If Sharks Move to San Jose, What Does It Mean for Worcester?
Friday, January 23, 2015
On Wednesday evening, the move was announced by Mercury News in San Jose. Sharks employees were told on Thursday about the move following the leaked report by Mercury News.
If the Sharks are indeed moving out of Worcester, what does this mean for the city?
"The Sharks have a following and people enjoy it. It's a situation where they have a booster club and season ticket holders, so there's going to be a good chunk of people that are going to be disappointed," said Jeremy Lemoine, a former Worcester Sharks employee and current NCAA Division 1 Hockey referee. "The difference is how far along they are in getting another team in the arena. Nothing has been mentioned yet, however."
The Sharks came to Worcester before the 2006-2007 season. In their first season, the average home game attendance at the DCU Center was 4,602 and totaled 184,083. After a decline in attendance during the 2009-2010 (3,672 average home attendance), the Sharks made a steady increase in attendance over the next three season. However, between the 2013-2014 season and the current season, the numbers have once again declined. Last season, the average home attendance was only 3,958.
Economic Impact of Sharks Move
"As far as economics go, when the Sharks sell out, there's a lot of people downtown. They fill the parking garages and the restaurants. There's that piece of it. And now there will be all those open dates that there's no concessions being sold, so there's definitely some sort of economic impact. Now it just comes down are they going to find another team to get in there, or are they going to have to wait a year like they did when they lost the (Worcester) IceCats," said Lemoine.
The IceCats were the AHL affiliate of the NHL's St. Louis Blues and were in Worcester from 1994-2005. They moved to Peoria, Illinois and became the Peoria Rivermen. After a year, the San Jose Sharks brought the Worcester Sharks to Worcester.
"I think the league has been probably looking at this for a while," said Lemoine. "If you think about all the teams that are out west that have their teams in the east, they do it because it's easier to travel because all of the teams are in the east, but it's harder to call guys up and down. If you compare it to the (Boston) Bruins, when they call up a guy from Providence, it's a lot easier than San Jose calling up a guy from Worcester. They have to get on a cross-country flight. It gets expensive when a guy is going up and down between leagues all the time."
What's in Store for San Jose?
"What's interesting is that they're going to play right where San Jose plays. They're going to save a ton of money. Logistically, they'll have to iron out some details, but it will be interesting to see how it works. The other interesting part is that there's no basketball team in San Jose. There's always a rink unless there's a concert or something happening. So whereas they (San Jose) can get away with it, I don't think the Bruins could ever do something like that," said Lemoine.
According to multiple reports, the San Jose Sharks will be part of a new AHL four team conference in California. A name change is also expected for the Minor League team as to avoid confusion with the NHL Sharks.
Related Slideshow: The Greatest Massachusetts Olympic Hockey Players
Olympic Teams: 2010, 2014
A graduate of University of Massachusetts Amherst, Quick is the goaltender for the current U.S. men’s hockey team in Sochi. Quick, who is the goaltender for the Los Angeles Kings, won a silver medal with the United States at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.
Considered one of the best goaltenders in the NHL, Quick was named the MVP of the. 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs. In 2012, he set an NHL record winning 11 consecutive road games behind the net.
Olympic Team: 2014
At just 19-years-old, Carpenter is the youngest of Massachusetts’ 10 athletes competing at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. The daughter of former NHL player Bobby Carpenter, she currently plays forward for Boston College. In fact, Carpenter was the Turfer Athletic Hockey East scoring champion last year and finished seventh overall in the nation with 1.89 points per game.
Despite her young age, Carpenter has won a pair of gold medals so far on the international stage – one at the 2013 Women’s World Championships in Canada, and another at the 2011 IIHF World Women’s U18 Championship in Sweden.
Olympic Teams: 1998, 2002, 2006
Born in Worcester, this NHL Hall of Famer represented the United States in the Olympics in 1998, 2002, and 2006 – winning a silver medal in 2002. Raised in Wilbraham, Guerin graduated high school from Wilbraham & Monson Academy and is a alumni of Boston College.
Guerin played an impressive 18 seasons in the NHL, winning a pair of Stanley Cup titles in 2002 and 2006 as a member of the New Jersey Devils and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Olympic Team: 2014
A graduate of Boston University, this St. Louis Blues defensemen is currently representing the United States at the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Shattenkirk enjoyed a successful collegiate career with the Terriers – being named to the All-Hockey East Rookie Team in 2007-2008 season and the All-Hockey East Second team in 2008-2009. He was also named a NCAA East Second Team All-American in the 2008-2009 season.
Olympic Teams: 2010, 2014
Born in Westfield, Bellamy played for the U.S. women’s hockey team in Vancouver and is representing the U.S. once again in Sochi. A graduate of Berkshire School, she was named Berkshire’s Female Athlete of the Year in her junior and senior year.
