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A Memorable Sheet Of Ice
Marg-Ins 6-14-23

My beloved San Jose Sharks did not win the Stanley Cup this season.

In fact, they didn’t even make the playoffs.

Adding insult to injury, one of their most despised rivals, the Vegas Golden Knights, won it. They have only been in existence for six years. Their first season, the Golden Knights went all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals. They didn’t win but for an expansion team to get there their first year? Insane.

And this year, in only their sixth year in the league, to win it all? Equally crazy.

This will go down as the season my niece Kristel went a little crazy too. In terms of hockey, I mean.

She managed to get to several Sharks games and got her husband and son involved as well; her daughter, not so much. In fact, she went to so many games in the last few months of the season that she now has a team ‘representative’ working with her on perhaps developing a personally designed ticket package. She’s going to suck me in too, I can feel it. Not that I am unhappy; it would probably do me good to enjoy more time away from my desk engaging in fun things like screaming at opposing players on the ice and cheering on my favorite team in teal.

Her representative called to set up a time to meet and offered a behind the scenes tour of SAP Center. Kristel was honest and said she couldn’t afford nor had the time for travel to become a season ticket holder but would love a tour. She asked if she could bring some family along so one non-deadline day recently Kristel, her husband Jon and son Jay, my daughter Ally, granddaughter Lorelei and I all headed to San Jose. We got to check out some unique views of the ‘Shark Tank’ including a broadcast control room (we peeked in through the door), saw one of the lower level all-inclusive suite areas, stood in the hallway where the team comes out of the locker room and even had the chance to get an up close look at the huge Sharks head they lower on to the ice for the players to skate through while making their entrance.

After the tour, Kristel wanted to visit the nearby ‘Sharks Ice’ complex where the team practices and there are several rinks for public skating.

There is also a restaurant on site and since we needed to have lunch before we got back on the road for the long drive home (we figured we should feed the 16-month-old before subjecting her to that return trip) it made sense to stop in and check it out.

Suffice to say, we got more than we bargained for. The restaurant didn’t open until 3 and we got there a half hour or so before that. So we just set out to roam the halls and see what was there.

Well, one of the things there was Joe Thornton. Yes. Number 19. Jumbo Joe. A legendary Sharks player who most likely one day will be in the Hockey Hall of Fame. We’re pretty sure he had either been coaching a youth team or at least working with some kids – and then we saw him walking down a hallway toward us. Jon played it cool with a quick nod and a “hey” while Kristel, Ally and I were the opposite of cool. I blurted something like “Thank you for everything” and he smiled at us. He left out a side door to go to his car but then came back in to pick up some more gear and Kristel took the plunge. She asked if he would take a picture with us and he was very gracious and kind, posing with us star struck fans as we made the most of the opportunity, getting a half dozen or so photos.

And even though we didn’t leave San Jose with a season ticket package or even a mini-ticket plan, we did manage to get out of town with some great memories.


Marg Jackson is editor of The Oakdale Leader, The Escalon Times and The Riverbank News. She may be reached at or by calling 209-847-3021.