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NHL Owners: Who Are They?

NHL players are extremely well known to fans. Even many coaches and general managers are recognized by those who watch the game. But what about the owners? The people who finance your favourite team aren’t as easily recognizable despite having huge impacts on the team and the league as a whole.

To better understand the owners of the 32 NHL organizations, this piece will look at their business ventures outside of the hockey clubs, how they came to acquire the teams and how the teams have performed under their leadership.

Anaheim Ducks: Henry Samueli

Operating Entity: Anaheim Ducks Hockey Club LLC

Owner History

Henry Samueli is the co-founder of Broadcom Corporation, where he sits as the chairman of the Board. Broadcom is a semiconductor company that made products for the wireless and broadband communication industry. As a professor at UCLA, he and a student began this company in 1995. By 2012, the revenue was $8.01 billion.

Martin Madden Brayden Tracey Anaheim Ducks Henry Samueli
Director of Amateur Scouting Martin Madden, Brayden Tracey, 29th overall pick of the Anaheim Ducks, and owner Henry Samueli pose for a photo onstage with team personnel during the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft, June 21, 2019. (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

Samueli is also a well-known philanthropist. He and his family have donated over $500 million to various causes, including $100 million to UCLA to expand their engineering school.

Ducks Under Ownership

In 2003, Samueli purchased the management contract for Arrowhead Pond to oversee all operations of the arena. In 2005, he purchased the team from the Walt Disney Company for $75 million. Just two years later, the Anaheim Ducks became the first California team to win a Stanley Cup. They have only missed the playoffs three times during his time as the owner.

Since then, Samueli has also purchased the AHL affiliate, relocating and renaming them to the San Diego Gulls. Forbes placed the Ducks’ value at $460 million (2020).

Arizona Coyotes: Alex Meruelo

Operating Entity: IceArizona Acquisition Co., LLC

Owner History

Alex Meruelo is a Cuban-American billionaire, who got his start by investing in real estate at a young age. He sold property to Walmart in his early 20s and never slowed down. He now owns the Meruelo Group, a construction and real estate development firm, Meruelo media, which consists of five radio stations and a television station, as well as Fuji Food, two casinos and a resort.

Alex Meruelo Arizona Coyotes
Alex Meruelo, owner of Arizona Coyotes, accompanied by his wife, Liset, stop for photos during an exclusive unveiling event of his new SAHARA Las Vegas resort. (Photo by Denise Truscello/Getty Images for SAHARA Las Vegas)

The NHL isn’t Meruelo’s first attempt to get into sports ownership. In 2011, he made a bid to purchase the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Atlanta Hawks but was turned down. The billionaire is known for buying failing businesses and turning them around.

Coyotes Under Ownership

With Meruelo’s purchase of the Arizona Coyotes just becoming official in June 2019, it’s still too early to say how the team will fair under his ownership. The amount of the sale has yet to come out, but Mike Ozanian of Forbes’ suggests it will be around $300 million. Forbes valued the organization at $285 million (2020). An interesting fact though, is that the new owner is the first Latino owner in league’s history.

Boston Bruins: Jeremy Jacobs

Operating Entity: Boston Professional Hockey Association, Inc

Owner History

Cam Neely and Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs [cr: Delaware North PR]

Jeremy Jacobs owns and operates Delaware North, a global hospitality and food service business that works in the lodging, sporting, airport, gaming and entertainment industries. The business was started by his father in 1915 as a theatre concession company. As of 2018, the organization had an annual revenue of $3.2 billion.

Jacobs also owns an interest in the New England Sports Network (NESN), along with Boston Red Sox owner John Henry. He has had numerous philanthropic ventures through the years, including his family founding the Boston Bruins Foundation which has raised over $28 million.

Bruins Under Ownership

Jacobs is the second-most tenured owner in the NHL. Purchasing the team with his own money in 1975 for roughly $10 million, he has seen much success. The Bruins have only missed the playoffs six times under this ownership, winning the Stanley Cup in 2011. The team is worth $1 billion (2020).

The team’s owner is also the elected chairman of the NHL’s Board of Governors. In 2017, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in the Builders category. He was also awarded the Lester Patrick Trophy in 2015 by USA Hockey for contributions to hockey in the United States.

Buffalo Sabres: Terry Pegula

Operating Entities: Pegula Sports and Entertainment & Hockey Western New York, LLC

Owner History

Buffalo Sabres’ owner Terry Pegula is a multi-billionaire who holds interests in natural gas development, real estate, entertainment and, of course, professional sports. He got his start by founding East Resources, a natural gas drilling company, with $7,500. He has sold two sections of the company off, collecting $6.45 billion in the sales.

Buffalo Sabres Terry and Kim Pegula
Buffalo Sabres and Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)

Pegula owns a great deal of real estate in Buffalo, including the Webster Block which won the developing rights to in 2012. He also owns a share of the independent country music label Black River Entertainment, which has artists such as Kelsea Ballerini and Kellie Pickler.

In 2014, he purchased the National Football League’s( NFL) Buffalo Bills and in 2017, he purchased the NWHL’s Buffalo Beauts, although he gave up control of the team in 2019 after the CWHL folded.

