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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Sharks sighted in Marlborough

MARLBOROUGH

The Worcester Sharks will call the DCU Center home this season. But on Friday night, the American Hockey League's newest franchise will skate over to New England Sports Center to put on an early showcase for area fans.

The Sharks, the primary affiliate of the NHL's San Jose Sharks, will play an exhibition game against the Manchester (N.H.) Monarchs at NESC's Rink No. 1 (seating capacity: 2,000) with an 8 p.m. faceoff. Tickets are $5.

"One of the things we realize, we can't live within just the city limits of Worcester, you have to branch out," said Sharks president Michael Lehr. "And one of our key goals is to be very active in the community. We also know the hockey passion of the fans at (NESC). We wanted to take advantage of that."

One interesting twist: NESC owner H. Larue Renfroe recently purchased the AHL's Providence Bruins, one of the Sharks' chief rivals.

"We already have a partnership with Larue in the AHL and this only enhances our partnership." The Sharks will also utilize NESC as one of their practice facilities. Later in the season, NESC will offer a free public skate with Sharks players.

"We're all working together to promote the game of hockey," said Wes Tuttle, general manager at NESC.

The Sharks open the season Oct. 7 at Portland before playing their first game in the DCU Center Oct. 14 against the same Pirates squad.

The AHL is back in Worcester this season after a one-year absence. The Worcester IceCats departed for Peoria, Ill. after the 2004-05 season.

For information, call NESC at 508-229-2700.

-- Craig Larson

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