The San Jose Sharks are looking for a fifth member for their escape room squad.
Last season, the club had a solid group for their favorite team activity. But, recent player transactions have prevented the club from keeping their core group together.
“That was something we did last year,” Rudolfs Balcers told San Jose Hockey Now recently about the escape room. “That was fun.”
Balcers — who initiated the team-bonding activity last season — was surprisingly bought out by the San Jose Sharks this summer and signed a deal with the Florida Panthers in the offseason. He was recently claimed by the Tampa Bay Lightning off waivers.
Last season, the group often consisted of Balcers, Logan Couture, Tomas Hertl, Nick Bonino, and Jake Middleton. Jaycob Megna took over after Middleton’s departure to the Minnesota Wild. Brent Burns had also chipped in at first. But Balcers, Burns, and Middleton are gone, leaving the group shorthanded heading into their second year.
“[Radim Simek] is joining the team,” announced Couture, who often organizes the event.
“Sometimes it’s hard for me because [of the] English, but it was fun and I’m glad they took me with them,” the Czech defenseman offered. “I’m not like important for them. But I’m trying.”
“Everyone contributes, no freeloaders,” laughed Bonino.
The group has taken on two escape rooms this season, with one in Prague and one in New York. Despite missing Megna for both, the group of Couture, Hertl, Bonino, and Simek are 2-0 and recently posted an impressive score.
“Monthly record time… 38 minutes in New York,” boasted Couture.
Despite their early success, the group recognizes that they should add to their squad.
“We’re always looking for more members,” noted Couture. “We’re trying to recruit [Matt Benning]. We’ll see if we can get him in on this road trip coming up.”
That may not be a great sign for Megna, whose recent absence could see him temporarily removed from the group.
“We’ll see if maybe he can get back in on a retrial,” joked Bonino. “But we’ll see, he hasn’t shown the commitment.”
Megna pushed back, about missing the escape room in Prague, recently voted by Time Out readers as the most beautiful city in the world: “I was like, I gotta go see the city.”
One San Jose Sharks player who will never get an escape room invite?
Across the locker room, Marc-Edouard Vlasic interjected loudly, “I still did not get an invite.”
“Last guy I would want to be locked in a room with for more than two minutes,” Couture retorted. “He would purposely sabotage the team. He would hide clues.”
Vlasic conceded: “Yeah, that would probably be me.”
The group plans to take on another escape room at some point during this four-game road trip, possibly today in Minnesota. Undefeated this season — and expected to add more players to the mix — the San Jose Sharks should definitely be favored to come out with a win in their next escape room.
Sheng’s Travel Fund
Help fund Sheng's travel! Every dollar goes to the cost of getting to and from Sharks road games.