Fine wine, futuristic cars and a roomful of professional athletes. This scene may seem like something out a dream, but it was excitingly real for Sharks fans who were treated to an evening of extravagance at the annual “Sampling with the Sharks” wine tasting fundraiser, presented by Citrix, on Monday, February 24 at San Jose’s Club Auto Sport.
Players traded in their hockey skates for dress shoes while Sharks fans left their teal attire at home to step out in their finery for the Sharks Foundation’s most successful fundraiser of the season. Thirteen local wineries generously recruited by Bert George of Joseph George Wines poured into custom Sharks wine glasses while Le Papillon served hearty appetizers to the nearly 400 attendees. Sharks players, coaches and broadcasters, freshly returned from the Olympic Break, happily greeted fans eager for their return to NHL ice.
In addition to sipping on Napa Valley’s most distinguished wines, players and fans alike had the opportunity to admire the bells and whistles behind the Tesla Model S vehicles displayed throughout Club Auto Sport. One-of-a-kind Sharks memorabilia, including a team-signed custom goalie helmet and autographed Patrick Marleau Team Canada jersey, was available via silent auction, which ultimately fetched a total of $25,000 for the Sharks Foundation.
The most riveting portion of the evening was the live auction, which has traditionally featured unique Sharks experience packages. This year’s hot ticket item, an exclusive retreat to Napa Valley alongside head coach Todd McLellan and assistant coach Jim Johnson, sold for an incredible $20,000.
By the conclusion of the evening, the Sharks Foundation was overjoyed to report that the event had garnered over $110,000 for the Foundation’s community programming initiatives, shattering previous records and becoming the most successful event in Sharks Foundation’s history.
“We’re thrilled to have raised so much money for local youth and families,” Sharks Foundation Manager Jeff Cafuir said. “We couldn’t have done it without the generosity of our fans, athletes, coaches, broadcasters, and event partners like Citrix and Joseph George Wines. They truly understand the meaning of giving back.”