He picked up an assist on the Sharks opening tally in Colorado and helped San Jose end a two-game pointless streak. He was reunited with Scott Nichol and Frazer McLaren as the three had skated together extensively in training camp and they clicked right away.
“I think Scotty and I will work well together. We play a simple game and we both can skate,” Mayers said. “Mac did a great job putting the puck behind the D and creating a little two-on-one at the net for us, and Scotty drove right to the net and got rewarded.”
Mayers and Nichol were checking line rivals when they both resided in the Central Division, Mayers with St. Louis and Nichol with Chicago and Nashville. Now they can play nice with each other.
“I keep reminding him that we’re on the same team now, he doesn’t have to try to run me over and knock me off the puck. We’re on the same side,” Mayers joked. “He’s always been a true competitor and he’s kept himself in such great shape that he’s able to bridge the gap that age creates and is able to be one of the quicker guys out there.”
The two may be similar in some ways, but Mayers has to accept that Nichol can brag about being a couple of months young, thus making Mayers the eldest Shark on the roster. Age isn’t an issue for Mayers though as his commitment to fitness is off the charts, even for a professional athlete.
“I’ve always prided myself on fitness,” Mayers proudly said. “They say that the first thing to go is your speed and hopefully I’ve been able to curtail that somewhat from the way I train in the summer and during the season and I think the same goes for Scotty. “
For Mayers, there is a strong athletic gene in the family as he is not the only sibling to attain athletic success.
“(My brother) ran track at (the Canadian University level),” Mayers noted. “He had a few records when he was in college at Western Ontario. He definitely had a track background and that was something we always enjoyed growing up.”
Away from the rink, Mayers responded that he and his family have had plenty of time to become comfortable in the Bay Area and are definitely settled in.
“Living in California is different and it’s definitely enjoyable for the family,” Mayers said. “My wife doesn’t have to worry about snow suits on the girls and shoveling down the driveway. It’s been a nice place to live and I’m excited about the season and the type of team that they have filled here.”
The reason he came to California is the cold conditions in the rink and he’s ecstatic to now be helping out his new team.