Forward Jamie McGinn of the San Jose Sharks may have grown up in Ontario, Canada, but he is a die-hard Raiders fan. Photo courtesy of the San Jose Sharks.
There's a little town in the Canadian province of Ontario named Fergus. It's located 59 miles west of Toronto and has a population of slightly more than 10,000. Fergus is also home to North America's largest truck show every July.
Since Fergus is 95 miles west of Buffalo, one would think that the citizens would be Buffalo Bills fans. Except for one.
Meet San Jose Sharks forward Jamie McGinn. For nearly a decade, the 22-year-old has been proud to be a supporter of the Silver and Black.
"When I was young, I got an Oakland Raiders T-shirt," McGinn said. "I started to get interested in the team. I love the fans. I love how they dress up for every game and how passionate they are. I was always attracted to that and started following them.
"My parents can't figure out why I'm a Raiders fan," he added. "They're Bills fans. But I'm not going to jump ship. I've stuck with them. I bleed black for football, that's for sure."
McGinn has split the last two seasons with the Sharks and their American Hockey League affiliate in Worcester, Mass. In 59 games last season, McGinn set personal National Hockey League career highs in goals (10) and points (13). This year, McGinn is averaging slightly more than 13 minutes a game and has a goal in eight contests. He also spent the beginning of the season skating on a line with perennial NHL All-Star Joe Thornton.
McGinn was selected by San Jose in the second round, 36th overall, of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, which is similar to the annual NFL Draft. His younger brother, 20-year-old Tye, was selected in the fourth round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft by the Philadelphia Flyers.
The life of a professional hockey player differs greatly from a pro football player. An NFL player has a week between games. But hockey players have been known to play three or four games a week and practice in-between. When one considers the physical aspect of hockey with skating and hitting and the travel, the demands are very high.
And those factors have allowed McGinn to watch his beloved Raiders just three times at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum since he's been with the Sharks (he's 2-1 when seeing the Raiders in person). But he always pays close attention on game day.
"Whenever they're on television, I always try to watch," McGinn said. "I'm always checking the stats on my Blackberry. I'll also try to catch games on the Internet."
And McGinn knows where to go for the latest news from the Raider Nation. "Raiders.com is under 'My Favorites' in my web browser," McGinn said. "I check out that and nfl.com. But I definitely check raiders.com, that's for sure."
Obviously, the 6'1", 195-pound power forward is a die-hard Raiders fan. Even though the team has been through some rough seasons lately, he's still proud to wear his Raiders colors.
"I hear it a lot in the dressing room and with my close buddies," McGinn said but there's "no way" he's changing his allegiance to the Raiders.
McGinn is also excited about the way his favorite team has been playing lately – especially the record-setting 59-14 win in Denver.
"I just want them to keep winning," McGinn said. "[The Denver game] was great and those 59 points is what the offense is about. That's what we need for the rest of the year."
When asked if he has a favorite Raider, McGinn was quick to respond: running back Darren McFadden.
"I have a McFadden jersey," McGinn said. "He lays it all on the line every game. He plays a tough position and shows a lot of heart out there. I like it when he crosses the goal line and gets those 100-plus yard rushing games."
Perhaps McGinn is indeed a Raider at heart. On the ice, he's been known to throw his body around to create space to help his teammates crash the net for scoring opportunities and to give his team a lift. In short, McGinn tries to dominate physically every game.
"I'm a player who has to create energy and work hard. I have to give it all I have every night," McGinn said. "That's what I like about the Raiders. They're mean and tough to play against. That's how I have to play, too."
Tony Khing is the publications manager for the San Jose Sharks.