The 2024 AHL All-Star Game in San Jose is just another example of how the Barracuda are trying to carve out their own identity in Sharks Territory.
San Jose Barracuda director of business operations Eric Grundfast came on board with the team last August and has made his presence felt. With the upcoming opening of 4,200-seat Tech CU Arena, the new home of the Barracuda, Grundfast has many lofty goals for the team in terms of both in-game entertainment and overall perception of the team in the community.
Starting with the rookie tournament this Sept. 16-19, the organization is looking forward to a number of feature events, including the recently announced 2024 All-Star Classic. The team is hoping to host one marquee event every year and already has their eyes on what could come in 2025.
Outdoor hockey, anyone?
“We have the prospects tournament coming in September, next year All-Star, maybe the year after, potentially an outdoor game,” Grundfast shared. “We really want to showcase the organization in the Barracuda and create staple events to entrench ourselves more in the market and the community.”
Yes, you read that correctly. The San Jose Barracuda are looking to host an outdoor game in 2025. While there are no plans in place just yet, the fast-paced work of the organization to get events rolling in the short time since Grundfast came on board should have fans excited that the event will become reality.
It’s all part of Grundfast’s big picture vision for the Barracuda: “Some people think in the marketplace that our competition is the Niners or the Giants or the Oakland A’s or the Warriors, and that’s not our competition. Our competition is something where you can get your family of four in for less than $100 on a group ticket, and that might be something like bowling or going to a theme park, something like that.
“We want to be looked at as affordable family fun in the marketplace and in the community.”
As for in-game entertainment? Fans can anticipate a more interactive experience from the time doors open to the time the final buzzer sounds on the night. The organization is also looking to appeal more to the next-door San Jose State crowd, and make TechCU Arena the place to be if you’re looking for a fun night out for college students too.
Grundfast also mentioned that Barracuda fans can expect to have 8-10 games broadcast on local television next season. Seeing the Barracuda on television can only help with brand recognition in the Bay Area.
Getting the players out in the community will also help with that.
“We want to groom these players both on the ice and off the ice to get them out in the community,” he said. “Going to Sharks Ice, going to school events, going to the community events along with our staff. That’ll help grow them both personally and professionally.”
Grundfast also said that two more new San Jose Barracuda jerseys will be dropped this summer, one in potentially July, and the other in August. The “Blackout” jersey debuted last month:
“We’re excited about the next jersey reveal,” he said. “I’m not going to give a sneak peek of what the colors are, but I can say that one of them is going to be a little bit more unique than something that’s been seen in the past in the marketplace.”
So, San Jose hockey fans, be excited for a new era of the San Jose Barracuda, no matter what the result is on the ice.
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