December 4, 2012 - ECHL (ECHL) - Stockton Thunder
STOCKTON, Calif. - The Stockton Thunder, a two-time recipient of the ECHL "Award of Excellence," announced in conjunction with the San Jose Sharks of the National Hockey League that an ECHL regular season game between the Thunder and San Francisco Bulls has been scheduled for Monday, Dec. 17 at 7:30 p.m. at HP Pavilion at San Jose.
It will be the first game in Thunder history to be played on a current NHL ice surface - located only 80 miles away from the Thunder's home ice of Stockton Arena. The Thunder has drawn over 1.5 million fans to Stockton Arena since 2005-06, its first season in the ECHL, and led the league in attendance from 2005-09.
"We all miss having the game of hockey at HP Pavilion," said Sharks Sports & Entertainment's Executive Vice President of Business Operations Malcolm Bordelon. "This free event is a way for us to say thank you to our loyal and patient fans, while also trying to assist those who have been directly impacted by the labor dispute between the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players' Association."
With a full capacity of 17,562 seats for hockey, HP Pavilion at San Jose has served as home ice of the Sharks since 1993 and underwent a $16.5 million renovation in 2007, offering an enhancement in audio and video experiences for fans in attendance. HP Pavilion at San Jose was named the "toughest road arena" by NHL players in a survey conducted by Sports Illustrated in 2010.
"It will be a great opportunity for our players to play in an environment that rivals the NHL experience," said Thunder head coach Matt Thomas. "It will be two Northern California teams competing in an NHL market in front of NHL executives which is sure to bring added intensity to an already growing rivalry."
In addition, the Sharks Foundation will be hosting a "Toys for Tots" toy drive at the North and South Entrances of HP Pavilion. Guests can bring a new, unwrapped toy or make a monetary donation to support those less fortunate during the holiday season. All donors will receive a raffle ticket for prize drawings to be held that night.
The Thunder carries an extensive connection with the NHL as the affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers since the 2006-07 season. Eight players assigned by Edmonton have advanced from the Thunder to make their NHL debut. Most recently, forward Milan Kytnar became the first Thunder player to play in the NHL after being directly recalled from Stockton last season.
Season ticket holders of the San Jose Sharks and San Francisco Bulls will have first-priority for seating. Tickets that can be printed at home will be made available to the general public, space permitting, at www.ticketmaster.com beginning on Wed., Dec. 12 at 10 a.m.. All guests MUST have a ticket to enter the building.
Parking for the event is free for all attendees on a first-come, first-served basis in HP Pavilion-controlled parking lots.
Stockton was also the ECHL affiliate of San Jose from 2010-12. The game is a rescheduled date from a Bulls home game on Wednesday, Jan. 16 which was originally set for the Cow Palace.
For more information about tickets, merchandise, or other inquiries contact the Stockton Thunder offices at (209) 373-1500 or visit www.stocktonthunder.com.