Sharks fans got a bit of a scare two weeks ago when president Jonathan Becher hinted that the team might be forced to leave SAP Center in San Jose over proposed construction by the city and Google.
Becher wrote an open letter to fans stating that the team didn't want to leave SAP Center, but a development project around the arena might leave the team with no choice but to go.
Becher provided a positive update while speaking to local media on Friday, saying that his letter spurred conversations with city officials and council people.
"Many of them expressed that their own constituents had reached out to them," Becher told reporters in a conference call. "I think one council member said to me, 'I never realized I had so many Shark fans in my district.' "
According to Becher, it sounds like his open letter got the attention of everyone it was directed at.
"Our message was heard loud and clear," Becher said. "I am more optimistic now."
In the letter, Becher and Sharks listed three major complaints about the Diridon development project put forth by San Jose and Google: The ability of fans to get to the arena, the reduction of traffic lanes on streets directly outside SAP Center, and the number of available parking spaces for fans within a reasonable distance of the arena.
Becher was asked if the city remedied the issues regarding access to SAP Center and parking spots, would that alleviate the Sharks' concerns.
"If they do those two things," Becher said. "It seems more likely now than before [they will]. That goes a long way."
The Sharks have called SAP Center home since 1993, and have a lease that runs through 2040. Becher said the team would welcome extending the lease, but nothing has been proposed.
"Let’s be transparent: If there’s going to be construction around SAP Center from, I’ll make up the dates, 2025 to 2045," Becher said. "We wouldn’t want to be here for all the construction issues, but not here without the upside and benefits.
"Certainly, if we mitigated all the problems, you could still access SAP during construction, street network was fixed, all the things we talked about, it would be great to have a thriving downtown."
Based on Becher's comments, it sounds like the Sharks have no desire or intentions of leaving SAP Center or San Jose, and they want to work with the city to make sure all parties are satisfied.
"The Sharks were born here," Becher said. "We want to stay here."