The San Jose Sharks hockey team made a $30,000 donation to help a Peninsula high school’s special needs hockey group, the team announced Tuesday.
The Sharks Foundation made the donation to advance the hockey group at Sequoia High School in Redwood City as part of the foundation’s Big Give Program.
The donation will also help other adaptive hockey groups throughout California, according to the Sharks.
Originally, high school’s hockey group had been seeking funding to cover the cost of ice time that was previously covered by grants the group no longer qualified for. However, after learning about the team’s lack of financial resources, the Foundation decided to help, Sharks officials said.
The Sharks Foundation surprised the group by inviting them to the Solar4America Ice rink in San Jose to watch a Sharks practice. After the practice, the group was escorted to a private locker room, where they were gifted new hockey equipment, including skates, jerseys, gloves and hockey bags for each member.
Sharks defenseman Paul Martin also visited the group.
After a skate session with Sharks players Dylan DeMelo, Matt Nieto, Kevin Labanc, Timo Meier and assistant coaches Steve Spott and Johan Hedberg, the Sharks presented the group with a check for $5,000. The money will cover the program’s ice time for both the spring and fall semesters in 2017, according to Sharks officials.
The group will now be able to register with the USA Hockey Program, making them eligible to participate in the Disabled Hockey Festival taking place in San Jose in April.
Sharks Foundation Manager Heather Hooper said in a statement:
“Our hope is that with this support, the Sequoia team can have access resource and tool they need and therefore, can truly focus on what is most important-getting out on the ice and simply enjoying the game of hockey.”
USA Hockey’s Pacific District Representative Kellie Hays said in a statement:
“Partnering with generous organizations like the Sharks Foundation helps us remove barriers from emerging programs and shows that hockey is for everybody.”