It might not be how Dustin Wolf drew it up exactly when he was a kid, but at least the San Jose Sharks are part of his NHL debut.
The 21-year-old Gilroy native, who grew up a Sharks and Evgeni Nabokov fan, will make his NHL debut for the Calgary Flames tonight against the Sharks. Wolf will become the first player from Gilroy, about a half hour south of San Jose, to play in the NHL.
It’s a long way from the Gilroy Garlic Festival for the 2019 seventh-round pick, who keeps adding to his list of accomplishments. Wolf was the 2020 CHL Goaltender of the Year, won a World Junior Championships gold medal in 2021, and was the 2022 AHL Goaltender of the Year.
And now, he’s in the NHL…against his former team and hero.
“The Sharks were always the team, and Nabokov was my guy,” Wolf told the Sharks’ Brandon Weiss last year. “I attached myself to him pretty quickly. There was a kid that seemed to always have gear from Nabokov, and I was always jealous of that. A couple of summers ago (in 2020) when the pandemic was really big, back home and hanging out with family, I had an old coach who set up a meeting with ‘Nabby.’ We sat down and had a chit chat.
“It was crazy. I grew up watching him play hockey. Next thing I knew, I was able to interact with him as just people.”
Nabokov, of course, is the Sharks’ director of goaltending.
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Needless to say, Wolf isn’t a Sharks fan anymore.
— Derek Wills (@Fan960Wills) April 12, 2023
But there’s no doubt seeing that familiar teal across the ice will charge him up.
“I’m trying to maybe downplay it a little bit, but obviously I’m pretty excited,” Wolf told Calgary media. “You dream of this moment your whole life and for the day to finally come, it’s pretty special. Just try to take it all in.”
Dustin Wolf's proud parents, Mike and Michelle, had plans to be in attendance to cheer him on tonight … in an AHL game in Abbotsford. Change of plans. They hopped a flight to Calgary last night and will be at #Flames-Sharks as their son plays his first NHL game. https://t.co/JQSS1xlzjj
— Wes Gilbertson (@WesGilbertson) April 12, 2023
San Jose Sharks (22-42-16)
Quinn says Kahkonen will start, Simek will play D tonight and MacDonald will go up front (for sent-down Raska).
Hertl will stay on the wing, Quinn says he's just experimenting, now's the time to do it
— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) April 12, 2023
Calgary Flames (37-27-17)
#Flames projected tonight vs. San Jose:
— Pat Steinberg (@Fan960Steinberg) April 12, 2023
Where To Watch
The San Jose Sharks will take on the Calgary Flames at 7 PM PST at Scotiabank Saddledome. Watch it live on TNT. Listen to it on the Sharks Audio Network.
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