In addition to being named to two Olympic teams, Bellamy is a two-time member of the U.S. Women’s National Team and a three-time member of the U.S. Women’s Select Team.
Olympic Team: 1998
Considered one of the best professional hockey players of his generation, represented the United States at the 1998 Olympic Games in Nagano. Born in Boston, Roenick played prep hockey at Thayer Academy in Braintree. After college, he would go on to play 18 seasons in the NHL. Elected to the NHL Hamm of Fame in 2010, Roenick is one of four American-born players to score 500 career goals.
Olympic Team: 1924
Born in Charlestown, McCarthy was the captain of the U.S. men’s hockey team that won the silver medal at the 1924 Winter Olympics in Chamonix, France. He was a member of the Boston Athletics Association, a non-profit sports association for the city of Boston.
Olympic Teams: 1992, 1998, 2002, 2006
This former NHL All-Star represented the United States in four Olympic Games in 1992, 1998, 2002, and 2006 – winning a silver medal in 2002. Born in Melrose, Tkachuk began his hockey career at Malden Catholic High School and would go on to play collegiately at Boston University.
Tkachuk is one of four American-born players to score 500 goals in a career, and one just six Americans to score 1,000 NHL points.
Olympic Team: 2010
This Scituate native won a silver medal as a member of the 2010 U.S. Men’s Hockey Team in Vancouver. He began his hockey career playing for Thayer Academy in Braintree and would go on to play for Boston University. Whitney currently plays defenseman for the Florida Panthers.
Olympic Team: 1956
This former IHL goaltender won a silver medal as a member of the 1956 Winter Olympics men’s hockey team. A graduate of Cambridge University, Rigazio played three seasons for the U.S. men’s national ice hockey team and 61 games in the IHL – winning the James Norris Memorial Trophy during the 1958-1959 season.
Olympic Team: 1980
Best remembered as goaltender for the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team that won the gold medal, Craig stopped 36 of 39 shots on goal to help the U.S. beat the heavily favored Soviet Union. Born in North Easton, Craig would go on to play in the NHL for the Atlanta Flames, Minnesota North Stars, and the Boston Bruins.
Olympic Team: 2002
Born in Boston, Barrasso was a goaltender for 18 seasons in the NHL and won a silver medal as a member of the U.S. Men’s Hockey team at the 2002 Winter Games. The youngest player ever to win the Vezina Trophy, Borrasso entered the NHL at the age of 18 after graduated from Acton-Boxboro High School. He won two Stanley Cups and was named to the NHL Hall of Fame in 2009.
Olympic Teams: 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014
This Harvard University grad is currently playing in her fourth consecutive Winter Olympics Games. Chu has won two silver medals and one bronze. In addition to her prolific Olympic career, this forward won gold at the Women’s World Championships in 2013. One of the greatest college hockey players ever, Chu is the all-time NCAA scoring and assist leader.
Olympic Teams: 1948, 1960
Born in Brookline, this two-time Olympian helped the U.S. win gold at the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley. A member of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, Kirrane went on to serve 38 years with the Brookline Fire Department and 15 years as the rink manager of Harvard University's Bright Hockey Center.
Olympic Teams: 2006, 2010
A graduate of Boston University, Drury is a two-time Olympic silver medalist – playing in both the 2006 and 2010 Olympic Games. In addition to a successful International career, this former NHL player one a Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche and is the former captain of the Buffalo Sabres and the New York Rangers. Drury also won the Little League World Series as a youth in Connecticut.
Olympic Team: 2010
Born in Danvers, Duggan won a silver medal as a member of the U.S. women’s hockey team at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. She also won a gold medal representing the U.S. in the 2013 Women’s World Championship. Duggan currently plays for the Boston Blades, a professional women’s hockey team in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League.
Olympic Team: 1972
This Needham native and former Boston Bruins head coach won a silver medal as a member of the 1972 U.S. men’s hockey in Sapporo, Japan. Ftorek would go on to play professional hockey for 15 seasons – including stints with the New York Rangers and Detroit Red Wings. After retiring, Ftorek coached six seasons in the NHL.
Olympic Teams: 1998, 2002
Born in Nantucket, Mleczko held lead the U.S. women’s hockey team to the gold medal at the 1998 Games in Nagano. She would go on to win a silver medal four years later in Salt Lake City. Mleczko played her college hockey at Harvard and helped the Crimson win a national title in 1999. In 1999, she was named the USA Hockey Women’s Player of the Year. Mleczko is a member of the Women’s Beanpot Hall of Fame.
Olympic Team: 1980
Born in Withrop, Eruzione is best remembered for scoring the winning goal that propelled the United States over the Soviet Union in the “Miracle on Ice” game in 1980. In addition to winning a gold medal in Lake Placid, Eruzione also played four years for Boston University and went on to be an assistant coach for his Alma mater from 1994-1997.
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