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Searching for Hasso Plattner (+)

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Credit: Martin Gillet (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

This is a special one-time story that San Jose Hockey Now has purchased from Corey Masisak.

BERLIN – Potsdam, Germany, is an old capital city with both a distinct place in German and European history and several beautiful lakes.

Natural and man-made beauty are not in short supply, which has made it a desirable place to own residences for centuries. The King of Prussia built a summer home here in the 18th century.

The Baroque-era splendor is incredible to see after an hour ride on the S-Bahn from downtown Berlin. When the San Jose Sharks were in Berlin before the start of the 2022-23 NHL season, the most interesting part of Potsdam was a nondescript hill overlooking some of that historical wonder.

Hasso Plattner’s fingerprints are omnipresent in Potsdam, but aside from a college he built from scratch his name is not. He owns two of the most famous places in this city, one of which he counts as a residence, and donated more than $20 million Euros to repair another.

He also owns most of this hill, which includes a conspicuous large hole in the ground. Plattner has also been the majority owner of the San Jose Sharks since 2010, and he’s been part of the ownership group since 2002.

During that time, he’s been one of the least visible owners in North American professional sports. He hasn’t done a media interview about the Sharks in years, so his thoughts about the franchise are often disseminated by others in the organization, including the team’s president, Jonathan Becher, and general manager, Mike Grier.

Plattner wasn’t in Potsdam this time around for a chance encounter either. And via the Sharks, he declined to be interviewed for this piece. But there was no shortage of people who know Plattner that were willing to speak about him.

That hole in the ground, and the building next to it, might be a good place to start when trying to unfurl some of the mystery that is Hasso Plattner, one of the most successful innovators and businessmen of the past 50 years.

“It’s a bit of a tug of war game and Hasso Plattner is right in the middle of it,” said Oliver Kühne, a tour guide at Das Minsk, an art museum that Plattner opened a couple of weeks before the Sharks played an exhibition game in Berlin as part of the NHL’s Global Series last year.

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