San Jose Sharks chief operating officer John Tortora announced Thursday that the San Jose Sharks’ top development American Hockey League club, currently based in Worcester, Mass., will relocate to San Jose and play their home games at SAP Center at San Jose, beginning in Oct. 2015.
The move is part of a larger announcement made today by the AHL regarding the creation of a new Pacific Division of the AHL for the 2015-16 season, comprised of five National Hockey League-affiliated teams that will be based in California.
The Pacific Division will consist of teams based in Bakersfield (Edmonton Oilers), Ontario (Los Angeles Kings), San Diego (Anaheim Ducks), San Jose (San Jose Sharks) and Stockton (Calgary Flames).
The name, logo, colors and schedule for the San Jose AHL team will be released at a later date.
“This is an exciting day for the San Jose Sharks organization and for hockey fans throughout the state of California,” said Tortora. “Having our AHL club playing in close proximity to our NHL club has innumerable benefits for the development for our young players and prospects. It also provides an opportunity for the Sharks organization to grow Sharks Territory and enhance our footprint into what is an already hockey-crazy market.”
The American Hockey League is the top developmental professional hockey league on the planet, where more than 88 percent of current National Hockey League players have developed their skills prior to earning a spot on an NHL roster.
The Sharks have a rich history of developing players through their AHL team. The list of Sharks and former Sharks who have spent time in the American Hockey League is nearly endless, but includes players such as Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, Brent Burns, Antti Niemi, Tommy Wingels, Justin Braun, Scott Hannan, Matt Nieto, Alex Stalock, Andrew Desjardins, Matt Tennyson and Matt Irwin, as well as former Sharks Ryane Clowe, Dan Boyle, Evgeni Nabokov, Jonathan Cheechoo, Marcel Goc, Christian Ehrhoff, Douglas Murray, Josh Gorges, Miikka Kiprusoff, Jason Demers … and the list goes on.
Sharks head coach Todd McLellan captured the Calder Cup, the AHL championship, as head coach of the Houston Aeros, where he served for four seasons (2001-2005). Sharks associate coach Larry Robinson played parts of two seasons with Nova Scotia before beginning his Hall of Fame NHL career.
For a deposit of $50 per seat, fans can add their name to a season ticket list for the upcoming 2015-16 season, with first priority going to existing Sharks Season Ticket Holders. More information can be found at www.sanjoseahl.com.