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The Worcester Sharks are firmly committed to being one of North America’s best hockey franchises both on and off the ice. On the ice, we plan to deliver an exciting, winning brand of hockey that will entertain fans game in and game out at the DCU Center. Off the ice, we will be heavily involved with the Worcester community, using our players in various outreach programs.

The San Jose Sharks strongly believe in developing their future NHL stars in the American Hockey League. Whether it’s Jonathan Cheechoo, who is on track to lead the Sharks in goals for a second consecutive season, or Evgeni Nabokov, an Olympic and All-Star netminder, the Sharks know the way to San Jose now goes through Worcester.

Fifteen players of the Sharks current 23-man roster hail from the American Hockey League, showing how valued the AHL is to the defending Pacific Division champions. The majority of NHLer’s spent time in the American Hockey League, but the Sharks current number of 65 percent shows their commitment to the AHL exceeds the norm.

“We believe players need to be successful at the AHL before they can be successful at the NHL level,” said Worcester Sharks General Manager Wayne Thomas, who’s primary home is in East Falmouth. “There is no other league in the world that compares to the AHL in terms of quality and development.

It is not just a matter of assigning a player to the AHL to “pay their dues”, as the Sharks view the AHL as much more important than that.

“Players need the proper environment and coaching, in addition to talented teammates to grow with,” said Thomas. “If you vest yourself into your AHL franchise, it will pay off exponentially down the road.”

Locating their top NHL prospects in Worcester assists the San Jose Sharks as they strive for the perfect development situation.

“Worcester’s enthusiastic fans, along with the intimate DCU Center, will provide our players with a home ice advantage very similar to what the Sharks enjoy in San Jose,” said Mike Lehr, Worcester Sharks President.

New England hockey at all levels also plays a critical role in the San Jose Sharks success as close to one-third of the franchise’s reserve list played high school or collegiately in the region.

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