Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 1/15/13
George Gund, one of the original owners of the National Hockey League's San Jose Sharks, died Wednesday. He was 75. Gund had been undergoing treatment for cancer in Palm Springs, Calif., for the past 18 months. "He was both a gentle person and yet extremely passionate and aggressive about things such as hockey and personal relationships," said former San Jose Mayor Tom McEnery told The San Jose Mercury-News. "That's a very difficult combination." Gund, a Cleveland native who also co-owned the Cleveland Cavaliers with his brother Gordon, was instrumental in bringing back the NHL to the San Francisco Bay Area. He struck a deal in 1991 with the NHL to create an expansion franchise in San Jose while splitting the rosters with the Minnesota North Stars. After playing two seasons at San Francisco's Cow Palace, the Sharks moved to then-new HP Pavilion, where they have become one of the league's most successful franchises, missing the playoffs five times in 20 seasons. Last season they averaged 17,562 fans a game. "George Gund was certain the National Hockey League could flourish in the Silicon Valley, and the strength of the Sharks franchise today was built on the foundation George created for it," said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. "Of his many interests in a life of art, of philanthropy and entrepreneurship, George's devoted support of hockey was frequently at the forefront."
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