Sharks Were The Inspiration
Sena Acolatse Says The Sharks Got Him Interested In Hockey
Acolatse was born when the Bay Area franchise was awarded and donned the skates because of the men wearing teal on television.
“I can 100 percent say the San Jose Sharks were the reason I started hockey,” Acolatse said. “I remember Mike Ricci was on the team and Jeff Friesen and Owen Nolan. Mike Vernon was in net. Marco Sturm was there, too. I’d have to say my favorite player was Ricci at the time.”
He was even fortunate enough to get a Nolan autograph that was a great keepsake. The past is great, but due to the past ties, Acolatse is also a fan of the current Sharks lineup.
“Dan Boyle is my favorite defenseman and Joe Thornton is one of my favorite players,” Acolatse said.
The Hayward- born Acolatse honed his early skills at what is now Sharks Ice at Fremont before moving to Edmonton and now his hockey career is coming full circle.
“It all started there for me so it was kind of cool and I took that as a sign too,” Acolatse said.
Acolatse didn’t hide the fact that playing for his favorite childhood team and his inspiration for picking up the game was a bonus to choosing the Sharks, but in the end it was the Sharks success in winning, developing and rewarding players who’ve earned a shot with the big club.
“I talked to a couple of teams throughout the year and San Jose seemed like the best fit for me,” Acolatse said. “From watching the Sharks organization and what they’ve done, I was pretty impressed, so I thought it was a good choice.”
The Sharks organization was direct with Acolatse about what they saw in his future and he liked what he heard.
“They told me what they thought about me and what they see in my game and how they want to mold me into a player,” Acolatse said. “They told me how they want to work with me in the summer and it all sounded appealing to me. I agreed with some of what they were saying. That was a big part of my decision, what they see for my future.”
Like many in the diverse Bay Area, Acolatse’s family has a diverse background.
“My dad was from Ghana and he moved to California for work,” Acolatse said. “My mom was born in California (Oakland) and all her sisters are from there and (so are) her parents. My mom and dad met at their job.”
The flights from Edmonton to the Bay Area weren’t too frequent over the years, but Acolatse had a recent trip “home.”
“I was there this past summer, but before that I hadn’t been back there in quite a bit,” Acolatse said. “I got to see all my family and it was good to see them.”
An offensive blueliner who doesn’t “mind mixing it up here and there,” Acolatse spent much of his last summer dedicating himself to his professional career. He trained in Los Angeles with T.R. Goodman, renowned for training National Hockey League players such as ex-Sharks defenseman Rob Blake and future Hockey Hall of Famer Chris Chelios.
Now all the story needs is the picture perfect ending with Acolatse becoming the first Bay Area product to play in an NHL game for the Sharks.
“That would be an unbelievable feeling,” Acolatse said. “Just to play in the National Hockey League itself would be a great feeling. Having the background with San Jose would add more to it. I’m already honored to be part of the organization and to be able to put the jersey on one day would be a great feeling.”
Head Coach Todd McLellan said it was another example of how it’s possible for kids to live their hockey dream, no matter where they’re from. Hopefully Acolatse is just the first of many prospects to attempt and live their dream with the Sharks.
TWEET, TWEET, TWEET
If you haven’t started following Logan Couture on Twitter, the fact that ESPN ran a Tweet today is a sign you should. The post noted that Charlie Sheen “might be the only person in the world that’s #winning more than us right now.”
The Sharks will play hosts to Dallas at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and tickets can be found at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at www.ticketmaster.com. The contest will be on CSN California, 98.5 and 102.1 KFOX and www.sjsharks.com.