The SF Bulls (as the new San Jose Sharks affiliate), will be the home team when they face the Stockton Thunder (last year’s Sharks affiliate) at the HP Pavilion in San Jose. The game is scheduled for Monday, December 17 at 7:30 pm. There will be free tickets available, even some for those without season tickets or ticket packages for the Sharks or the Bulls. General public tickets will be available Dec 12. Parking will be free in the HP lot on a first come-first serve basis. Bring a toy for Toys for Tots. They are the beneficiary of this event. Fans hungry for hockey will also get some relief.
Is this the beginning of a make whole arrangement with the fans? You can never make whole again, but you can try to make amends.
Last winter, I tried to fly out of Detroit in perfectly mild weather, but there was some insane fog in San Francisco, so my flight was canceled. It was rescheduled, and then that flight was delayed too. It was a big long foul-up. I found ways to kill about eight hours, but eventually was stuck sitting on the plane for two hours before it actually took off. What kept me calm during that last bit of waiting was this: anticipation that I would get a prize for my patience.
That’s what you’re supposed to get when someone really wrecks your day, screws up your schedule, gives you reason to resent them. Sitting there in that stuffy airplane cabin, I expected free drinks, or a credit for future travel, or a free checked bag, or something like that. They had to give it to us, they couldn’t risk a flight load of people rioting in the air. We got nothing, we got no food or drink, free or otherwise. It was insulting. We were advised later to go to the airline website and fill out a form explaining our experience. Still we did not riot. I suppose self-preservation is strong in our species.
So I don’t expect free gifts for putting up with lousy service anymore. I am giddy to get free things, even when I totally deserve something. In this light, I expect nothing from the NHL. I don’t expect free games or fancy presents or any kind of apology at all. Not even a withered daisy. When it’s all said and done, I absolutely expect them to say “okay, thanks for being patient, you can come give us your money now.” Once upon a time, a business did more than say sorry for messing up. I fear those days are fading fast.
So I am genuinely surprised by this mid-season ECHL game at the Shark Tank, apparently free of charge, including parking if you can get it. That free parking is nothing to sniff at– that really is a nice gift. Is this an early apology? Not just to the fans, but to all those businesses set adrift by the lockout? It can be a boost for the Bulls too, exposing them to some hockey fans who might not have been willing to make the trip to San Francisco yet. Maybe this game will highlight the fact that, lockout or no, we do have hockey. If you want to see professional hockey, you can see professional hockey.
It’s fitting to make it a Toys for Tots game. Toys won’t feed tots but they make them happy for bit. Happy is better, for everyone. It takes the edge off the anger. It doesn’t make whole, but you can never make a thing whole again once it’s broken.
(Originally published at Kukla’s Korner.)