One by one, their names were announced during the first intermission of the Sharks vs. Phoenix game on March 30. And after every name was called, a rousing ovation echoed through the crowd. Sharks alums Todd Harvey, Al Iafrate, David Maley, Bryan Marchment, Marty McSorley, Bernie Nicholls, Ron Stern and Gary Suter, along with former NHL goaltender and current TV analyst Darren Pang, were all recognized for their efforts earlier in the day for participating in the team’s annual “Shark For a Day” Fantasy Camp, a fundraiser benefiting The Sharks Foundation.
“Shark For a Day” Fantasy Camp allowed 34 participants the rare and exciting opportunity to experience a day-in-the-life of a professional hockey player. After changing in their fully decorated dressing rooms, fantasy campers hit the ice for a morning skate led by Sharks Assistant Coaches Tim Hunter and Rob Zettler. Afterwards, participants had the option of watching the Sharks and Coyotes morning skate or relaxing their muscles with a chair massage courtesy of La Concha Spa.
At lunch, Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson and Radio Play-by-Play Announcer Dan Rusanowsky joined the alumni in telling stories from their playing days and sharing their fondest memories with the Sharks. For many of the participants, being able to hear these players retell their stories was one of their favorite parts of the day.
“The lunch time talks and stories were great,” said Raul Sarmiento-Hirsch from Washington. “We had a blast laughing at some of their stories and comments about the League in general.”
As lunch concluded, the campers headed back to their dressing rooms to find their personalized, authentic jerseys hanging up in their stalls. Once everyone was dressed, the participants entered the ice through the Sharks Head complete with dimmed lights, smoke and its red eyes pulsating. A beautiful rendition of the national anthem signaled the end of the pre-game ceremonies and the beginning of the contest.
As their friends and family cheered from the stands, the Teal and White teams played a fun, yet high-energy game with neither team ever leading by more than two goals. While the first two periods were clearly relaxed, the intensity level picked up in the final stanza. After the Teal Team took a two-goal lead in the third period, the White Team answered back with two of their own to send the game into sudden-death overtime. In the extra period, the White Team’s Chris Smithers scored the game-winner to cap their entertaining 10-9 victory.
After the hard fought game, the participants relaxed with beverages and snacks in downtown San Jose before heading back to HP Pavilion to watch the Sharks game from the Penthouse Plaza. And, as if scripted from a movie, the Sharks prevailed 4-2 to cap off a great day.
“I had a blast,” said Joe Halpin, one of the fantasy campers. “It was a great event. Getting to hang with the alumni was by far the best part of the event.”
“I can’t wait until next year,” said participant Cree Guardino. “The alumni guys were so great!”
In the end, Fantasy Camp raised more than $20,000 for The Sharks Foundation and its local beneficiaries. If you are interested in participating in next year’s “Shark For a Day” Fantasy Camp, please contact Jeff Cafuir at firstname.lastname@example.org