The San Jose Sharks on Thursday asked fans to step in to help the hockey team stay in San Jose. In an open letter, the Sharks said that two major developments planned in the city’s downtown “could force the Sharks out.”
The team asked supporters to contact the city about concerns over Google’s proposed Downtown West project and the city’s Diridon Station Area Plan. In particular, it cited worries over street access, parking and the impact of construction around the SAP Center, the Sharks’ long-time home.
“The development projects being planned for the Diridon area, which literally surround the current footprint of SAP Center, are unprecedented,” reads a website detailing the team’s objections. “If these massive projects are not properly planned and implemented, the future viability of SAP Center could be jeopardized.”
The Sharks have shared these worries with the city and Google for “several years,” according to the letter. “Unfortunately, those discussions have yielded limited results and the planners of these projects appear intent on moving forward in a manner that could force the Sharks out of San Jose,” the letter continues.
On Twitter, a number of Sharks fans reacted with outrage – some directed at the planned development, some at the team itself.
“Sharks belong in San Jose no matter what Google says and San Jose says,” one supporter declared, while another posted: “You guys really shouldn’t be put in this position by San Jose and Google; the Sharks are a huge part of the culture!”
Other users were critical of the team, however: “As a long time Sharks fan, who typically drives to games, I am terribly disappointed by this statement,” posted one such Twitter user. “Threatening to move in order to stay surrounded by bare asphalt instead of the homes, businesses and transit people need is the opposite of being a good part of the community.”
Sharks President Jonathan Becher said the team wants to stay where it is. “Let me be clear. We want to stay in San José at @SAPCenter,” Becher wrote on Twitter Thursday. “We are supportive of development and public transportation but must ensure guests will be able to safely and conveniently access the arena for #SJSharks games, concerts, and other events.”