How to Win Fans, by Brent Burns

How does one build a following of fans before playing a single shift for his NHL team? New San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns is showing just how it's done.

If you're following Burns on Twitter, you know that he loves riding a bike and goes riding on a regular basis in the summer. It is certainly one big advantage of being traded to San Jose Sharks - Northern California is one of the most bike friendly areas in the world, with plenty of trails and the weather that allows bikers to ride all year around. Brent Burns is biking to get ready for the season, "to shed a couple more pounds" as he told the bikers this morning. New hockey seasons starts next Friday with the training camp.

Last night Brent Burns made a last minute decision to invite the fans on Twitter to join him for a ride from Los Gatos up to Saratoga on Highway 9:


Eight bikers showed this morning up to join him. Few more, including myself, came by without a bike to say hello. Brent Burns was at the spot early, and ready go.

Ever since arriving to San Jose, Brent Burns embraced all that's good about the area. He's riding his bike on all the great trails, he took a tour of the Specialized factory in Morgan Hill, he went to Napa, and he's been eating at all the good restaurants South Bay has to offer. And he no doubt has the most entertaining Twitter feed on the Sharks.

NHL players are known to be very down to earth and approachable when compared to other pro athletes playing in the States. But inviting fans to join a bike ride is taking it to a whole new level. Our respect for the new Shark Brent Burns continues to grow, even before he played a single game or scored his first goal. It's no wonder the fans in Minnesota hated seeing him traded.

Having seen how Burns interacts with his fans after Captain's Ice, what he does in the community with his support of the troops, and how he is full of life just in general, there's no doubt he'll become a fan favorite in San Jose in no time.

And that's how it's done.