SAN JOSE, CA - On Sunday, November 11, the San Jose Sharks hosted Military Appreciation Night for the first time on Veterans Day. Traditionally held in January to coincide with the Sharks Foundation's Heroes Appreciation Month campaign, the organization decided that moving the initiative to Veterans Day would be a perfect opportunity to join the entire country in celebrating our former and current United States service members.
As fans entered the doors of SAP Center, they received a double-sided camouflage "This is Military Appreciation" Sharks Territory sign presented by Alaska Airlines. Fans were encouraged to hold the U.S. flag side of the sign during the national anthem which was performed by Senior Airman Stephanie Allen from the U.S. Airforce Band of the Golden West as a group from the U.S. Coast Guard presented the colors behind starting goaltender #31 Martin Jones' net.
The game against the Calgary Flames started with 10-year Army veteran Javier Castillo dropping the puck. Castillo served four deployments as a sniper assigned to the Long Range Surveillance Detachment and Reconnaissance Surveillance Target Acquisition Team. As part of non-profit Mission Volant's action adventure therapy program, on October 20, outfitted in a customized Sharks camo jersey, Castillo took a leap of faith from 13,000 feet as an act of support and solidarity for his fellow comrades. The skydiving experience was captured on video by the Sharks Digital Media department and the piece ran on the videoboard leading up to Castillo dropping that same puck with which he skydived making it the ultimate puck drop-in.