This past weekend Santa Clara County issued a ban on all contact sports for at least three weeks, with the possibility of an extension down the road.
The decision left many teams in the Bay Area blindsided, including the San Francisco 49ers, San Jose State Spartans, and Stanford Cardinal football programs.
Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan most notably expressed frustration on behalf of both the NFL and Bay Area sports.
“I get it, [Santa Clara County] made that decision, we’ve got to deal with it,” Shanahan said. “But to find that out through a tweet or a press conference where I have an entire plane coming up to me, I have all wives and everyone’s girlfriends, everyone’s family members, kids, saying that what they heard there, are we going to be gone for the entire month of December? Are we going to be quarantined for 14 days when we get back? That’s all we could talk about for the last 18 hours because we got no answers from them.”
Unfortunately, this has negative implications for the Sharks as well. With the NHL eying a return as soon as January, this stunts the team’s preparation for the shortened 2021 season.
According to Kevin Kurz of The Athletic, several players on the team are already in the Bay Area and skating regularly for the past few weeks.
This decision puts the team at a dramatic disadvantage, competing with several division opponents who had the time to play in the bubble and continue practicing.
The team recently issued an official statement on the new circumstances.
“The National Hockey League has not confirmed a start date for a full NHL training camp or for the start of the 2020-2021 NHL regular season,” they said. “Until we have additional information regarding those dates, it is premature to speculate on how revised health directives from Santa Clara County will affect the San Jose Sharks plans to prepare for the upcoming season.”
This statement does provide confidence and promise for the outlook of the team in the immediate future. But due to recent legislation and how unpredictable the sports world is in the global pandemic, one can believe that the Sharks are exploring their options.
Ideally, for now, the team would benefit by finding a new location to practice that is outside of Santa Clara County.
Personally, the first location that comes to mind is the Cow Palace, the original home of the San Jose Sharks.
It is built for hockey and is located outside of Santa Clara County, positioned instead in San Mateo County. As the team itself stated, everything being said is my own speculation, but it does seem like the natural alternate home.
Ideally, the facility would just be used to allow team teal to continue skating, but if worse comes to worst, it could be the site for the 2021 season.
This would mark the first time the team has played in the Cow Palace since 1993. Hopefully, this new ordinance is just a road bump, and the team can continue to play in their home arena.