The San Jose Sharks are not welcome at Oakland Arena this season.
An Alameda County Public Health Department spokesperson told San Jose Hockey Now this afternoon that they would not approve a temporary Sharks move to Oakland Arena.
Oakland Arena is located in Alameda County. On Tuesday, SJHN reported that the Coliseum Authority, manager of the Oakland Arena, was open to hosting the San Jose Sharks temporarily.
At that time, San Jose Hockey Now was awaiting comment from the county.
So at the moment, the Sharks remain essentially homeless because of Santa Clara County’s ban on contact sports, which has forced the team to pause informal workouts at their training facility in San Jose. The ban is in place until December 21st, and if extended, could force the Sharks out of their home county for both the opening of training camp and the regular season. The NHL would like to start training camp on January 2nd and the season on January 13th.
Neighboring Alameda County, on the surface, was a sensible short-term destination for the San Jose Sharks. Sharks Sports & Entertainment owns a NHL-sized practice rink in Fremont and Oakland Arena has hosted NHL games in the past, most recently a 2000 Sharks exhibition.
So where does the county’s policy leave the Sharks in the Bay Area? Chase Center…or the Cow Palace?
A Chase Center spokesperson told SJHN on Wednesday: “While Chase Center has the capability to host ice shows like Disney On Ice, we were not designed to be an NHL facility, so we wouldn’t be in the conversation to host a Sharks game.”
Meanwhile, the Cow Palace, the San Jose Sharks’ original home, is over 80 years old. It would be a sentimental place for the team to hang their helmets, especially on their 30th anniversary, but perhaps not realistic.
How about outside California?
Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley has been openly courting teams to come to T-Mobile Arena to play, including all the California NHL clubs. He told 8NewsNow’s Chris Maathuis on Wednesday, “They need to come here.”
Kevin Kurz of The Athletic also reported on Wednesday that Arizona was a likely alternative destination for San Jose Sharks training camp:
Hearing that if the Sharks are not able to hold training camp in San Jose/Santa Clara County, then somewhere in the Phoenix/Scottsdale AZ area is the likeliest relocation scenario.
(Wilson, Wilson Jr. both have houses there, although that’s certainly not the primary reason).
— Kevin Kurz (@KKurzNHL) December 9, 2020
So the Sharks may be desert-bound for more than training camp.
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