Former Sharks owner Gund dies

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George Gund III, who, along with his brother Gordon, helped bring hockey back to the Bay Area, passed away on Tuesday.

According to the Mercury News, Gund died in Palm Springs.

The Gunds, natives of Cleveland and born into a prominent family, held a minority stake in the California Golden Seals and were instrumental in bringing the crumbling franchise to the shores of Lake Erie in 1976.

When that club, known as the Barons, encountered trouble, the brothers worked with NHL president John Ziegler to merge the franchise with the struggling Minnesota North Stars in 1978.

After more than a decade of financial and attendance issues in the Twin Cities, the Gunds were on the verge of moving the Stars to the Bay Area with the promise of a new arena, but Ziegler blocked the move -- instead granting the brothers the chance to sell the Stars and award them an expansion team.

That franchise became the San Jose Sharks, which entered the NHL for the 1991-92 season and played in the Cow Palace before moving to a new venue in San Jose in 1993.