COMMENTARY | In just 21 seasons, the San Jose Sharks have grown from a neophyte hockey franchise in a decidedly non-hockey environment to a consistent winner and playoff team with one of the most dynamic home rinks in the National Hockey League. It's been a love affair, albeit a sometimes frustrating love affair, between fans and franchise since the drop of the first puck.
Below are just 5 reasons the Bay Area loves its Sharks:
They aren't the Anaheim Ducks or Los Angeles Kings
You don't think a Northern California-Southern California rivalry exists? Please. Nothing makes a NorCal team and its fans happier than beating up on a SoCal rival, regardless of the sport being played, professionals all the way to children.
Well, almost nothing makes fans happier. As both the Ducks and Kings have Stanley Cup banners hanging from the rafters, it's a contentious topic among Sharks fans. Where is the Sharks' banner? This love affair still has a few bumps to overcome.
There are no cheerleaders
Sharks fans are at the rink for the game and for the team, and certainly don't need a bunch of cheerleaders parading around the rink with pompoms and fake smiles. When a team is winning on the ice, there is no need for cheerleaders in the aisles. Sharks fans can get pompoms and smiles at the pub after the game. Besides, who ever heard of cheerleaders at a hockey game? It's old-time hockey, people, old-time hockey.
Randy Hahn and Drew Remenda
Granted these are two people, but they represent a single reason as together Hahn and Remenda make up one the best pair of TV game announcers in the business. Hahn provides the play-by-play and ex-Sharks assistant coach Remeda the insight in to what's happening. Together, this dynamic duo brings Sharks action to fans in such a high standard they're often used for national telecasts and were the voices of the NHL2K10 video game.
Commitment to winning
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I've referenced the lack of a Stanley Cup. But at least the Sharks have made the Cup playoffs 14 of the past 15 seasons. The Sharks' front office, led by GM Doug Wilson, is committed to making roster moves to improve the team. This isn't fake Oakland-Raiders-winning-commitment bravado. It's a commitment in the organization and appreciated by fans, as ticket prices aren't going down anytime soon.
Black alternate jerseys
Let's face it: It's difficult to look all tough and ready to rumble in a teal sweater. Much better, the black alternate sweaters that debuted in the 2001 season. Now fans can rock a dark jersey to the rink with pride, and stains from spilled nachos and garlic fries are so much more camouflaged.
@RayHartjen is a longtime rink rat who's been on a decades-long quest to get the stink of hockey gloves off his hands.
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