The Sharks will hold their annual training camp in Scottsdale, Ariz. beginning on Dec. 31 due to the recent coronavirus guidelines out of Santa Clara County. Those guidelines state professional, collegiate and youth contact sports cannot host practices or games.
If those protocols force the Sharks to play 2021 regular season home games away from SAP Center, a familiar piece of their pregame intro won't join them.
The large Shark head the team usually skates out as the home team will not be with them as it hasn’t traveled any significant distances, a source tells NBC Sports California’s Brodie Brazil.
For now, the Sharks reportedly will open up their 2020-21 season with a road game against the Arizona Coyotes on Jan. 14 at Gila River Arena.
Brazil also says the Shark head has only left its home base on three occasions: The 1997 All-Star convention, a 2015 regular-season game against the Los Angeles Kings and during the 2019 All-Star week. It's also never been on an airplane.
Sharks players skating through the Shark head is one of the most iconic in all of sports. It’s also just really, really cool.
Sharks general manager Doug Wilson does hope the team will be able to return to San Jose for the start of the regular season. The possibilities of where to play if that’s not feasible are still up in the air.
As far as the entire NHL is concerned, Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reported as much as the league would prefer to have teams play in their home arenas, they’re prepared to play at “neutral sites should it become necessary" due to the raging coronavirus pandemic.
The Santa Clara County ban on contact sports has been extended through Jan. 8.