The San Jose Sharks today named John Tortora as executive vice president and general counsel to oversee all legal matters pertaining to the team and Silicon Valley Sports and Entertainment. Tortora joins the organization after 14 years with the National Hockey League office in New York, where he most recently was vice president, media. He will also serve as an alternate governor in representing the team on NHL matters. He replaces Don Gralnek, who recently announced he was stepping down as the organization’s executive vice president and general counsel.
Tortora will be responsible for managing all legal aspects of the relationships with the Sharks corporate partners, broadcasters and major service providers as well as handling legal matters for all Silicon Valley Sports and Entertainment properties. The New Jersey native earned his law degree from the Seton Hall University School of Law in 1994, where he was editor-in-chief of the Seton Hall Journal of Sport Law during the 1993-94 school year. Tortora has a broad range of experience working at the NHL in areas of local and national television and radio agreements, media rights management, territorial issues and regulatory matters in Canada and the United States. During his time at the NHL, he developed a strong institutional knowledge concerning the NHL-governance of media matters. Gralnek recently announced he was stepping down as executive vice president and general counsel of the San Jose Sharks. He will remain of counsel to senior management through June 30, 2012.
Gralnek has served the Sharks organization since its inception more than 20 years ago, having begun as outside counsel to the Gund family in developing the San Jose Arena (now known as HP Pavilion) and negotiating the original development and partnership with the City of San Jose. He joined the SVSE senior staff in 1997 after many years of law practice as a real estate partner with Jones Day in its Los Angeles office.
“Don has made a critical contribution to the Sharks during his 20 years with the Company. We wish him well,” said Stratton Sclavos, representing the Sharks ownership group.
“My announcement at this time allows the Sharks to take appropriate action relating to its future business and fill the vital legal and government relations position I have held in an orderly manner,” said Gralnek, who will continue as counsel through the transition.
Throughout his tenure with the Sharks, Gralnek was actively involved in the community, serving as secretary of the board of the Tech Museum of Innovation for 13 years, president of the Silicon Valley Land Conservancy, as a board member of the San Jose Repertory Theatre, on the Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors and as a member of the Silicon Valley Rotary Club.