Sunday, May 2, 2010

How the real-life shark got on Sharks playoff ice

Call it the Great Shark Caper II.

While the Sharks went two up on the Red Wings in the best-of-seven games Western Conference semifinals playoff series on Sunday night, Sharks fans one-upped Red Wings in a longstanding Stanley Cup tradition.

When San Jose’s Joe Pavelski scored the game-tying goal on Sunday night at the Shark Tank to make the score 1-1, a Sharks fan in Section 114 ran down to rink side and hurled a day-old leopard shark over the glass and onto the blue line on the ice. Inside the shark’s mouth was an octopus, the symbol of success in Red Wings’ lore.

Pavelski nearly skated over the stuffed shark celebrating the goal. Little Joe meet Big Stunt.

"It was some kind of fish," Pavelski told me after the game, a 4-3 Sharks' victory. "It surprised me. I almost tripped over it. I didn't see it coming. I'm just glad it didn't hit me."

How does that happen? It happened exactly three years ago on Sunday when the same group of Sharks fans conspired to sneak a 48-inch leopard shark past security to their seats.

I know. I wrote the exclusive story about …

The Sharks fans vowed at that time they would do it again when the Sharks met the Wings again the playoffs. They pulled off the Delta House-like "Eat Me"" prank again.

They had conflicts and missed Game 1 of the series on Thursday night but put their secret plan into motion on Friday morning. They bought an octopus in a fish market on Mission in the City. Unfortunately, the shark they had ordered from North Carolina turned out to be of poor quality and not up to their standards.

So they scrambled to find another one, searching piers throughout the Bay Area for more than 12 hours on Saturday. Mission improbable began to look impossible. Things were real bleak on Saturday night but then they got a cell phone call tipping them off that someone had hooked a real-life 36-inch leopard shark at McNear Pier in San Rafael.

One shark: $40.
One octopus: $12.
Two playoff tickets online: $600.
The opportunity to show up the Red Wings and their fans: Priceless.

On Sunday morning, the Sharks fans sewed the octopus into the mouth of the shark then recruited a Sharks fan that had the longest inseam to sneak the stuffed shark into the San Jose Arena. That’s right. Using Velcro and duct tape, the guy had it strapped to one of his legs inside his sweat pants as he cleared security.

Once at their seats, the stuffed shark was placed under the seats the fans were sitting in. Once the Sharks scored the first goal – on a power play -- one of the fans stood up, grabbed the shark, ran down next to the Wings’ penalty box and launched the virtual sea platter onto the ice. Within a minute, an arena crew employee skated onto the ice from one end of the rink with a shovel, scooped up the shark and dumped it off the ice on the other side of the rink.

Versus may cover hockey from one end of the continent to the other but they missed that.

The Sharks Nation will not.


Anonymous Bob Cullinan said...

What a great story...bravo for finding this one, Dave.

Did you hear Bunger, Bitker and Madden talking about it this morning on KCBS?

May 3, 2010 at 8:24 AM  
Anonymous Sean Carroll said...


This "fan" could be the biggest moron in Sharks history.

It is ridiculous to steal another team's tradition. Get creative next time. Oh good job, you added an octopus in the shark's mouth. How clever of you to make it not an exact copycat idea of the Wings.

My issue is that throwing a DEAD shark onto the ice is such a bad omen on many levels. Sure, you added the octopus, but the Shark was DEAD. To me, that is something a Wings fan would do in Detroit.

It is like rooting against the Sharks, you fool.

I hope that whoever this idiotic fan will be banned from life at the Tank. He is lucky that myself or other fans with some sense weren't near him. I would have made sure he was caught by security and escorted out.

Dave, thanks for this article, but seriously, every fan of the Sharks thinks this guy is a moron.

May 3, 2010 at 10:53 AM  
Anonymous Richard said...

Those guys are morons, thanks a lot for giving them positive publicity they don't deserve.

If I had been sitting next to them, I would have attempted to foil their attempt.

May 3, 2010 at 11:30 AM  
Anonymous Kat said...

I agree with Sean and Richard, these guys are idiots, a dead shark is definitely an insult to our team, and I'm pretty sure the people who plan this are just Playoff Bandwagon folks. Morons.

May 3, 2010 at 3:15 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

FYI: They are longtime Sharks season ticket holders who drive at least 1 1/2 hours one-way to attend games.

May 5, 2010 at 7:39 AM  

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