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Tips For Getting San Jose Sharks Autographs

Every so often, I post a photo of a puck or a jersey I was fortunate enough to get signed by a San Jose Sharks player. Almost invariably, someone will ask how I attained said autograph. So, here are my tips for getting autographs from Sharks players. These probably hold true for athletes from other sports as well.

Before we go any further, I must share the two most important words of advice: BE COOL!

In other words, don’t go full-on fanboy. Simply put, be respectful and polite. If the player denies your request, for whatever reason, just say “okay, thank you”. You have no idea what that player is going through at that time. Respect their decision and move on. With that said, let’s get on with it.

Fan Fests

San Jose Sharks Fan Fest 2019

San Jose Sharks Fan Fest 2019

Every year in September, the Sharks hold a festival for fans at SAP Center. These festivals include many activities, including an adult-only Tank Tailgate and other fun shenanigans. At the tailgate event, fans can sample various craft beers and play games, such as corn hole or other hockey-related games. Once you’re inside the Tank though, these Fan Fests are mostly known for being an annual event for fans to get a signature from, or photograph with, San Jose Sharks players.

The players know these events are specifically geared for photos and signings.  This is your best bet to interact with a player. There are also other San Jose Sharks signing events scheduled if you happen to be a San Jose Sharks season ticket holder. These are your best opportunities for getting your cherished item signed. However, these events are generally limited to one signature per player. This is not an event to get half of your collection signed by one player.

Practices and Postgame

Joe Pavelski signs autograph for San Jose Sharks fan

Joe Pavelski signs autograph for San Jose Sharks fan

Another way to try to get an autograph or photo with your favorite Shark is to attend a practice or hang out after a game by player parking.

The Sharks practice regularly at their facility, Solar4America Ice, and most players are receptive to fans seeking signatures and photos following a practice. As I stated earlier though, some players may not feel like signing on that particular day. This can be soul crushing for kids to see their idol and not be able to get an autograph or photo so be prepared to go to several practices or games if you’re hoping for a specific player.

Sharks fans have also been able to get autographs/photos from players as they’re leaving SAP following a game. As you can imagine, players tend to be more responsive to photos and autographs after a win so take that into account when making your request.

Signing Events

On occasion, sports shops will hold signing events with specific players. Usually it’s only one or two players and you’re usually required to pay for the autograph. However, because you’re purchasing the signature at these events, you’re generally allowed to bring as many items as you want to be signed.

Also, the Sharks and Sharks Foundation will periodically hold an event such as book drive or other promotion that will feature a player. The events typically require a donation or purchase of some sort.

Do’s and Don’ts

Again, be cool when asking a player for a photo or autograph.

Do

  • Be respectful. While you are a fan and fans support the league, the player still isn’t obligated to give you their time.
  • Be polite. Say “Excuse me, Tomas. May I have your autograph?” rather than “Hey Hertl, can you sign this?”
  • Consider other fans. When possible, move out of the way once your photo is taken or item is signed so that other fans have an opportunity too.
  • Make sure kids get in first. Some players will only sign for kids so make sure they get the first opportunity.
  • Consider a photo instead of an autograph. After all, aren’t photos are the new autograph? Players appear to be more receptive to taking a photo with you since the photo only holds value to you rather than an item to be sold for profit.

Don’t

  • Don’t show up with a ton of various merch trying to get everything signed. It’s fine to bring a couple player-specific items such as a player-specific puck or a jersey, but don’t show up with your entire memorabilia collection.
  • Don’t be the guy who shows up with fifteen 8x10s of Brent Burns and tries to get them all signed.
  • Never be the guy that posts what you got signed on eBay or Craigslist or some other site. If you’re this guy, you are literally the reason why some players are hesitant to sign memorabilia. Stop ruining it for everyone else.

Websites

What if you’re not local to San Jose? Obviously, your next best option is to purchase online from a retailer like Fanatics or another sports shop website. Many times, when sports shops hold signings, they will have that player sign extra items to be sold and the player is fully aware. These sites generally include a Certificate Of Authenticity (or COA) with your purchase to guarantee the autograph is legitimate. However, when purchasing an autographed item, do your due diligence to ensure you’re not being scammed. Some items and autographs are quite easy to replicate and there are a lot of disreputable sites on the interwebs.