Sabres Under Ownership

In 2011, Pegula purchased the Sabres, along with the Buffalo Bandits of the National Lacrosse League (NLL), for $189 million. A few months later, Pegula purchased the team’s AHL affiliate, the Rochester Americans. Upon his purchases, he immediately started investing money in the team and famously said, “Starting today, the Buffalo Sabres’ reason for existence will be to win a Stanley Cup.”

While the Sabres have yet to win a Stanley Cup, or even make the playoffs since the 2010-11 season, the team is worth $385 million (2020). With young core pieces like Jack Eichel and Rasmus Dahlin, Pegula’s Cup may not be that far off.

Calgary Flames: N. Murray Edwards

Operating Entity: Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation

Owner History

N. Murray Edwards is owner and chairman of Edco Financial Holdings Ltd., a merchant banker. He is also the leading investor, managing director and chairman of Canadian Natural Resources Limited and Ensign Energy Services Inc., two of Canada’s biggest oil companies.

Edwards owns Resorts of the Canadian Rockies, which includes six separate resorts on Canada’s west coast. He’s also the chairman of the board for Magellan Aerospace, a company that manufactures and repairs aerospace systems and components.

Flames Under Ownership

The Canadian billionaire is the director and co-owner of Calgary Sports and Entertainment (CSEC). He owns the team along with Alvin Libin, Allan Markin, and Jeffrey McCaig. In 2012, CSEC replaced the Calgary Flames Limited Partnership which relocated the team to Alberta in 1980.

In that time, the Flames have won one Stanley Cup, in the 1988-89 season. They’ve reached the Final two other times with the most recent coming in 2003-04 when they lost in seven games to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Calgary Sports and Entertainment also owns the AHL’s Stockton Heat, the Western Hockey League’s (WHL) Calgary Hitmen, the Canadian Football League’s (CFL) Calgary Stampede and the NLL’s Calgary Roughnecks. The Flames are worth $480 million (2020).

Carolina Hurricanes: Tom Dundon

Operating Entities: Gale Force Sports And Entertainment, LLC & Carolina Hurricanes Hockey Club

Owner History

One of the newest owners in the NHL, Tom Dundon is the chairman and managing partner of Dundon Capital Partners, a company he founded. Before that, he founded Santander Consumer USA, a consumer finance company.

Tom Dundon
Carolina Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon (center) (Carolina Hurricanes)

Dundon is well-known for his other sports venture, the Alliance of American Football (AAF). In Feb. 2019, Dundon invested a $250 million “line of credit” into the league and was named chairman. The league folded before completing its inaugural season, resulting in ongoing legal battles between Dundon and the league. Dundon gave $70 million to the league despite being told they would only need $55 million in the first season.

Hurricanes Under Ownership

In Jan. 2018, Dundon purchased the Carolina Hurricanes and operating control of PNC Arena for $420 million, exactly what it was valued by Forbes. Dundon owns 61 percent of the team, while outgoing owner Peter Karmanos still holds the remainder. There’s an option for Dundon to buy the rest within three years. Forbes valued the team at $440 million in 2020.

Related: Hurricanes Owner Tom Dundon Wants Fun

The Hurricanes were the talk of the NHL for Dundon’s first full season as the owner, from being a “bunch of jerks” for their celebrations after home wins to their shocking playoff run reaching the Eastern Conference Final. It’s still early in Dundon’s ownership but it’s looking up for the Hurricanes.

Chicago Blackhawks: William “Rocky” Wirtz

Operating Entity: Chicago Blackhawk Hockey Team, Inc.

Owner History

William Rockwell Wirtz, more commonly known as “Rocky” Wirtz, is the president of the Wirtz Corporation. The Corporation is a holding company that manages businesses of all sorts. This includes commercial and residential real estate companies, banking, a wine and spirits distributor, and an insurance company, among other things.

Rocky Wirtz Chicago Blackhawks
Rocky Wirtz, Owner and Chairman of the Chicago Blackhawks, 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Wirtz took over the company and the hockey team from his father after he passed away in 2007. Prior to this, Rocky managed Judge & Dolph, Ltd., the liquor distributor.

Blackhawks Under Ownership

The Wirtz family is the longest-tenured NHL ownership in the league. The family has owned the Chicago Blackhawks since 1954, with the younger Wirtz taking over in 2007 following his father’s passing.

The team has done very well in this time, winning three Stanley Cups in 2010, 2013 and 2015. The Blackhawks have been one of the best team’s in the league over his tenure, although they missed the playoffs in 2017-18 and 2018-19 after making it every season since 2007-08.

Forbes valued the team at just over $1 billion in 2020.

Colorado Avalanche: Kroenke Family

Operating Entities: Kroenke Sports & Entertainment & Colorado Avalanche, LLC

Owner History

E. Stanley Kroenke is a businessman and owner of Kroenke Sports & Entertainment which operates the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, English Premier League football club Arsenal, the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams, the NBA’s Denver Nuggets, Major League Soccer’s (MLS) Colorado Rapids, Colorado Mammoth of the NLL and eSports team the Los Angeles Gladiators in the Overwatch League.

Kroenke is married to Ann Walton Kroenke, the heiress to Walmart. On paper, she is the owner of the Avalanche and the Nuggets due to Stanley not being able to own a professional sports team in a competing market to the NFL. The team is now in a family trust with their son Josh as the president.

The family owns numerous shopping centres and apartment buildings, the majority of which are located next to Walmart locations.

