The Sharks won’t be playing their first two home games at the SAP Center due to COVID-19 restrictions. (Shutterstock)

The Sharks won’t be playing their first two home games at the SAP Center due to COVID-19 restrictions. (Shutterstock)

San Jose Sharks move first two home games to Arizona

The Sharks will play their first two home games of the NHL season in Glendale, Ariz., due to the ongoing ban on contact sports in Santa Clara County.

The Feb. 1 and Feb. 3 games, both against the Vegas Golden Knights, will be played at GilaRiver Arena, the home of the Arizona Coyotes.

“We feel that we have put significant precautions in place, including daily COVID-19 testing of the athletes and support staff, to allow for us to safely return to play games at SAP Center, while not exposing the community to any additional health risk,” Sharks president Jonathan Becher said in a released statement. “In our discussions with County officials over the past several months, we have shared our detailed return-to-play plans and are hopeful that we can find practical solutions to this difficult situation very soon.”

The Sharks follow in the footsteps of the NFL’s 49ers in moving home games to the Phoenix suburb. The 49ers played three scheduled home games at State Farm Stadium in Glendale.

The Niners also had all practices for the final five weeks of the season in Arizona.

All eight of the Sharks’ season-opening games will be on the road before the series against the Golden Knights. After those two games, the Sharks are scheduled to play four games in Southern California before their next home series against the Anaheim Ducks on Feb. 13 and Feb. 15.

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