Sharks announce Teal for Change Council to expand social justice efforts

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The San Jose Sharks are expanding their efforts to “address diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice” within their organization and the Bay Area, announcing the Teal for Change Council on Wednesday.

According to the Sharks, the Council was initially established in June 2020, and has since spearheaded a number of initiatives, including:

• A voter engagement campaign in which the organization hosted two ballot drop boxes at SAP Center, and a town hall with the Secretary of State.

• An updated dress code and appearance policy for SAP Center event staff which is “more reflective of our believe in diversity, inclusion, and belonging.”

• A monthly educational series on diversity and inclusion, including moderated discussions between small groups.

• A diversity and inclusion calendar featuring more than 200 events of significance to be recognized on a rotating basis. Further, Sharks Sports & Entertainment — the team’s parent company — will recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Juneteenth as paid holidays.

• An updated Jr. Sharks Code of Conduct to “to help foster a better understanding and responsibility for youth athletes and make hockey a sport that welcomes all.”

The team’s release added that GM Doug Wilson and team president Jonathan Becher are also involved in the NHL’s initiatives focused on fighting racial injustice via the league’s Executive Inclusion Council and Fan Inclusion Committee, respectively.

“Externally, recent conversations related to social justice have put a focus on the lack of diversity within the game of hockey. Inspired by our owner Hasso Plattner’s insistence that everyone can ‘do better,’ the Teal For Change Council allows us to turn our words into action by tackling complex and, sometimes, difficult topics,” said Becher via the release.

“We feel these actions will be thought-provoking, inspiring, and ultimately rewarding for those who embrace the challenge with a willingness to listen and learn.”

The release added that more programs and initiatives aimed at “meaningful change within the game of hockey, our organization and our community” would be announced in the coming months.

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