Where Did the NHL Owners Make Their Money?

Where Did the NHL Owners Make Their Money?

Uncover how NHL owners made their fortunes and see how their financial journeys can inspire and guide you in your personal wealth-building endeavors.

By Mike Deane

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This article was originally written by Mike Deane and has since been updated by the TraderHQ content staff.

Owning a National Hockey League (NHL) team is more than just a passion project; it's a testament to financial acumen, business prowess, and strategic risk-taking.

The landscape of NHL team ownership is fraught with significant financial barriers, from multi-million dollar salaries, and escalating administrative costs to the ongoing maintenance and enhancement of state-of-the-art facilities. These immense financial responsibilities can cripple an under-prepared owner, making robust financial backing not merely an advantage but a necessity.

This understanding underscores the importance of diving into the financial backgrounds of these owners, as their journeys to affluence are rich with instructive lessons. The allure of financial success in the sports world is undeniable, and the stories of these owners provide a blueprint for building wealth, one that transcends the hockey rink and resonates with individuals aspiring to make their mark in any industry.

One need look no further than the troubles of the Phoenix Coyotes to appreciate the stark challenges that come with owning an NHL team. Failed ownership due to financial mismanagement led the Coyotes into bankruptcy in 2009, casting a long shadow on the franchise for years. This cautionary tale emphasizes the need for not just passion, but shrewd financial strategy and resilience.

Let’s delve into the stories of three prominent NHL owners—Henry Samueli, Jeremy Jacobs, and Terrence Pegula—to uncover the wealth-building insights embedded in their journeys.

  • Henry Samueli (Anaheim Ducks)

Henry Samueli, co-founder of Broadcom Corporation, acquired the Anaheim Ducks in 2005. Since taking over, the Ducks have won their first Stanley Cup in 2007 and have been competitive in the playoffs, underscoring Samueli's effective stewardship.

Samueli's fortune stems from his role in revolutionizing the semiconductor industry with Broadcom, a company that started small but grew into a giant through pioneering innovations in networking and communications technology.

Samueli's wealth-building journey is marked by key milestones: the foundation of Broadcom in 1991, its public offering that brought immense capital in 1998, and the subsequent strategic acquisitions and innovations that fortified its industry-leader status.

His willingness to take calculated risks and invest in groundbreaking technology transformed Broadcom into a multibillion-dollar enterprise. For those seeking to emulate Samueli’s success, the broader insight lies in the power of strategic diversification and the pursuit of innovation.

Whether in technology or another field, identifying trends early and committing to long-term growth, even amidst setbacks, can be transformative. Samueli's story urges readers to think big, stay resilient, and continuously seek advancement.

  • Jeremy Jacobs (Boston Bruins)

Jeremy Jacobs, chairman of Delaware North and owner of the Boston Bruins since 1975, has overseen the Bruins' fluctuating success, including a Stanley Cup win in 2011. Jacobs' conglomerate, Delaware North, operates in diverse sectors including hospitality, food service, and gaming, generating billions in revenue annually.

Jacobs' wealth was built through the strategic expansion of Delaware North, which began as a modest popcorn and peanut vending business founded by his father. Jeremy Jacobs escalated the company's growth by branching into various hospitality and entertainment sectors, demonstrating an astute eye for opportunities and impeccable execution.

The key wealth-building lesson from Jacobs' journey is the importance of resilience and adaptability. Diversification of investments across different yet complementary industries can provide stability and growth, even when one sector faces challenges. For readers, this might translate into exploring multiple income streams and being open to uncharted business ventures.

  • Terrence Pegula (Buffalo Sabres)

Terrence Pegula took ownership of the Buffalo Sabres in 2011, investing heavily in both team facilities and player acquisitions to regain competitive stature. Pegula's initial wealth came from the oil and gas industry, with the founding and eventual sale of East Resources, a natural gas drilling and exploration company, netting him billions.

Pegula's journey to wealth is a narrative of bold strategic risks—investing in shale gas extraction at a time when the technology and profitability were uncertain. His foresight in the potential of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) paid enormous dividends, cascading immense returns from both the growth and sale of his company.

