Mar 1, 2022

Hey, Cuda Country! Nick Nollenberger here. Hope everyone had a great week. During the season, almost all of my weekends are booked, but with a rare off-weekend I got some much needed R&R.


Now it’s back to business. 14 games in March and 24 in total left in the regular season. Of the 24 remaining games, 16 of those will be played at home (three at Sharks Ice, 13 at SAP Center).


Unfortunately, the San Diego Gulls got some stellar goaltending over the weekend from Lukas Dostal, which culminated in AHL Player of the Week honors, and a weekend sweep of the Henderson Silver Knights. With the two wins, San Diego now has a seven-point lead on the Barracuda for the final playoff spot in the division, with two games in hand. Reaching the playoffs isn’t completely out of the question, but things are starting to look bleak. There’s plenty to play for though. Every game is a job interview in the AHL. Especially with the impending NHL trade deadline (March 21) coming up. The amount of scouts at each one of our games over the last month has certainly hit overdrive, but that's not anything new this time of year. Teams are just doing their homework.


Before we dive into this week’s blog, I want to issue a congratulations to Scott Reedy who netted his first NHL goal on Sunday in the Sharks 3-1 victory over the Seattle Kraken. On top of it being his first, he also made some Sharks history by becoming the first Sharks rookie to score his first NHL goal while he was on the ice with four other fellow rookies. Reedy has been arguably the Barracuda’s MVP all season long. Consistently providing offense for Roy Sommer’s team. Despite the club's struggles this year, Reedy has been a HUGE brightspot from a development standpoint.


With that, let’s get things started. Two topics come to mind for me this week. One, some big news came down the wire on Tuesday morning for the Barracuda and their future home. The team officially announced pricing for its 4,200 seat arena which will open next season. Two, our Hockey Is For Everyone Night is this Sunday (March 6 – 5 p.m.) against the Tucson Roadrunners and it will feature some history in the making.


The first two things I noticed were the season ticket and individual ticket prices. For a single game, the cheapest ticket will run you just $12 and glass seats will go for $60. So, for anyone concerned about prices spiking dramatically in the new arena, don’t be alarmed, it'll be extremely affordable. Buy season tickets and you can get glass seats for $40 per game. I’m not saying this because I’m an employee of the team, but that is an incredible value. To put it in perspective, you can bring your family to a Barracuda game for less than it would cost to go to the movies, or the driving range, or go-carting, etc. The fact that we're able to introduce high-level hockey at such an affordable rate is incredible. Full details and pricing can be found here.


With pricing officially public, things are getting real! And I can’t wait.


We wrap up this week’s edition of Nolly’s Notes talking about arguably the biggest promotional game of the year. As part of Hockey Is For Everyone Night (HIFE) on Sun., March 6, the Barracuda game will feature a diverse group of on-ice officials including, for the first time, a pair of female officials (Samantha Hiller – Referee, Kirsten Welsh – Linesperson) working a Barracuda game. In addition, Jordan Samuels-Thomas who is the only active Black referee in the AHL will also be part of the crew. Just one other time this year have there been two female officials working one game. 


The AHL’s Vice President of Hockey Operations, Hayley Moore, will be dropping the ceremonial first puck (check out my interview with her below) and during warmups, both teams will have the opportunity to use pride tape on their hockey sticks. During the intermission, there will be a Jr. Sharks shoutout challenge featuring multiple members from the girls’ program. The Zamboni drivers working the game will be female members of the staff from Sharks Ice. There are expected to be more than 150 girls in attendance for the game from the Jr. Sharks 10U, 12U, 14U, 16U, and 19U programs.


Stick taps to Hayley Moore with the AHL and our Marketing Manager, Kendra Hodgdon for pulling this all together. 


About Samantha Hiller:

In her first season in the AHL, Hiller, 28, a native of Boulder, Colorado, has been officiating hockey games since she was 14 years old and has also spent time working on the Colorado Avalanche ice crew. She made her AHL debut on Oct. 23, 2021, in a game between the Chicago Wolves and Milwaukee Admirals. Hiller, a full-time firefighter, and paramedic in Lake Forest, Ill., was one of 10 female officials hired by the AHL this past offseason. 

About Kirsten Welsh:

In her first season in the AHL, Welsh, 25, a native of Blackstock, Ontario, played four years of DI hockey at Robert Morris University before crossing over to officiating in 2019. She became the first female official in an Ontario Hockey League game between the Guelph Storm and Mississauga Steelheads on Sept. 30, 2021. Welsh first was introduced to officiating in 2019 when she attended the Exposure Combine and then the 2020 Mentorship Program, an NHL initiative to have NHL officials work with elite female officials to spur conversation on the profession, including tips, tricks, and advice.


About Hayley Moore:

Moore, 35, just concluded her first year as the AHL’s VP of Hockey Operations after serving in various capacities with the Boston Pride of the National Woman’s Hockey League (now the Premier Hockey Federation – FHL) from 2015-20, including president and general manager. Moore played four years at Brown University from 2004-08, before serving as an assistant coach at UMass-Boston (2009-10) and at Harvard University (2012-13). In 2015, her first year as the General Manager of the Boston Pride, she selected Kendall Coyne Schofield in the 2015 NWHL Draft.


About Jordan Samuels-Thomas:

Samuels-Thomas, 31, is in his second season as an official in the AHL after a six-year playing career. The West Hartford, Conn., native was selected in the seventh round (203rd overall) by the Atlanta Thrashers in 2009 after playing collegiately at Bowling Green State University and Quinnipiac University. In total, he played 195 games in the AHL between Rochester, Ontario, and San Diego, notching 56 points (28 goals, 28 assists) and 151 penalty minutes. Samuels-Thomas also had stints playing in the ECHL and Europe.


A reminder, Sunday is also Pucks & Paws Night. Find out how you can bring your canine friend to the game by clicking here. That’ll do it for this edition of Nolly’s Notes. Thanks so much for reading and so long until next time.



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