Avalanche Under Ownership

Since the Kroenkes purchased the team in 2000, they have one Stanley Cup to their name, winning back in 2001. They’ve also won four division titles and a Presidents’ Trophy over that time.

Despite making the playoffs their first 10 seasons in Colorado, the Avalanche have had an up and down stretch since, although on the back of Nathan MacKinnon that may change in the near future.

Forbes valued the team at $465 million in 2020.

Columbus Blue Jackets: John P. McConnell

Operating Entities: Colhoc Limited Partnership & The Columbus Blue Jackets Hockey Club

Owner History

Columbus Blue Jackets majority owner John P. McConnell (THW Archives)

John P. McConnell is the CEO of Worthington Industries, a global diversified metals manufacturing company. Despite McConnell’s father founding the company, he worked his way up the company, spending time as a labourer, sales representative, personnel director and has administered a large number of company policies. He was named the vice chairman of the board of directors in 1992, becoming CEO in 1993.

McConnell is also very active in the community, including sitting on the board for OhioHealth. He has also served on the board of directors for Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, the YMCA and the Columbus Zoological Association.

Blue Jackets Under Ownership

Upon his father’s death in 2008, McConnell took over ownership of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Since then they have made the playoffs four times, winning their first-ever series in the 2019 NHL Playoffs. They have yet to win a division title. The team is worth $310 million (2020).

Dallas Stars: Tom Gaglardi

Operating Entity: Dallas Stars LP

Owner History

R. Thomas Gaglardi is a Canadian businessman and president of Northland Properties Corporation. Northland owns and operates hotels and restaurants in Canada. He’s also chairman and CEO of Sandman Hotels, Inns and Suites and Moxie’s Bar and Grill.

Tom Gaglardi
Dallas Stars owner Tom Gaglardi (Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE)

The Dallas Stars were not Gaglardi’s first attempt to purchase an NHL team. In 2004, he and business partner Ryan Beedie made a bid to buy the Vancouver Canucks, losing out to current owner Francois Aquilini. Then, in 2010, he proposed purchasing the Atlanta Thrashers and moving them to Hamilton, Ontario. Again, he lost out on the team, which moved to Winnipeg under the ownership of True North Sports & Entertainment.

Gaglardi also owns the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers.

Stars Under Ownership

Finally, in 2011, Gaglardi got his NHL team in the Stars. After going through bankruptcy proceedings with the previous owners, Hicks Sports Group, he bought the team for $240 million. The team is worth $575 million (2020). It was a rough start for Gaglardi and the Stars, making the playoffs only three times in the first eight seasons.

Detroit Red Wings: Ilitch Holdings

Operating Entities: Ilitch Holdings Inc., Olympia Entertainment & Detroit Red Wings, Inc.

Owner History

Christopher Ilitch is the president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings, a company founded by his father Mike in 1999 to oversee the family’s many business ventures. On top of the Detroit Red Wings, the family owns the MLB’s Detroit Tigers, Champion Foods, Olympia Entertainment, Olympia Development, Uptown Entertainment, Blue Line Foodservice Distribution, and Little Caesars.

Steve Yzerman, Christopher Ilitch
Team GM Steve Yzerman (left) and CEO and president Christopher Ilitch (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Prior to joining the family business, Ilitch worked for IBM and Little Caesars. Ilitch’s father passed away in 2017, leaving the billion-dollar company to Christopher.

Red Wings Under Ownership

The Red Wings under the Ilitch family has been one of the most successful sports team in any of the big four leagues. He purchased the team in 1982 for $8 million. The team had 25-straight seasons making the playoffs, including four Stanley Cups. The team is worth $775 million (2020).

Christopher took on the team at the end of the 25-year playoff run and the Red Wings missed the playoffs in his first two full seasons as owner. The team is looking to bounce back quickly though, bringing back former captain and star Steve Yzerman as the team’s general manager in April of 2019.

Edmonton Oilers: Daryl Katz

Operating Entities: Rexall Sports Corporation & Oilers Entertainment Group

Owner History

Daryl Katz is the founder and chairman of Katz Group of Companies, one of the largest privately-owned companies in Canada. The organization has pharmacy, sports and entertainment, and real estate development businesses.

Gary Bettman and Daryl Katz
Gary Bettman and Daryl Katz (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Katz is also a generous philanthropist. In 2006, he donated $7 million to the University of Alberta Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Faculty of Law, which was then matched by the province. In 2009, he made an even larger donation of $20 million to Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. It’s reported that he and his wife, Renee Gouin, donated around $50 million between 2005 and 2010.

The Canadian businessman also owns the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings and the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors.

Oilers Under Ownership

Katz really wanted the Edmonton Oilers. In 2007, he made bids of $145 million, $185 million, and $188 million, all of which were turned down. Then, in Jan. 2008, he made an offer of $200 million, which was accepted. The organization is worth $550 million (2020).

The Oilers have made the playoffs once in Katz tenure, despite having four first-overall picks in that time. The club now has Connor McDavid, who they hope can lead them into a new era.

Florida Panthers: Vincent Viola

Operating Entities: Sunrise Sports and Entertainment & Florida Panthers Hockey Club, Ltd

Owner History

Vincent Viola Florida Panthers
Vincent Viola of the Florida Panthers (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Vincent Viola is an American businessman and U.S. Army veteran. After attending the United States Military Academy, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He worked his way up to the rank of major in the 101st Airborne.

