02/07/2014 8:50 AM
JACKSONVILLE – The 2013 South Division Champion Jacksonville Sharks announced Friday that the team will hold a free preseason benefit scrimmage for a fourth consecutive year. This season, the Sharks will host the division rival Tampa Bay Storm for a game that kicks off at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 2, on Sea Best Field at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. The late-afternoon start time gives families the chance to attend the scrimmage with minimal interruption to their regular Sunday schedule.
For the second straight season, the Sharks have partnered with First Coast No More Homeless Pets (FCNMHP), a nonprofit that is working to end the unnecessary killing of dogs and cats in shelters. FCNMHP strives toward this goal through programs that provide free or low-cost spay/neuter surgeries, keep pets in homes, offer innovative adoption assistance, and share this knowledge with other communities across the nation. The organization also operates the Jacksonville Pet Food Bank, providing qualified low-income families with the resources necessary to keep their pets in their home and out of the shelter. The Sharks and FCNMHP first teamed up during the 2013 preseason, as Shark fans helped raise over 15,000 lbs. of pet food during last year’s scrimmage.
“We are proud to continue our partnership with No More Homeless Pets for this year’s preseason event,” Sharks Managing Partner Jeff Bouchy said. “We look forward to both giving our great fans an early look at this year’s team, and helping FCNMHP work toward its goal of eliminating the needless killing of pets in our local community and beyond.”
"It is such a honor to have the Sharks as a community partner to not only support our mission but to realize the crucial work we are doing in this community and beyond,” said Nicole Brose, development director at FCNMHP. “Jacksonville has become a national model for best practices in the area of animal welfare and how to save lives."
WJXT Channel 4 will serve as the media partner for this preseason event, utilizing their platform to raise awareness of FCNMHP’s mission.
“We’re proud to be working closely with the Sharks again this year, both for this important night, and throughout the season,” said Bob Ellis, Channel 4 Vice President and General Manager. “The Sharks do so much good for our local community and with our focus as The Local Station, it’s a great fit.”
Admission to the preseason scrimmage is free of charge, however fans are asked to bring a donation of pet food that will be collected outside the arena on behalf of FCNMHP. Cash donations will also be accepted for fans wishing to contribute in that manner.
Currently, bags of dry dog and cat food are FCNMHP’s greatest need, though cans of wet food will also be accepted at this event. The Pet Food Bank relies on these donations and supplies are critically low at this time. A full list of the FCNMHP “wish list” can be found online at http://www.fcnmhp.org/pdf/wish_list.pdf.
Held four weeks prior to the Sharks’ home opener, the scrimmage will give fans a chance to get an early glimpse at the Sharks before the team opens at Orlando on March 16. For the preseason scrimmage, gates will open at 3:00 p.m. for the general public. Seating will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis, though season ticket holders who wish to sit in their usual seats may enter the arena beginning at 2:30 p.m.
In the coming days, more information will be released regarding the items that season ticket holders will be able to pick up at this year’s preseason event.
About the Jacksonville Sharks
The Jacksonville Sharks are members of the Arena Football League (AFL). The ArenaBowl XXIV and four-time South Division Champions are presented by Sea Best Seafood and play all home games on Sea Best Field at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. Season Tickets for the 2014 season are now available, two tickets as low as $185. To reserve your season tickets or for more information, please call (904) 621-0700. Follow the Sharks on facebook at facebook.com/jaxsharks and on Twitter @jaxsharks, as well as the Attack Dance Team at facebook.com/sharkattackdance and Chum at facebook.com/chumsharks.
About the AFL
Since its inception in 1987, the Arena Football League has showcased a fast-paced and exciting game to millions of fans in a myriad of markets across the country. The ESPN family of networks and CBS Sports Network will nationally broadcast AFL games each week for the entire season. The AFL schedule then culminates with the ArenaBowl Championship game live on ESPN.