Hello Cuda Country! Faith Christensen, here – your Barracuda Marketing and Community Relations Assistant. It is hard to believe that we are already well into the second half of the hockey season – and what a season it has been so far! On the ice, we are currently are sitting in second place in our division and fifth place in our conference with one of the best records in organizational history. Off the ice, we have been just as busy and determined out in our local community connecting with new and returning Barracuda fans and we wanted to share with you all what we have been up to through the first half of the season.
It has been a full few months for our flagship educational program, Barracuda Math Class with us reaching our season capacity for scheduled visits back in November! So far, we have visited over 60 classrooms in San Jose, Fremont, Gilroy, Morgan Hill, Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, and Union City and we still have over 40 classrooms to see before April! Not only have I and our Barracuda street team been running these visits in the classroom, we have also been able to bring along Frenzy and some of our players such as Cavan Fitzgerald, Nick DeSimone, Manny Wiederer, Kyle Wood, Francis Perron, Keaton Middleton, Antoine Bibeau, and John McCarthy. Our Math Class availability is full for the 2018-19 season but feel free to fill out the request form here to be put on the waitlist for next season!
Hockey 101 is our other school-based program that provides 1st – 6th grade students the opportunity to play street hockey and learn the skills that the Barracuda players have mastered as they trained to become professional hockey players. After the students rotate through some fundamental skill stations, they are then able to use what they just learned in a fast-paced relay race after which all students receive Barracuda swag! This season so far, we have visited over 50 classrooms throughout San Jose, Sunnyvale, San Francisco, Saratoga, Santa Clara, Fremont, Gilroy, Redwood City, and Aptos with over half of those being schools which are brand new to the program. If you’d like information on how to book a Hockey 101 visit for your class or after-school/summer program, please fill out the registration here and remember, these visits can be booked year-round!
Now let’s talk about some unforgettable non-school visit related moments we’ve had this season. In mid-October, season ticket holders were able to come meet the 2018-19 San Jose Barracuda players and coaching staff at a member only party in Stanley’s at Solar4America Ice in San Jose. Throughout the evening, members were able to chat and hang out with the team – the kids were even able to play some fun board games with the players. Then in January, members were also able to attend a mid-season party, this time at Dave and Busters. The night consisted of great food, tons of games, and lots of prizes so it’s safe to say fun was had by all (not to name any names, but some of the players even stayed after everyone left to continue playing games).
In addition to season ticket holder events, our players stay busy connecting with the local community in a multitude of ways. One way that they get to partner with you as well is through our annual Teddy Bear Toss! On December 21st, Barracuda fans threw thousands of stuffed animals onto the ice following the first goal scored by Dylan Gambrell. Many of the animals are donated the night of the game to some incredible youth organizations but on January 7th, Kyle Wood, Antoine Bibeau, and Alexander True were also able to bring a few carts full of those animals to the Pediatric Care Unit at Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara. They even got to bring bears that they had created at Build-A-Bear just a few weeks earlier. It is easily one of our favorite days of the season as the guys get to meet some incredibly strong children at Kaiser and share a little holiday cheer with them. Another exciting holiday program we get to do each year is our annual Gifts and Goals event. This season we partnered with a new organization, the Kinship, Adoptive and Foster Parent Association (KAFPA), where each Barracuda player was matched with a child who is in foster care or an adoptive home. Leading up to the game on December 30th, players purchased presents for their matched child who was invited to attend the game with their family. Directly following the game, the children and players were able to meet to open their presents and spend some time hanging out together. We were honored to get to partner with these new families this year and we are so looking forward to continuing such a special program for years to come!
Not only do the Cuda players make appearances in the community, so do our Barracuda street team and the hardest working fish in the AHL, Frenzy! This season, Frenzy has been able to drop by lots of unique and exciting community events. Some of these include the HERS Breast Cancer Walk, the Turkey Trot, the District 8 Fall Festival, the Hillside Harvest Festival, and Sharks and Parks. Frenzy is available to attend appearances at festivals, runs, birthday parties, corporate outings, youth hockey practices, and more so if you’d like to request a Frenzy appearance, please fill out the form here.
Our street team has also been able to attend some great events this season around the Bay Area such as PetCon, Day in the Park, and the Art and Wine Festival in San Jose as well as the Superhero Heart Run in Fremont. At these events, our street team brings some Barracuda giveaways and the opportunity to enter to win tickets to a Barracuda game, and even sometimes the inflatable slap shot booth! If you’d like to request an appearance from our street team at your community event, please fill out of the request form here.
This season, we have also started a new philanthropic initiative called Cuda Cares Change Jars. At any Barracuda home game, you can purchase a Cuda Cares mason jar at the Chuck-A-Puck table outside of section 115/116 for $10. Fill up your jar with your loose change and dollars and once it is full you get to bring the change back and fill out a form to receive a puck signed by the Barracuda player of your choice. All of the change this season will be donated to My New Red Shoes, which is a non-profit that helps provide clothing and shoes to low-income and homeless children in the Bay Area so that every student can feel confident going to school. If you’d like to purchase one, please stop by the Chuck-a-Puck table to do so!
With that, I will go ahead and wrap this up! While I have covered a lot, this is only truly a glance at all of the community events and outreach we do here in Cuda Country. Joey, Frenzy, and I are always looking for more ways to connect with our community so if you have any events, requests, or ideas please send them our way. Thanks for taking the time to check in on our corner of the team!