After his military time, Viola became a trader in the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX). Viola has founded numerous successful proprietary trading and clearing firms and as such is one of the nation’s most successful commodities dealers. Some of the firms and companies include Pioneer Futures, The Independent Bank Group, EWT, LLC, Madison Tyler, LLC, and Virtu Financial.

Panthers Under Ownership

Viola purchased the Florida Panthers in 2013 for $250 million. Since then, the team has only made the playoffs once. However, they have a solid core in place with Aaron Ekblad and Aleksander Barkov so the success may be coming to the team soon. The Panthers are worth $295 million (2020), the second-lowest valuation in the league.

Los Angeles Kings: Philip Anschutz & Edward P. Roski

Operating Entities: Anschutz Entertainment Group & The Los Angeles Kings Hockey Club LP

Owner History

Philip Anschutz is an American billionaire with toes dipped in just about everything. He bought out his father’s drilling company, Circle A Drilling, in 1961. From the profits of the company, he has investments in stocks, railroads, real estate and much more. He is a co-founder of MLS and five separate teams in the league. He owns stakes in the Los Angeles Kings, the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers, the Staples Centre, the O2 Arena, and through AEG Live he owns the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

Dustin Brown Los Angeles Kings owner Philip Anschutz 2014 Stanley Cup
Los Angeles Kings team owner Philip Anschutz lifts the 2014 Stanley Cup (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

Anschutz co-owns the Kings and Lakers with Edward P. Roski. Roski also owns the Silverton Las Vegas casino. He was in the U.S. Marine Corps and was deployed in Vietnam as a part of the 1st Battalion, 4th Marines. He was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.

Kings Under Ownership

Anschutz and Roski purchased the Kings in 1995 for $113.25 million. Under their ownership, the organization won it’s first two Stanley Cups in 2011-12 and 2013-14. They have been a very up and down team over their tenure, going back and forth between making the playoffs and not making the playoffs. The club is worth $825 million (2020).

Minnesota Wild: Craig Leipold

Operating Entities: Minnesota Sports and Entertainment & Minnesota Wild Hockey Club, LP

Owner History

Craig Leipold is the founder of Ameritel, a business-to-business marketing firm. In the past, he’s owned the Rainfair Company, the Grand Ole Opry and was a director of Gaylord Entertainment Company.

Ryan Suter Minnesota Wild Craig Leipold
Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold (right) and Ryan Suter at Suter’s 1,000th game (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

Leipold was also the previous owner of the Nashville Predators. He purchased the expansion team in 1997 for $80 million before selling the team for $193 million in 2007.

Wild Under Ownership

After selling the Predators, Leipold didn’t wait long to get back into the NHL. A month after the Nashville sale was finalized, reports came out that he was going to buy the Minnesota Wild. The club is worth $500 million (2020).

Under Leipold, the Wild have only won two playoff series – not in the same season. They have won one division title in their franchise history, coming just as Leipold took over in the 2007-08 season. It’s hasn’t been a good stretch thus far for the Wild.

Leipold also owns the AHL’s Iowa Wild and manages the Xcel Energy Center.

Montreal Canadiens: Molson Family/Geoff Molson

Operating Entity: Club de hockey Canadien, Inc

Owner History

Geoff Molson has spent time with numerous companies. He started as a student, working as a sales and marketing representative at Molson Brewery. He worked for Coca-Cola as a global media services assistant and was then a senior consultant for CSC Consulting. Then, he headed back to his families company as the vice president of marketing. In 2009, he was named the chairman of the Board of Directors and general partner.

Geoff Molson Montreal Canadiens
Montreal Canadiens owner Geoff Molson (Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Molson is also known for his philanthropic ventures. He’s a member of the Plus Mieux Guérir (Sainte-Justine) and the Campus Montreal (HEC, Polytechnique, Université de Montréal) fundraising committees. He also sits on the board of the Molson family foundation, which supports initiatives all over Canada, as well as the St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation, the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation, the Molson Coors Donations Fund and the Molson Coors Foundation.

Canadiens Under Ownership

Molson purchased the Montreal Canadiens in 2009 from George N. Gillett Jr. for $575 million. Interestingly enough, Gillett Jr. purchased the team from the Molson Brewery in 2001. Molson now owns the Canadiens with his two brothers, Andrew and Justin, and a group of companies including BCE/Bell, the Woodbridge Company Limited, the QFL Solidarity Fund, The National Bank Financial Group, Michael Andlauer and Luc Bertrand.

Related – Canadiens History: The Very Beginning

Under Molson, the team’s best season came in 2013-14 with a loss in the Eastern Conference Final to the New York Rangers. They’ve won the division three times, but haven’t won the conference as of yet.

The Canadiens’ franchise was valued at $1.34 billion in 2020.

Nashville Predators: Thomas Cigarran

Operating Entity: Predators Holdings LLC

Owner History

Thomas Cigarran is the co-founder, former chairman, president and CEO and Director of Healthways, Inc. He’s also a co-founder and former chairman, president and CEO and current Director of AmSurg Corporation, the nation’s largest outpatient surgery center company.

Tom Cigarran Nashville Predators
Tom Cigarran, owner of the Nashville Predators (Photo by Frederick Breedon IV/Getty Images)

While his business side has been in the healthcare industry, he is also very involved in Nashville’s education. He’s been the chairman of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and was a founder and chairman of the Operating Board of Alignment Nashville, an organization that helps other organization plan events for public education.

