The San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) paid tribute to the cultural diversity of the Bay Area with a celebration of Diwali at the SAP Center at San Jose (@SAPCenter) on November 9th.

To honor India’s festival of lights, the SJ Sharks invited Malti B. Lee, a local British-Indian artist, to design a Diwali-inspired crest and shoulder patches for the players’ uniforms.

A woman stands against some paintings
Malti B Lee is a contemporary artist based in the San Francisco, California (image courtesy: Malti B. Lee)

Malti created motifs of the SJ Sharks’ logo embellished with a blend of cultural symbols and the spirit of Diwali. One motif represents a shark decorated with a Mehndi (henna pattern), paying homage to an ancient tradition symbolizing joyous gatherings and special occasions. Marigold garlands in the background represent brightness and positive energy, reflecting their significance in celebrations.

A crest featuring a shark against a rangoli background
Malti B.’s exclusive crest design featuring a shark against a rangoli background (image courtesy: Malti B. Lee)

For the background of the crest, Malti used the mandala, a spiritual symbol prevalent in South Asian traditions. Her vibrant color choices were inspired by the traditional clothing and symbolic meanings from the subcontinent. She also added hockey sticks, in a nod to field hockey, India’s national sport, and to ice hockey.

Two images of a shark fin and a hockey stick against a colorful Indian-themed background
San Jose Sharks Diwali Shoulder patches (image courtes: Malti B. Lee)

Malti began the design process with rough sketches on paper, exploring designs and shapes, before transitioning the digital sketches to an iPad to explore color options. She collaborated with the SJ Sharks team to finetune the final designs, perfecting them on Adobe Illustrator. “The SJ Sharks team and I are ecstatic about the final results,” said Malti.

The final designs are available in the Diwali South Asian Heritage collection at the Sharks Pro shop. Malti credited Local Color, a San Jose-based non-profit that connects artists to organizations in the local community.

Festivities at the event included a Bollywood dance performance by Milpitas-based Gurus of Dance, free henna tattoos, and music by DJ Heer. Fans also enjoyed an array of Indian street food.

The Sharks won their game against the Edmonton Oilers.

A group performing a Bollywood dance at a sports arena
Gurus of Dance performing at the San Jose Sharks Diwali celebration (image courtesy: Twiitter (X)

Meera Kymal is the Managing Editor at India Currents and Founder/Producer at She produces multi-platform content on the South Asian diaspora through the lens of social justice,...