Stick to It
Joel Ward at Solar4America Ice in San Jose, the Sharks’ practice facility (a few miles from SAP Center).
It’s easy to understand why, no matter which team he’s playing on—the Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, Washington Capitals or, now, San Jose Sharks—Joel Ward is a fan favorite. There’s his talents in the rink: After joining the Sharks in mid-2015, he enjoyed one of the best seasons of his 10-year NHL career, culminating in a trip to the Stanley Cup Final. And Ward has proven to be a power player in the local community as well, getting involved with organizations such as Vision to Learn, which provides glasses for children, and visiting young patients at Kaiser Permanente as part of Capes4Heroes. “We all were, at one point, kids, and I grew up in a single-parent household,” says Ward, who was raised in Toronto and currently lives in San Jose’s Willow Glen area. “I’ve had a lot of support over the years, and if it wasn’t for all of the people who helped me, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do today.”
One upcoming charitable event that he’s looking forward to participating in again is the Sampling with the Sharks wine-tasting fundraiser, scheduled for February 16. The annual benefit for the Sharks Foundation allows attendees the opportunity to mingle with players, coaches, broadcasters and alumni. Among the items up for grabs this year will be a Pride Mountain Vineyards package, which includes a stay in the estate vineyard’s guesthouse and a gourmet dinner in the caves. Those wanting player paraphernalia will be enticed by a Brent Burns’ game-worn jersey and a game-used Martin Jones goalie stick.
Last year’s Sampling with the Sharks raised more than $200,000, with $80,000 coming from the silent and live auctions. Ward’s live auction contribution—which entailed a visit to Testarossa Winery and dinner at Forbes Mill Steakhouse—went for $10,000. Ward is still in touch with the winners of the auction. “I got to know another side to a couple of season ticket holders and make some friends,” he says. “Hopefully, this year, I’ll get a chance to do the same and duplicate the amount.”
Originally published in the January issue of Silicon Valley