Cigarran also led the Haiti Education Mission of the Cathedral of the Incarnation, chaired the advisory board of Vanderbilt’s Owen School’s Healthcare MBA Program, served on the boards of the Harpeth Hall School, Alive Hospice and the Mental Health Association of Middle Tennessee and served as chair of the Nashville Health Care Council.

Predators Under Ownership

Cigarran purchased the club in 2007 from now-Wild owner Craig Leipold. During his tenure, the ownership team has made many headlines, from purchasing shares of the team from a jailed investor to co-owners suing each other. Through the turmoil, the team is still worth $435 million (2020).

With Cigarran at the helm, the Predators have won two division titles, a Presidents’ Trophy in 2017-18 and reached the Stanley Cup Final once, although they lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games.

New Jersey Devils: Joshua Harris

Operating Entity: New Jersey Devils LLC

Owner History

New Jersey Devils’ owner Joshua Harris is an American billionaire who co-founded Apollo Global Management in 1990, one of the world’s largest alternative investment firms. He still remains with the company as one of three managing partners.

Joshua Harris New Jersey Devils
Joshua Harris, Owner, New Jersey Devils, 2019 NHL Draft (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Harris is also the managing partner in a group that owns the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers. The group purchased the team in 2011 for $280 million. He also owns an 18 percent stake in Crystal Palace of the English Premier League. The businessman has expressed interest in owning an NFL team as well, by expanding the league to London, England.

Devils Under Ownership

Harris purchased the Devils in 2013, as well as the rights to operate their arena, the Prudential Center. He bought the team for a reported $320 million, although commissioner Gary Bettman indicated that the number isn’t correct. The team is worth $530 million (2020).

The Devils haven’t had a stellar run since Harris took over the team, despite reaching the Stanley Cup Final in 2011-12. They followed that playoff run with five straight seasons missing the playoffs. At the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, the team selected the highly-touted Jack Hughes, so better results may be on the horizon.

New York Islanders: Jon Ledecky & Scott D. Malkin

Operating Entity: New York Islanders Hockey Club, LP

Owner History

Jon Ledecky started his career out in journalism while studying business administration at Harvard University. He went on to found U.S. Office Supplies in 1994, leaving the company four years later with an estimated $400 million. Ledecky has owned or has tried to own numerous sports teams, including making bids for the MLB’s Cinncinati Reds, New York Dodgers, Oakland Athletics, and Washington Nationals as well as the NHL’s Canadiens. He did own the Washington Capitals with Ted Leonsis for a short time, eventually selling his shares to Leonsis.

Owner New York Islanders, Jon Ledecky Gary Bettman
Co-Owner and Alternative Governer of the New York Islanders, Jon Ledecky and Commissioner of the NHL, Gary Bettman (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)

Scott Malkin is the founder of Value Retail, which creates luxury retail destinations in coveted locations. The company does over a billion in sales annually. Ledecky and Malkin were roommates at Harvard.

Islanders Under Ownership

The two owners purchased a minority stake in the New York Islanders in 2014 from longtime owner Charles Wang, before buying the majority shares in 2016. Forbes reported that the sale was for $485 million. Ledecky and Malkin are one of few owners on this list to have the valuation lower than what was spent, as the club is worth $520 million (2020).

Related: Meet the Islanders New Owners

In the first five years of their ownership, the Islanders made the playoffs three times, twice reaching the second round. While better than many teams, the return on investment has not yet been there for the owners.

New York Rangers: James L. Dolan

Operating Entity: The Madison Square Garden Company & New York Rangers Hockey Club

Owner History

New York Rangers owner James Dolan is the executive chairman and CEO of The Madison Square Garden Company. He oversees the Rangers, the AHL’s Hartford Wolfpack the NBA’s New York Knicks, the Women’s National Basketball Association’s (WNBA) New York Liberty, and networks MSG Network and MSG Plus.

James Dolan New York Rangers
James Dolan, executive chairman and CEO, The Madison Square Garden Company, Owner of New York Rangers, watches an NBA basketball game (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

Previously, Dolan served as the CEO of Cablevision from 1995 to 2016 when the company was sold. He was also the CEO of Rainbow Media Holdings, which is now known as AMC Networks. He also helped found and is on the board of The Lustgarten Foundation, the largest private supporter of pancreatic cancer research in the United States.

Rangers Under Ownership

Through the Madison Square Garden Company, Dolan’s family owns the Rangers. In 1994, Cablevision acquired 50 percent of the MSG properties, buying the remaining shares three years later. The team is the most valuable team in the NHL, worth $1.65 billion (2020).

From 1997, when the Dolan family fully owned the Rangers, the team has two division titles, one Presidents’ Trophy and one Stanley Cup Final appearance. The team has had its share of ups and downs, going through long stretches of both. But with it’s strong, young players, led by Kappo Kakko, the team looks to be on the rise.

Ottawa Senators: Eugene Melnyk

Operating Entities: Capital Sports Properties & Ottawa Senators Hockey Club Limited Partnership

Owner History

Eugene Melnyk is a Canadian businessman who founded Biovail Corporation, a specialty pharmaceutical company and served as the company’s CEO and chairman. Melnyk left the company in 2007 after news that the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was investigating him. In 2008, they sued him for accounting fraud, to which Biovail settled for $10 million. Melnyk was banned from senior roles at public companies in Canada for five years and fined $565,000 by the Ontario Securities Commission and settled with the SEC for $150,000 on top of the $1 million previously paid.

Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk
Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)

Melnyk has been involved with numerous philanthropic ventures, highlighted by being a founding partner for Rogers’ House, a pediatric palliative care facility and donating $5 million to St. Joseph’s Health Centre in Toronto.

Senators Under Ownership

Melnyk purchased the Ottawa Senators in 2003, as well as the arena they play in, then called the Corel Centre. He purchased the team for roughly $150 million after the team had filed for bankruptcy protection. The team is worth $430 million (2020).

Since purchasing the team, the Senators have one division title and one Presidents’ Trophy, on top of reaching the Stanley Cup Final in 2006-07. Melnyk has drawn the anger of fans over and over again and is known for being “cheap” when it comes to the hockey club, resulting in numerous stars leaving Ottawa.

Philadelphia Flyers: Brian L. Roberts

Operating Entity: Comcast Spectacor & Philadelphia Flyers, LP

Owner History

Brian Roberts is the CEO and chairman of the Comcast Corporation, an American cable company. His father founded the company in 1969 and as of Mar. 2019, the company earns annual revenue of $94.5 billion. He is also the chairman of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association.

Brian Roberts Comcast Philadelphia Flyers
Brian Roberts, chief executive officer of Comcast (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Roberts is also known as a world-class squash player. In 2005, he earned a gold medal for Team USA at the Maccabiah Games. He also won silver medals in 1981, 1985 and 1997 at the same event.

Flyers Under Ownership

Ed Snider brought the Flyers to Philadelphia in 1967, teaming up with Comcast in 1996. Upon Snider’s death in 2016, Comcast bought the remaining shares of the team for an undisclosed amount. The team is worth $800 million (2020).

With Comcast as a partner since ’96, the Flyers have three division titles and two Conference Championships, sending them to the Stanley Cup Final twice. The Flyers have consistently been near the top of the NHL through Roberts’ and Comcast’s ownership, just recently going through some rough seasons of not making the playoffs.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Ronald Burkle & Mario Lemieux

Operating Entity: Lemieux Group LP

Owner History

Mario Lemieux, of course, is one of the greatest players to ever play in the NHL. In 915 games, the Pittsburgh Penguins star collected 690 goals, 1,033 assists and 1,723 points. He was a 10-time All-Star, two-time Stanley Cup champion, six-time Art Ross Trophy winner, four-time Ted Lindsay Award winner, three-time Hart Memorial winner, and added a Calder Trophy, Bill Masterton Trophy and a Lester Patrick Trophy. In 1997 he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Hockey legend Mario Lemieux (Photo by: Harry How/Getty Images)

Ronald Burkle is an American billionaire and the co-founder and managing partner of The Yucaipa Companies, LLC. This organization is a private equity and venture capital firm that specializes in underperforming U.S. companies in the distribution, logistics, food, retail, consumer and light industrial sectors. Over his time, he’s owned stakes and investments in A&P, Whole Foods, Golden State Foods, SeatGeek, SoundCloud, Airbnb, Three Lions Entertainment, among many others. He’s also the lead investor trying to bring an MLS team to Sacramento.

Penguins Under Ownership

The story of Lemieux’s transition from a player to an owner may just be one of the best stories in NHL history. With the team declaring bankruptcy in 1998, owing over $90 million to creditors including $32.5 million to Lemieux himself for deferred salaries, he converted his owed money into equity–enough to give him controlling interest in the team. He turned the team around, paying off all creditors by 2005. The team is worth $650 million (2020).

Related: Mario Lemieux: The Triumphant Return from Retirement

The Penguins have been successful on the ice as well. Under Lemieux and Burkle, the team has won three Stanley Cups, in 2009, 2016 and 2017, and become a perennial contender. Having cornerstone players like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin definitely helped that.

San Jose Sharks: Hasso Plattner

Operating Entity: Sharks Sports and Entertainment; San Jose Sports & Entertainment Enterprises & San Jose Sharks, LLC

Owner History

San Jose Sharks owner Hasso Plattner (THW Archives)

German-born Hasso Plattner is a billionaire and the co-founder of SAP SE company, sitting as chairman of the supervisory committee. SAP SE is a software company that Plattner and four other engineers from IBM created in 1972.

Plattner also runs the Hasso Plattner Institute which focuses on research and teaching in IT systems engineering, offering degree programs and free online courses. He’s also a signee of the Giving Pledge, supporting HIV/AIDS research and promoting healthcare and health education in South Africa.

Sharks Under Ownership

The owner first invested in the San Jose Sharks in 2002, becoming the majority owner in 2010 and fully buying out the other investors in 2013. The team is worth $515 million (2020).

Under Plattner, the Sharks have always been in the playoff hunt but just can’t make it over the hump. Since he first invested, the team has made the playoffs all but two seasons. In that time they’ve collected five division titles, one Presidents’ Trophy and have reached the Stanley Cup Final once.

