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Becher's Bytes: Rallying Around A Playoff Towel

by Jonathan Becher @jbecher / sjsharks.com

Even though you've probably waved a rally towel before, it's unlikely you ever thought about who first came up with the idea. The rally towel likely has its origins at Western Kentucky University where basketball coach E. A. Diddle waved a red towel on the sideline during games. Rally towels came to professional sports in 1975 when former Pittsburgh Steelers radio broadcaster Myron Cope created the Terrible Towel to stir up the fans.

In 1982 rally towels arrived in the NHL courtesy of Vancouver Canucks coach Roger Neilson. Neilson was outraged by several unfavorable calls during a road game in the conference finals - as a protest, he draped a white towel over a hockey stick and waved it in mock surrender. Canuck fans greeted the returning team at the Vancouver airport waving white towels, then continued waving towels at the next home game; the so-called "Towel Power" propelled the Canucks to the series victory.

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Becher's Bytes: Welcome to Playoff Mode

by Jonathan Becher @jbecher / sjsharks.com

Do you remember the first time you saw a hockey game in person?

I remember like it was yesterday. In 1993 I was a relative newbie to Silicon Valley when a work colleague invited me to a Sharks vs. Detroit game. Detroit scored in the first 2 minutes of the game but the Sharks won 6-4 on the back of a three-point game from Sandis Ozolinsh. In a foreshadowing of the playoffs, Jamie Baker scored a pivotal goal as time ran out in the second period.

I was hooked and became a Sharks fan for life (#SharksForLife).

Over the years, we Sharks fans have been treated to some amazing hockey - especially in the playoffs. There's no way to choose the biggest moment (Baker's goal in 1994, Donskoi's in 2016, Jumbo's slide in 2011) but the one I remember the best happened in 2006. The Sharks were on a 5-on-3 penalty kill against the Oilers and, for 36 seconds, only one of the three Sharks skaters (Kyle McLaren) had a stick. When Scott Hannan dived to clear the puck with his hand, the Shark Tank erupted in the loudest primal cheer I've ever heard. I am so glad I was there to see it live.

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