Sharks First Season a Huge Success
By Chris Del Vecchio
Worcester, Mass. - With tonight’s double overtime, season-ending 3-2 loss to the Manchester Monarchs, the Worcester Sharks can now begin sizing up their inaugural season in Massachusetts. Thrust into the highly competitive Atlantic Division, the Sharks offered fans a fast-paced, exciting breed of professional hockey and battled through a rash of midseason injuries to climb into the Calder Cup Playoffs. Other on-ice highlights from the past seven months include:
Leading scorer Mathieu Darche earning a spot on the Canadian AHL All-Star team on the strength of a 35 goal, 45 assist season.
The emergence of rookie netminder Thomas Greiss, who finished the season second among AHL rookies in wins with 26, third in goals against average at 2.61, and fourth in save percentage at 91.2%.
Top NHL prospects from the San Jose Sharks gracing home ice. Joe Pavelski registered 8 goals and 18 assists before being summoned to the next level after just 16 AHL games and continues to contribute for San Jose with 15 goals in the NHL.
The leadership of veterans such as Darche, Graham Mink, Patrick Traverse and Scott Ferguson, who provided guidance and stability to an otherwise young team.
A late-season run of 12 wins through 14 games, during which the Sharks surged from sixth place in the Atlantic Division to third.
While the Sharks were busy with a tough schedule on the ice, plenty more was in the works off the ice throughout the Worcester community, such as:
The growth and success of the Worcester Sharks Booster Club, which played a pivotal role in bringing professional hockey back to Worcester and increasing the team’s presence since their arrival.
Worcester’s partnership with Unum Group, through which thousands of dollars were donated to the United Way of Central Massachusetts via the “Goals for Charity” program. Unum made a donation for every home goal scored this season.
In addition to their donation, Baystate Financial Services donated $50 for every power play goal the Sharks scored to the Worcester DSS Kids Fund.
A strong relationship between Sharks Charities, chaired by Mary DeFeudis, and the Greater Worcester community, highlighted by the success of programs such as Reading is Cool, Sharks Street Brigade, and Skate with the Sharks.
Hosting the Special Olympics of Central Massachusetts Opening Ceremonies prior to a sold out home game against the Sharks’ archrival, the Providence Bruins.
FIVE total sellouts at the DCU Center and an electric atmosphere during all Sharks home games.
Twelve home contests – ten of them being Sharks victories – broadcast live on WCTR-TV 3.
Hockey fans throughout Central Massachusetts have certainly embraced the Sharks as their hometown team, and things look bright for an even better second season. Stay in touch with the Sharks over the summer months for team news, community events information, and the Sharks 2007-2008 schedule and promotions – all available online at www.sharksahl.com. Full season, partial season, and flex ticket packages for next year are available for purchase now through the Sharks offices.