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San Jose Sharks Family Mourns the Passing of Original Team Owner George Gund III

Tuesday, 01.15.2013 / 3:41 PM PT / News
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San Jose Sharks Family Mourns the Passing of Original Team Owner George Gund III

SAN JOSE, California - It is with great sadness that Sharks Sports & Entertainment confirms that George Gund III, the original and long-time owner of the San Jose Sharks, passed away this morning at the age of 75 after a courageous battle with cancer.

Gund passed away peacefully with his wife, Iara, son George IV, brother Gordon and his wife, Lulie, at his side.

"George Gund III will always have a special place in the hearts of Sharks fans for his role in bringing the team to San Jose," said the ownership group of Sharks Sports & Entertainment. "His love for the Sharks and the game of hockey cannot be captured in words. George was a trailblazer and he knew that NHL hockey could not only survive, but thrive in the Bay Area. The Sharks organization will always serve as a proud reminder of George's passion. He will be greatly missed and our condolences are with his family."

In his memory during the 2012-13 season, the Sharks will wear a helmet decal and, later, a jersey patch bearing his initials: GG III.

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 Sept. of that year, the Gunds announced that the team would be named the "Sharks" and that their permanent home would be in San Jose. And on Oct. 4, 1991, the team played their first National Hockey League game.

George Gund could be considered the biggest fan the Sharks franchise ever knew. He was a regular at home and road games, following the team intently, regardless of his location on the globe. He was a life-long fan of the game, and could be found skating on the ice at HP Pavilion hours before games well into his 60's. Everywhere he went, he could always be found wearing his Sharks lapel pin on his jacket.

In 1996, Gund was named as the recipient of the Lester Patrick Award, presented for "outstanding service to hockey in the United States."

Gund sold the Sharks franchise to Sharks Sports & Entertainment in 2002 but continued to attend Sharks games whenever he could.

In 2008, he was inducted into the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame.

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, George and Iara created the Iara Lee and George Gund III Foundation. The couple also shared a passion for film and art.

Along with the North Stars, Gund previously held ownership roles within the NHL's California Golden Seals and Cleveland Barons, and the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers.

Service arrangements have not yet been announced.

"It's a sad day for hockey and for San Jose," said Sharks Executive Vice President & General Manager Doug Wilson. "George was a wonderful person and a great ambassador for the game of hockey, which he truly loved. Everyone who had the privilege of playing or working for him has a heavy heart today. None of us would be here without him."

"George was a true renaissance man," said Sharks former President & Chief Executive Officer Greg Jamison. "He was a world-renowned global traveler and he loved to watch hockey being played at all levels across the world. I have an immense amount of respect for what he accomplished and what the Sharks meant to him. Along with my wife, Vicki, our thoughts and prayers go out to George's family."

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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 ANA 76 47 22 7 222 213 101
2 NSH 75 46 21 8 214 180 100
3 STL 74 46 21 7 226 182 99
4 CHI 73 44 23 6 207 167 94
5 MIN 74 42 25 7 211 183 91
6 VAN 74 43 27 4 212 199 90
7 WPG 75 39 24 12 212 197 90
8 LAK 74 37 23 14 199 184 88
9 CGY 74 40 27 7 217 195 87
10 DAL 74 36 28 10 232 236 82
11 SJS 74 36 30 8 207 210 80
12 COL 74 34 28 12 200 206 80
13 EDM 74 21 40 13 177 254 55
14 ARI 75 23 44 8 158 249 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Pavelski 74 35 31 10 66
J. Thornton 70 14 48 -4 62
L. Couture 74 24 36 -3 60
B. Burns 74 16 38 -5 54
P. Marleau 74 17 35 -16 52
T. Wingels 67 15 19 -6 34
T. Hertl 74 12 17 -1 29
M. Nieto 64 8 16 -11 24
M. Vlasic 69 9 14 13 23
M. Karlsson 45 13 9 -2 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Niemi 29 22 7 .914 2.62
A. Stalock 6 7 1 .903 2.65
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