Final Thoughts

Brent Burns Team Canada Jersey

Brent Burns Signed Team Canada Jersey

Some players just won’t sign autographs if they’re not at fan-specific events such as Fan Fest. I believe these players have become tired of being a nice guy, signing an autograph, only to see that signed item on eBay the next day.

Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous people in the world who post photos of themselves getting items autographed. They only do this to prove the authenticity of the signature because they’re trying to sell it. I’ve even seen examples of people trying to sell items they got for free at #TurnUpInTeal events. These people are the ones that ruin it for fans just hoping to get their one cherished item signed by their favorite player.

In an effort to combat these exploitative “fans”, Brent Burns and other players have become notorious for asking your name before signing an item so they can personalize the signature. This is a great move by Brent and I would love to see other players follow his lead. It makes it terribly difficult for shady people who sell signed merchandise as their side hustle, but it also proves you got the signature in person rather than purchasing it from somewhere else.

I’m not saying that buying a piece of autographed merchandise is a bad thing. I’m just saying I think it’s way cooler to have a personalized item.

How have you been successful at getting player photos or autographs? Leave your tips in the comments below.

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Hailey

    July 29, 2019 at 7:36 pm

    Thank you for sharing your tips. You Rock!

  2. Kevin

    July 29, 2019 at 8:31 pm

    Excellent advice. We stayed in the same hotel as the Sharks last year in Buffalo. Just walking around with my 5 year old, we got multiple pictures and autographs. Came to San Jose and got a ton after practice. Very cool experiences.

  3. Tyler

    July 29, 2019 at 10:52 pm

    I have got all of mine through pre game on weekdays and if I get to SJ early enough practice. I agree with the personalized autos far to many times I get to pregame and there’s 3 or 4 guys standing there with a backpack and a binder of photos they want signed non of them are going in for the game they just want to make money. These people make me sick cause they don’t want it for the right reason. I always try to get the little guys and gals there autos first and if the player is nice enough to sign for me great if not there’s always another day. The one thing I will add is be respectful of not just the player but the other fans as well. Keep up the good work Teal Town always love your reads.

  4. Steve Cropper

    August 18, 2019 at 12:40 am

    I have been able to get many autographs through the mail(TTM). I have mailed local in California, across the USA, Canada, Japan, Czech Republic, Finland, Swededn and Denmark successfully–I think there are others but I cannot remember now. If you are going to do this never send anything you cannot afford lose. I get about 80% returned and you will be donating a few to the “Hockey Gods”. If you are mailing for current players just put that name on an envelope c/o San Jose Sharks address. Sometimes the players will sign and some will not–BE PREPARED TO LOSE SOME. Sometimes the pucks will come back in a week or two and my all time record is 3 years. I mailed to Miroslav Zalesak in the Czech Republic c/o his team. He got the puck and threw it in a box, moved houses and forgot about itutil he found it. When it finally came back I was shocked. Previous record was two years Petri Skriko was a Euro Scout for the Caps. I mailed to him c/o the Caps and said hopefully he will get this when he makes a trip to the states(he did)..When they hit your mailbox there is nothing greater especially if you have had a long day at work and come home to find one or more in your mailbox. San Jose Sharks alumni can be mailed to but you have to do the research and find them. You have to comb the internet and see where they live or where they work. After you have done it for a while the research gets to be more fun. It leads to the thrill of the chase and is super fun learning about players before I became a fan. Many awesome things have happened. Kevin Miller included extra siged items. Hannes Hyvonen who I maile to in Sweden wanted osme Sharks T-shirts and offered to reimburse me. I told him do not worry about just send something cool signed back with the Sharks and Barons pucks that I sent. Imagine my surprise when i opened up his package and saw that he signed his Finland olympic Jacket and sent it to me. Another highlight is when Perry Anderson invited me to call him. I was able to talk with Craig Coxe and he is super funny. He will tell you how he took too many pucks to the head and does not remember things. He also said one thing also that the article above states. He does not want to see things that he signs on Ebay. Do not ruin this for others. He was kind enough to sign a Sharks and a KC Blades puck for me. How to: 1.Locate player 2. Get two bubble mailers 3. Get a puck or whatever you want signed. 4 Adress one envelope to player and one back to you. Include puck(in a half cube is better as I have had players sign the cube instead of taking the puck out. Send a card. Sned a Sharpie or a Decco pen(which is better. I used silver as black and blue will fade in sunight. Incude a short but sweet note to the player. I am a fan, I like you because, I remeber when you, — Would you mind signing the face of the enclosed, puck, card, picture etc. Fold the stamped return envelope back to you and put it in envelope going to player. You want to make it easy for them. Players can sign, drop them in return envelope-they can throw in at post office or have their mailman take them. Going to other countries use American cash or prepaid debit cards. If my name does not show on here and you are interested I would not mind helping you. If you see my name ask directly or ask the TTUSA people to get you to me. Through, In person signing(IP), making trades, and TTM I have every Sharks that has ever played a game for the Sharks. except 5 I have a puck waiting on Jake Middleton to sign at the Tank and then back to the 4 unicorns that will be tough to get. One mistake I made in the beginning was to mail any puck like a new logo to an older alumni. As I got more serious I ended up mailing a correct period puck back to that player. If you are going to be serious about do not make this mistake. Pucks, Cards, Pictures, Bubble Mailers, Pens(Sharpie/Decco), Nice notes(not a book people short and sweet), Half cube for puck–last but not least postage for both envelopes. Get into TTM it is super fun! Good luck, learn about the players and have fun!–Steve

