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Florida, Sharks hockey and me

How a kid from Florida grew up to be a Sharks fan

NHL: San Jose Sharks at Florida Panthers Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Much like KyleDemetrius, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself to the readers here at Fear the Fin.

I was born in Jacksonville, Florida to Pennsylvanian parents. Here's the thing about hockey though here in North Florida: it doesn't exist. Jacksonville has had three hockey teams in minor leagues, but all three folded, including the last attempt, the Jacksonville Barracudas (notice how they spelled theirs with an "s" at the end), folding at the end of the 2007-08 SPHL season.

The biggest hockey event in Jacksonville is the Florida-Georgia hockey game. Yes, you read that right. Even then, only a couple hundred people, if that, show up. Keep in mind, this is the same city whose football team hasn't made the playoffs since 2007, the NASL team is also terrible, the Jacksonville arena football team - named the Sharks as well - decided to leave the AFL and make their own league, and its AA minor league baseball team decided to change their name from the Suns, which they had mostly used since 1962, to the Jumbo Shrimp.

While Jacksonville has been unsuccessful in its hockey endeavors, the state of Florida is slowly warming up to the frozen sport. Whether or not other fans want to admit it or not, it's been interesting watching cities like Tampa and Sunrise start to grasp the game. With the Sharks making their annual Florida trip, I think this is something that Sharks fans need to realize.

Ever since their Cup run, the city of Tampa has started to slowly become a hockey town. I guess it helps that the other sports teams in the city, being the Buccaneers and the Rays, have been mostly mediocre in the past ten years, but it's not uncommon to see the Lightning sell out. They have a great arena and it's a lot of fun for everyone there.

When it comes to my own journey of hockey fandom, I was exposed to hockey by my parents, who were from Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, my mother is a Penguins fan and my father is a Flyers fan. However, I didn't root for either team. In fact, when I was very young, I was a huge Joe Thornton fan, so I was a Bruins fan. However, that all changed on November 30, 2005, when Joe Thornton was traded to the San Jose Sharks for Marco Sturm, Brad Stuart, and Wayne Primeau.

That was the day I became a Sharks fan. While the Bruins have managed to win a Stanley Cup since that trade as well as losing in a second attempt, I don't regret becoming a Sharks fan. I've fallen in love with so many players and have had such a blast rooting for this team that I don't see any reason to regret rooting for them in the slightest.

I would be lying to you if I said that I wasn't on the verge of manly tears of happiness when the Sharks beat the Kings and the Blues last year. Seeing my team finally in the Stanley Cup Finals last year made me more excited for Sharks hockey than ever before. Even when Jumbo retires, I'll still be a fan of Team Teal.

Editor’s Note: The editor is a big idiot and decided to run this after Saturday’s game. The following paragraph is the fault of said idiot. You should read the story here.

I'll be there in Tampa for Saturday's game, and I'm hoping to see a Sharks win there. Just a reminder, when I saw them play in Tampa in 2014, that was the game when Martin St. Louis and Joe Pavelski both had natural hat tricks (MSL ended up with 4 that day), and the Sharks won 5-4. So hopefully, the Sharks sweep their Florida road trip and get back into their groove.