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Where Are They Now?: David Maley
Catching up with the former Shark
11/7/10 - By Mike Lee -

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After his hockey career was over, he was introduced to then State Assemblyman Mike Honda, who had grandkids who played inline hockey at the old Gremmick hockey rink. Honda knew of efforts to bring business to the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, so Maley made the connections that would help launch Rollin Ice at the Fairgrounds location.

Maley would sign a nine year lease that would send him on a financial roller coaster ride. In 2005, he was introduced to Kevin Compton, a Bay Are venture capitalist and member of the Sharks ownership group, and the two forged a business relationship that would lead to SCS.

Maley had nine years experience running his Rollin Ice business, but it was Compton that evolved his business into a bone fide success by believing in Maley's business acumen.

"I would have given anything to be able to play (hockey) for him, anything," Maley says fondly of Compton. "Knowing him, knowing what he believes in, I would have gone through a wall for the guy. It's not that I didn't have owners that I didn't know, and didn't want to play for. It's how he treats everyone around him and what he believes in that makes you want to be the best." When I asked him if building a successful business was harder than playing in the NHL, his response was simple.

"I think it was easier for me to play hockey, where as in business I took my lumps. In hockey if you have a bad game, you get to go back on the ice two nights later. In business it's a different story.

Perhaps it's his simple approach to business that's made him so successful.

"The team that we put together, the employees, and what we're doing internally from a customer service perspective, we don't think of it as the only roller hockey deal in town. "

One of the things Maley is proudest of is the fact that any kid that wants to play roller hockey can play roller hockey at his facility. He makes equipment available to any kid that wants to give the sport a try. At the end of the day, he has a business to run, but he knows the community around him is what will make his business successful.

Silver Creek Sportsplex
"It's good to have that rink rat mentality when it comes to running the business, but I've also learned how to grow the business."

When he speaks about his business, you can tell this is something that has become a passion, which is pretty cool, considering the athletic past that was his previous life.

That previous life as a member of the Sharks was a short lived adventure, starting in the infancy of the franchise when wins were few and far between.

"My number one highlight during my stint in san Jose as a player, was the fans!" Maley says emphatically. "I became a Shark in January the last year at the Cow Palace. We tied an NHL record for losses in a row. However, the fans at the Cow Palace were awesome. We could be down by 4 and they cheered all the way to the end of the game!"

His second most memorable moment as a Shark player had little to do with hockey.

"I got the chance to meet Michael Jordan via (current Sharks General Manager) Doug Wilson and his ties to Chicago and him being friends with Doug. I brought it up to Doug on the bus while we were in town to play the Caps. The Bulls were playing that night and I asked him if he wanted to go. He said yes and off we went. Me, Pat Falloon, and Doug. We waited after the game and met Jordan. All four of us sat in the locker room alone and talked hockey!"

It wasn't all fun and games and Michael Jordan however. The Sharks were trying to overcome the disadvantage of being an expansion team, with a roster devoid of real superstars. Times were tough. I asked Maley what the low point of his stint in San Jose was.

"The losing streak-it was close to unbearable. We had meetings on top of meetings."

It's hard to think of Maley losing at anything when you see how is life has evolved. If he wasn't already busy enough, Maley also serves as the President of the Sharks Alumni Association.

"We have one big event a year-the Fantasy Camp. The team brings in former Sharks to participate and on a year to year basis it has been different players. That's the only time a year that I get to talk and interact with former players. They are in town for 3 days and gone."

Part of that role requires him to keep himself aligned with the greater NHL alumni community which is working to see that his fellow NHL retirees are prepared for life after hockey.

"There are programs to help players prepare themselves. We as players need to make sure there are things like mentorships that made available for other players. We didn't have those types of opportunities, and there are plenty of players that struggled after leaving hockey."

One thing that the NHL assisted its alumni with was a broadcast media mentorship program.

"The league setup a program with a mock studio, like ESPN. I was in the first group that went through that program," Maley boasts. "They brought in John Davidson and John Buccigross to show how those guys prepare, including the copious notes that are required for that job."

He's as personable as they come, so that program seemed tailor made for Maley. So much so, that he fit right into the Sharks need for an insider to provide insight on hockey games for both radio and television. Even with his extremely successful business, he still makes time to appear on Comcast's pre and post game shows and to provide support during radio broadcasts.

Why moonlight?

"I love it," he says. "It's fun for me. I don't see that as a job. I can talk hockey all night long if you let me."

Maley's many careers all seem to have the same theme. Hard work leads to opportunity, which leads to success when you persist.

Maley made it to Game 7 of the Conf Finals in 1988, which was as close to the Cup as he would come after winning it all in 1986. I asked him what he looked back on more fondly. That 20-game run, his NCAA Championship, or the Cup win in 1986 which consisted of appearance in three games as a rookie.

"None of the above," he responded. "Winning the Minnesota State High School Championship!"

After all the things he's seen as a professional athlete, he's still managed to maintain an incredible amount of perspective, which is one of the reasons his life seems to have evolved so perfectly. It hasn't been all wine and roses for Maley, but he knows what's important. His office is strewn with papers and few reminders of his life as a hockey player. The only hints you'll find are a book on Scotty Bowman and his Sharks locker room nameplate affixed to the back of his office door.

That nameplate is a simple reminder of where he's come from, but it leads to his present and future. It leads to his current contribution to the Bay Area landscape.

To find out more about The Silver Creek Sportsplex, visit their website at:

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