Our local professional hockey team, the San Jose Sharks, is on the brink of completing a sweep of their regional rivals the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Playoffs! On top of that add a dose of NBA basketball playoffs (Go Warriors! Who are also battling an LA team) and the start of baseball season and what you have is the fact that the Bay Area is the hotspot of sports right now. Besides the obvious fact that Northern California >> Southern California.

A few months ago we were lucky enough to attend our first San Jose Sharks hockey game with my uncle and cousin and it was by far one of the most fun sporting events I have attended. First of all, it gets very loud in the "tank" (the popular nickname for the SAP Center), which is perfect when you have a toddler because then you don't feel guilty about disrupting your fellow attendees' experience. Second, the fans are crazy in a good way. They have all these crazy, funny chants throughout the game which were hard to follow at first, but once we got the hang of them it was extremely fun to cheer alongside the other 17,000 fans. Third, the hockey is intense (this video  might give you an idea). These guys are skating forward and backwards at ridiculous speeds and they are chasing around this tiny little black puck, not to mention banging into each other at every opportunity. But even though it was my first time I still felt that I got the hang of the game and what was going on, even if I didn't always know where the actual puck was. The most exhilarating part was that the game ended in a shootout, which is when they are still tied after regular time and over time and the teams take turns attempting to score one on one against the goalies, much like in soccer. 

If you get the chance to attend a Sharks game in the future here are some tips that helped make our experience better:

1. Get there early!
 We planned to be there with enough time to have dinner before in one of the restaurants a few blocks away from the SAP Center. With a toddler, it was nice to sit down and eat before entering the venue filled with all the tempting treats. It also gave us enough time to find our seats and find the nearest bathrooms to them, which made for a relaxed mom throughout the game.

2. Parking
We looked up parking options prior to the game so that we wouldn't be stressed or hurried when we got there. If the game is during the week, the traffic can get a little hectic around the SAP Center, so it is best to know exactly where you are going once you get off of the freeway. The SAP Center has a section detailing their Parking Lots that was very useful, we parked in Lot D and it was a comfortable walk to dinner and back to the "tank". It was also easy to get out after the game was done.

3. Public Transportation
If you would rather skip the driving and parking part, the Amtrak railroad station is across the street from the SAP Center. One thing to consider is the fact that the hockey games don't have a scheduled ending time so you might want to make sure there are multiple return train options.