Last Saturday morning Chrystie and I got up early and headed to the Shark Tank to see the Sharks practice. Every once in a while the Sharks will allow the public to watch their morning skate sessions – you may recall this post from last year. They were running the same promotion again, so we got to dump off some e-waste in addition to watching practice. For each item we brought, we received one raffle ticket, which got us entry to see the practice and also entered us in a raffle to win some autographed items.
We arrived at 9am to drop off our e-waste, but found out that the morning skate didn’t start until 10:30, so we walked to Mmoon, my new favorite pre-Sharks game quick dining spot. We had some tasty breakfast empanadas and walked back to the Tank where we found at least 200 people in line. We got in the back of the line, which proved pointless as we found out the raffle tickets we had left in the car were required for entry and ended up being the last ones in. They corralled all the guests into one section and we found seats maybe 20 rows up, a great spot for me to get shots without the glass getting in the way.
The practice was pretty quick and casual – everyone already knew what to do, I imagine because its roughly the same routine every morning before a game. They did a few minutes of a shooting drill,
then the coach blew a whistle and everyone gathered for a quick talk.
Then some more shooting,
and another whistle followed by stretching.
Then more passing,
and faceoff drills. Guys would come and go as they pleased, it was a very relaxed atmosphere.
The Sharks’ newest member was on hand, goalie JP Anderson, who was filling in as the backup goalie while Nittymaki was injured.
Then, most players left the ice, the practice was over in nearly half an hour. Ryan Clowe and Scotty Nichol stayed after everyone else left to get some extra skating practice in and worked on recovering from their injuries.
As soon as they were off the ice, the ushers thanked us for coming and gave us the boot. The next open practice I know of happens Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011, when the Sharks are hosting a blood drive.
Some quick figures:
Tickets: 1 piece of e-waste per person
Gas to get there and back: ~$3
Time to get there and back: ~30 minutes
Hours of entertainment: ~0.5 hours
See more photos here.