  5. Steve Cropper

    August 18, 2019 at 12:55 am

    Excuse typos–up late

  6. The Truth

    September 23, 2019 at 10:12 pm

    You’re getting free giveaways from the Sharks plus you go to the #turnupinteal to get MORE Mr. Teal Town . Makes me think you have a shady side , I saw many things you doing wrong as well . You don’t believe me last time I saw you it was at the Hilton in SJ the Nesting doll . Also don’t think Autographs are selling that high on EBay or Craigslist no one is going to pay a high price until they get the prestigious Stanley Cup so the point is , players think they have many Championship Rings but Fans know that’s not true . They just have fame but with out of Diamonds . I’m talking about the old players the new players are aVery good people . and yes i bought my own tickets and my drinks and other things to support this organization Mr.AJ Teal Town

    • AJ Strong

      September 24, 2019 at 1:08 pm

      I’m not sure why you’re upset and I’m not totally sure what your point is, but I will offer my viewpoint. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, but just my point of view which may be different than yours. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

      I go to many TurnUpInTeal events in order to add to my collection of Sharks collectibles. I’ve never sold the items I get from TurnUpInTeal. If I don’t already have the item, it goes into my collection which you can see on my instagram. If I do already have the item, I usually give it away to someone looking for it or trade it to another collector. We’ve also given the items out to people who watch our YouTube show, but can’t make it to TurnUpInTeal events because they aren’t local. That said, once they give you the item, you can obviously do anything you want with it because it’s your property now. If you want to sell it, that’s your prerogative. In fact, I grabbed the Burns nesting doll for a friend who wanted it. She already got one from someone else so if you would like to have it, it’s yours.

      As for items you get autographed, there are 2 different thoughts on this. If you go to an event like Fan Fest or Meet The Sharks, etc…, those are clear events to get signatures. You’ve paid for a ticket and I have no problems with anyone selling stuff they get signed from those events. However, I don’t think it’s cool for people to show up to 2-3 practices every week with boxes of stuff and trying to get it signed. If you show up with several items, but each item is for a different player, I don’t see that as wrong. But I’ve seen a few guys show up with 10 Burns bobbleheads trying to get Burns to sign each one. And then I see them all posted on eBay or OfferUp later that same day. Players have admitted to signing less when they’re not at events like Fan Fest because some people are trying to profit from their signature. Brent Burns now personalizes all of his signatures so it’s much harder for people to profit. Now, I understand that living in the Bay Area is hella expensive and some people need a side hustle. But when players look on sites like eBay and see the item they signed 2 hours earlier now being auctioned, the players become less willing to sign anymore and that ruins it for other people just trying to get one item signed by one particular player because that player is their all time favorite.

      We don’t have to agree on this and there’s nothing wrong with that. How boring would the world be if we all had the same opinions? Again, it’s your property and you can keep it, sell it, trade it, whatever. I just don’t think it’s cool when people go to practices every week to get signatures so they can sell them.

      Also, in an effort to be transparent, I will admit that I do have 2 jerseys up for auction on eBay right now. But, I’m selling them for what I paid for them.

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