The San Jose Sharks will soon be back home at the SAP Center. Due to a ban on contact sports in Santa Clara County, the Sharks held training camp in Glendale, Arizona. The team has since played on the road and will be the “home” team in Glendale for games against the Vegas Golden Knights on February 1st and 3rd. However, the Sharks have announced that with the ban lifted back in San Jose, they have begun planning and implementing health and safety measures in preparation for a return home. The Sharks plan to make their true home debut on February 13 against the Anaheim Ducks.
The plan is for all future Sharks (and AHL Barracuda) home games beyond the upcoming Glendale series to take place in San Jose. However, the team will be on a short leash. Curtis Pashelka of The San Jose Mercury News writes that Santa Clara County has already vowed that “Any professional athletics organization that violates the order shall be immediately and automatically suspended from engaging in athletic activities.” The Sharks must abide by the NHL’s COVID Protocol anyhow, but rather than only face a league fine and players and/or coaches out of commission, the team may actually lose their home again if they do not follow local guidelines as well.
For now, the team is focused on their upcoming “home” games in Glendale. The Sharks’ players may arguably be more excited for these games than they are for their return to San Jose. Included in the team’s release today was that they have received permission to have limited attendance during the two-game series. Given the much stricter COVID climate in California, these may be the only games that the Sharks play in front of fans all year. Of course, Pashelka notes that only 2,500 tickets are expected to be sold for each game and sales are limited to Arizona citizens only, but there are sure to be some local Sharks fans in attendance.