Seattle: David Bonderman & Jerry Bruckheimer

Operating Entity: Seattle Hockey Partners

Owner History

David Bonderman is an American billionaire and the co-founder and chairman of TPG Capital, one of the largest investment firms in the world. He’s also been a director of Continental Airlines, Ducati Motor Holding, and many other companies. Bonderman is on the board of The Wilderness Society, the World Wide Fund for Nature, among others, and was previously on the board of Burger King, Uber, numerous banks and other companies.

Seattle franchise owners Jerry Bruckheimer Tod Leiweke
NHL Seattle franchise owner Jerry Bruckheimer (left) and president and CEO Tod Leiweke (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Jerry Bruckheimer is a well-known film and television producer. His television shows include CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CSI: Miami, CSI: NY, Without a Trace and The Amazing Race. His movies get even better, working on films like FlashdanceTop GunThe RockCon AirArmageddonEnemy of the StateBlack Hawk DownPearl Harbor, and the Beverly Hills CopBad BoysPirates of the Caribbean and National Treasure franchises.

Related: NHL Approves Seattle Expansion Team

Seattle Under Ownership

Bonderman and Bruckheimer led an application submitted in early 2018 to bring an NHL team to Seattle. In Dec. 2018, the NHL Board of Governors approved the bid and the team will start playing in 2021-22.

St. Louis Blues: Tom Stillman

Operating Entity: SLB Acquisition Holdings LLC & St. Louis Blues Hockey Club, L.P.

Owner History

St. Louis Blues owner Tom Stillman is a former lawyer who worked with the U.S. Department of Commerce where he was Chief Counsel for Export Administration. Prior to that, he worked at the New York law firm Dewey, Ballantine, Bushby, Palmer & Wood.

St. Louis Blues Tom Stillman
St. Louis Blues chairman and Governor Tom Stillman (AP Photo/Scott Kane)

Stillman is currently the chairman and CEO of Summit Distributing, a St. Louis-based beer distributor. He’s also on the boards of Blues for Kids, Commerce Bank, St. Louis Region, the St. Louis Sports Commission, and the Logos School.

Blues Under Ownership

Stillman became a minority owner in the Blues in 2007. From then until June 2019, his all-local ownership group slowly began taking over more and more of the team, until he reached 100 percent. He became the majority owner in 2012. The team is worth $510 million (2020).

Since he became the majority owner, have made the playoffs in all but one season, collecting one division title and winning the franchise’s first Stanley Cup in 2019.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Jeffrey Vinik

Operating Entity: Lightning Hockey LP

Owner History

Jeffrey Vinik is known for his hedge fund, Vinik Asset Management, which he started after leaving the Fidelity Mutual Fund in 1996. By 2000, the hedge fund returned it’s investors $4.2 billion and by the time he closed the fund in 2013, he and his partners distributed $9 million.

Owner Jeff Vinik of the Tampa Bay Lightning
Owner Jeff Vinik of the Tampa Bay Lightning (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

He and his wife have donated $6.25 million to Duke University’s engineering school, $10 million to create a challenge fund to endow associate and full professorships dedicated to addressing complex societal challenges and $1.5 million to build a new Jewish Community Center in South Tampa.

Lightning Under Ownership

Vinik purchased the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2010 for $170 million. Worth $470 million (2020), Vinik has been putting money into the organization and the community. He’s put $60 million into the publicly-owned AMALIE Arena and $30 million into Tampa Bay charities.

Under his ownership, the Lightning have two division titles and a Presidents’ trophy. They reached the Final in 2014-15, losing to the Blackhawks in six games.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Larry Tanenbaum

Operating Entity: Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, Ltd. & Kilmer Sports, Inc.

Owner History

MLSE chairman Larry Tanenbaum Toronto Maple Leafs
MLSE chairman Larry Tanenbaum of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

Larry Tanenbaum is a Canadian businessman who is the chairman and CEO of the Kilmer Group. The company focuses on investments in three sectors: private equity, infrastructure and real estate, and sports and media. He and the company have investments in everything from Coca-Cola to restaurants, numerous construction companies to high-profile real estate, sports teams to television stations.

As a part of Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment, Tanenbaum also owns the NBA’s Toronto Raptors, Toronto FC of the MLS, the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts, the AHL’s Toronto Marlies, and Scotiabank Arena. He is very involved with all of these leagues, is on the board of the Hockey Hall of Fame and the Toronto 2026 FIFA World Cup.

Maple Leafs Under Ownership

The Toronto Maple Leafs have a large ownership group, with BCE Inc. and Rogers Communications owning the majority. Tanenbaum actually only owns 25 percent of the team, but since he’s the chairman of MLSE, he’s the face of the ownership.

Tanenbaum purchased his first portion of shares in 1996 for $21 million, buying more in 2008 for $100 million and when BCE and Rogers purchased the majority shares in 2011 for $1.32 billion, his share was bumped up to 25 percent to secure his approval of the sale. The Maple Leafs are the second-most valuable team in the league at $1.5 billion (2020).

Since Tanenbaum came into the fold in 1996, the Maple Leafs have just one division title. They have yet to win a Conference title or make the Stanley Cup Final. They even had a stretch of 11 seasons where they missed the playoffs 10 times. With superstar Auston Matthews leading the team now, they hope times will be changing soon.

Vancouver Canucks: Francesco Aquilini

Operating Entity: Canucks Sports & Entertainment

Owner History

Francesco Aquilini is a Canadian businessman and is a managing director at the company his father founded, Aquilini Investment Group. On top of the Vancouver Canucks and Rogers Arena, the Group oversees and has investments in real estate, energy, development, restaurants, agriculture, hotels and more.

