SAN JOSE – The San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) today announced that prior to the team’s 2015-16 home opener on Oct. 10 against the Anaheim Ducks, the organization will be unveiling a banner dedicated to the late George Gund III, the team’s original owner.
Coinciding with the start of the Sharks 25th anniversary season, the ceremony will serve as a permanent tribute to Gund and his vital role in bringing the National Hockey League to San Jose. Participants in the tribute will include Gund’s brother and fellow original Sharks co-owner Gordon Gund, son George Gund IV, Susan Savage, wife of the late Art Savage who served as the Sharks first president & CEO, Matt Levine, the team’s first head of business operations, and George Kingston, the Sharks first head coach.
“George Gund’s love of the game of hockey, and his belief in the city of San Jose and our fans are the reasons we are all here today,” said Sharks Majority Owner Hasso Plattner. “His legacy deserves to be honored and remembered forever. This banner will serve to remind everyone of his impact on the game of hockey and the Sharks franchise.”
“Hockey was a passion for George Gund III, and that passion manifested itself in his love for the Sharks, for San Jose and for the Bay Area," National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "George made a commitment to bringing hockey to Northern California and did it in a way that excited the community and silenced the skeptics. We thank him for pioneering the Sharks tradition for generations of new fans.”
In 1990, Gund, a long-time Bay Area resident, along with his brother Gordon, relinquished their ownership stake in the National Hockey League’s Minnesota North Stars in exchange for the rights to an expansion NHL franchise in the Bay Area.
In September 1990, the Gunds announced that the team would be named the “Sharks” and that their permanent home would be in San Jose. On Oct. 4, 1991, the team played their first National Hockey League game.
In 1996, Gund was named as the recipient of the Lester Patrick Award, presented for “outstanding service to hockey in the United States” and he was inducted into the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.
A lifelong philanthropist, Gund continued the George Gund Foundation, created by his father in 1952, with the sole purpose of contributing to human well-being and the progress of society. In 2004, Gund and his wife, Iara, created the Iara Lee and George Gund III Foundation. Gund passed away on Jan. 15, 2013 at the age of 75.
The Oct. 10 ceremony will serve as the launch to the Sharks 25th anniversary season, where the team will honor and fondly recall their historic and proud past, including: the team’s inception in 1991; the global frenzy created by the team’s renowned logo and revolutionary use of the color teal; the long list of talented players and characters that have worn the Sharks sweater; the impact the San Jose Sharks have had on the City of San Jose and its surrounding communities; the immense growth of the game of hockey in the Bay Area; and most importantly, the unbridled support and passion of Sharks fans all across the globe.
In addition, during the 2015-16 season, fans will have the opportunity to re-connect with players from the team’s past as many former members will be brought back to SAP Center to be recognized and remembered. A full list of participating players and a schedule of events will be released at a later date.