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John Tortora, Joe Will, Jon Gustafson & Eric Lindquist of the Worcester Sharks (Encore Episode)

(L-R)  Jon Gustafson, John Tortora and Joe Will of  Sharks Sports & Entertainme
Sunday, October 13, 2013 - 10:00pm

In an encore episode of The Business Beat, Steve Jones-D’Agostino, chief pilot of Best Rate of Climb, interviews John Tortora (shown, center) of Sharks Sports & Entertainment, parent of the San Jose Sharks of the National Hockey League, and Joe Will (right), Jon Erickson (left) and Eric Lindquist (not shown) of the Worcester Sharks of the American Hockey League. They talk about maintaining and strengthening the Sharks’ minor-league franchise in Worcester.

For the first time, Sharks Sports & Entertainment has a C-level executive with a strong hockey background instead of skills developed in other sports. He’s John Tortora, the company’s new chief operating officer. Previously, he had been general counsel of SSE.

In June, Tortora was appointed to COO by Hasso Plattner – who, since last January, has been the new majority owner of the Sharks organization. In 1972, Plattner, now a billionaire,  co-found German business-software company SAP.

On July 10, SSE announced the appointment of Joe Will as general manager of the Worcester Sharks, overseeing all hockey operations. SSE also tapped Jon Gustafson as vice president of Worcester Sharks business operations, overseeing all Sharks Ice centers.

During the past two seasons, SSE lost a total of more than $30 million. Locally, the Worcester Sharks missed the playoffs in each the past three seasons. And home attendance during the ’12-’13 season averaged about 4,300 - well below the AHL average.

The Sharks open their 2013-14 season on October 19 at the DCU Center. 

It was, to put it in hockey terms, time for a shift change at the DCU Center.

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