Vancouver Canucks chairman Francesco Aquilini
Vancouver Canucks chairman Francesco Aquilini (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

Through both the Canucks and the Aquilini Investment Group, Aquilini is known for his philanthropic work as well. He gives significant support to the BC Children’s Hospital, the Canucks for Kids Fund, Canucks Autism Network, and the Boys Club Network. He is also involved in wildlife preservation which led to him purchasing the Codd Wetlands in order to preserve them.

Under Canucks Sports & Entertainment, Aquilini also owns the AHL’s Utica Comets, the NLL’s Vancouver Warriors and eSports team Vancouver Titans of the Overwatch League.

Canucks Under Ownership

In 2004, Aquilini purchased 50 percent of the Canucks, purchasing the remaining shares two years later. The deal wasn’t an easy venture to start, as Aquilini was sued by now-Stars owner Gaglardi and Ryan Beedie, claiming that the three of them were supposed to buy the team together. The court ruled in favour of Aquilini. The estimated total that Aquilini paid is $250 million, and the hockey club is worth $725 million (2020).

Under Aquilini, since his initial investment, the Canucks have done well, winning six division titles, two Presidents’ Trophies and making one trip to the Stanley Cup Final. They had a rough stretch from 2013-14 to 2018-19, but have young players in the fold like Elias Pettersson to right the ship.

Vegas Golden Knights: William Foley

Operating Entity: Black Knight Sports & Entertainment & Hockey Vision Las Vegas

Owner History

Bill Foley is a former attorney who has specialized in financial services. He is the chairman fo both Fidelity National Financial (FNF) and Black Knight Financial Services. Foley was in the U.S. Air Force, where he negotiated million-dollar contracts with The Boeing Company. After leaving the Air Force he purchased a struggling FNF and turned it around.

Vegas Golden Knights George McPhee Bill Foley Kelly McCrimmon
Vegas Golden Knights President of Hockey Operations George McPhee, owner Bill Foley and General Manager Kelly McCrimmon, May 02, 2019 (Photo by David Becker/NHLI via Getty Images)

Foley has invested in numerous areas, including wineries, golf courses, hotels, ski resorts, steak houses, fast-food restaurants and auto parts manufacturers. He also explored the possibility of purchasing the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars before they were bought by another party.

Golden Knights Under Ownership

In 2016, the NHL approved a bid from Foley to become the first expansion team since 2000 and the first NHL team ever in Las Vegas. The team started playing in 2017-18. In Foley’s campaign to bring the league to Vegas, he secured more than 13,200 season ticket holders. As an expansion team, he was required to pay a $500 million expansion fee…the team is already worth $570 million (2020).

The Vegas Golden Knights broke into the NHL and took the league by storm, winning their division and reaching the Stanley Cup Final in their first season. They reached the playoffs again in their second season in an unprecedented start for the expansion franchise.

Washington Capitals: Ted Leonsis

Operating Entity: Monumental Sports & Entertainment

Owner History

Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis/(Flicker – Internews Network)

Ted Leonsis is a businessman, investor, filmmaker, author, inventor, philanthropist, and former politician. He’s a former senior executive with AOL and is the founder and chairman of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, the Revolution Growth Fund and SnagFilms. He invests in numerous companies including Google, Groupon, SB Nation, Forbes and many, many more.

Under Monumental Sports & Entertainment, Leonsis owns the Washington Capitals, the NBA’s Washington Wizards, the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, and Arena Football League teams the Washington Valor and Baltimore Brigade. Separately, he owns eSports team Team Liquid.

Capitals Under Ownership

Leonsis purchased Washington Sports & Entertainment in 1999 for $200 million, $85 million of that for the Capitals. Since then, the team has had tremendous success, winning 11 division titles, three Presidents’ Trophies and the franchise’s first Stanley Cup in 2017-18. The club is worth $750 million (2020).

Winnipeg Jets: Mark Chipman & David Thomson

Operating Entity: True North Sports & Entertainment, Ltd.

Owner History

Mark Chipman is a Canadian businessman and lawyer. He is the president of his family’s Megill-Stephenson Company, which includes True North Sports & Entertainment (TNSE), Birchwood Automotive Group and Longboat Development Corporation. Chipman is also on the Board of Hockey Canada and is part of the selection committee for the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Winnipeg Jets owner Mark Chipman (Winnipeg Sun)

The Right Honourable Lord Thomson of Fleet, David Thomson is of British descent and is the 3rd Baron Thomson of Fleet. He is the founder of Osmington Incorporated, a real estate firm that he owns separate from his family. The company purchases and manages commercial real estate. He’s also a major investor in FarmersEdge, a precision digital solution for farming. Thomson is also known as an avid art collector.

Jets Under Ownership

In 2011, TNSE purchased the Atlanta Thrashers and it was announced shortly after that the team would be relocated to Winnipeg. The reported sale was $170 million, with $60 million a relocation fee. The club is worth $405 million (2020).

Under Chipman and Thomson, the Jets have just begun to make an impact in the NHL. They missed the playoffs in five of their first six seasons, but now have young pieces like Patrik Laine leading the team. They have yet to win a division title and have reached the Conference Final once.

Team valuations in US dollars and courtesy of Forbes.

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