The last match with the Pittsburgh Penguins on my 2020 trip along the West Coast was at the San Jose Sharks. After the matches at Staples Center in Los Angeles and Honda Center in Anaheim, I was really curious about the SAP Center in San Jose and the match there. The small side story that the professional ice hockey team of my home town Cologne is also called “Sharks” (Kölner Haie in German) was just a small factor. Here are my thoughts about the services around the match.
SAP Center San Jose – Location & Traffic
SAP Center is really in the heart of San Jose. Downtown San Jose is just a short walk away, Diridon Station gives a good public transport connection. The driving distance to San Jose airport is about three miles. Two interstates, I-280 and I-880 are closely connected. It is also just a short walk from bars and other services in close proximity.
As I had an early morning flight with Alaska Airlines to Las Vegas, the next morning, I headed to the San Francisco Airport area right after the match. Reserving well-located parking lot for the match was easy, the general traffic situation ws really fine.
SAP Center San Jose – Arena & Tickets
SAP Center is currently used by two professional ice hockey teams, the San Jose Sharks and San Jose Barracuda (AHL). I was initially thinking to see a Barracuda match as well, but then opted to explore some Silicon Valley sights the same day. The capacity for ice hockey matches is 17,562. For concerts, you may have up to 19,190 spectators. The arena has been opened in 1993. It is definitely not as modern as for example T-Mobile Arena in Vegas, but it was fine. The view from the seats was good.
For German early-bookers, ticket situation in California is overall rather relaxed. I would still say that compared to the matches at Staples Center and Honda Center, you might have to be a bit earlier, if you want to go for a certain ticket. For abroad visitors, the San Jose Sharks used Will Call, which worked very well with my German ID card.
SAP Center San Jose – Atmosphere
Definitely, just regarding the three California venues I visited on my February 2020 trip, I liked the atmosphere in San Jose most. They had a small street festival for the fans before the match – overall, the atmosphere was very friendly, but people also felt to love and support their Sharks.
The same applied for the atmosphere in the SAP Center before and during the match. Not as cheerful as in Canada or on the East Coast, but there was some support for the home team, definitely.
SAP Center San Jose – Food
The nutrition situation was majorly served by food court alike places. After having had typical NHL Food the days before, I was quite happy to run into a Panda Express before the match. Overall, the situation was fine – there could have been more places to enjoy your bites before the match, though… I am just not Americanized enough to eat at my seat.
SAP Center San Jose – Shopping & Services
Surprisingly, shopping was a bit more limited compared to other venues. Nonetheless, SAP Center of course offered sufficient opportunities to spend some money. The entrance procedure was a bit bothering and time-consuming, though.
SAP Center also hosts the San Jose Sports Hall Of Fame, which is a nice visit for sports fans (even if it is just some portraits on the arena wall).
SAP Center San Jose – My View
I really enjoyed visiting my first time match at the San Jose Sharks. On the atmosphere side, I would even say that this has been my favorite venue on that trip. The services were better in Anaheim. Of course, it cannot compare to very modern arenas like the home ice of the Vegas Golden Knights.