The broader insight for personal wealth-building here is recognizing and seizing transformative opportunities. Pegula’s success emphasizes the importance of leveraging industry expertise and being willing to take calculated risks on high-potential ventures. For emerging entrepreneurs, it suggests the value of not just staying within one's comfort zone but daring to explore innovative and potentially disruptive paths.

As readers contemplate their own financial journeys, the stories of NHL owners like Samueli, Jacobs, and Pegula serve as inspirational blueprints. These high achievers offer invaluable lessons on diversification, resilience, and strategic, calculated risk-taking, all of which are crucial for substantial wealth-building. Visualizing one's unique path, armed with these lessons, could pave the way to personal financial success akin to these titans of the NHL.


Financial Barriers: Owning an NHL team like the Phoenix Coyotes comes with immense financial hurdles, from high salaries to facility upkeep. These challenges highlight the importance of robust financial backing. Take inspiration from the journeys of these owners to learn wealth-building strategies. Discover the best stock advisor and best stock advisor websites to guide your financial decisions.

N. Murray Edwards (Calgary Flames)

N. Murray Edwards has been the principal owner of the Calgary Flames since 1994. During his tenure, the team has experienced varied degrees of success, including several playoff appearances and strong regular-season performances. Edwards's journey to becoming an NHL owner is nothing short of inspiring, marked by resilience and strategic prowess in multiple industries.

Edwards began his professional journey in the energy sector. After earning a law degree, he transitioned into the oil and gas industry, co-founding FirstEnergy Capital Corp, which became one of Canada’s leading investment banks in the sector. His success there allowed him to amass significant wealth, which he diversified into mining and tourism.

What sets Edwards apart is his knack for identifying burgeoning markets. He was among the first to see the potential in Canada's oil sands, investing heavily when others were cautious. This bold move paid off immensely, demonstrating his willingness to take calculated risks.

Edwards's journey teaches us the importance of strategic risk-taking and diversification. His ability to pivot across industries—from energy to sports—shows the value of adaptability and foresight. Aspiring entrepreneurs can learn from Edwards's belief in innovative approaches and the significance of investing in sectors with long-term growth potential.

Peter Karmanos, Jr. (Carolina Hurricanes)

Peter Karmanos, Jr. purchased the Carolina Hurricanes in 1994, and under his ownership, the team won its first Stanley Cup in 2006. Karmanos's path to becoming a prominent NHL owner involved overcoming substantial difficulties and leveraging his technological and entrepreneurial skills.

Karmanos co-founded Compuware Corporation in 1973, a company specializing in software and IT services. During the early years, he faced numerous challenges, including fierce competition and the rapidly evolving nature of technology. However, his relentless innovation and understanding of market needs led Compuware to become a major player in the tech industry.

Karmanos's success was rooted in his vision to develop user-friendly software at a time when the market was saturated with complex systems. He prioritized customer service and built a reputation for reliability, which solidified his company's standing in the industry.

The key lesson from Karmanos’s journey is the power of customer-focused innovation. By prioritizing user needs and maintaining a relentless commitment to quality, he transformed Compuware into a technology leader. Aspiring entrepreneurs can emulate his focus on solving real-world problems and delivering consistent value.

Stan Kroenke (Colorado Avalanche)

Stan Kroenke has owned the Colorado Avalanche since 2000. Under his leadership, the team secured multiple playoff berths, culminating in a Stanley Cup victory in 2022. Kroenke’s financial ascent is deeply rooted in real estate investment and sports management.

Kroenke began his career in real estate after earning an MBA. He founded Kroenke Group in 1983, a real estate development firm that flourished by strategically investing in shopping centers and apartment buildings during economic downturns. Kroenke’s ability to foresee and capitalize on real estate trends enabled him to amass significant wealth.

Expanding beyond real estate, Kroenke entered the sports industry, owning multiple teams across various leagues, including the NBA and NFL. His diverse portfolio highlights a unique approach to wealth accumulation through strategic investments in undervalued assets.

Kroenke’s story underscores the importance of strategic diversification and timing. His investments during downturns and in emerging markets serve as a reminder that economic challenges can present opportunities for growth. Aspiring investors can learn from his strategic timing and diversified portfolio approach.

John P. McConnell (Columbus Blue Jackets)

John P. McConnell became the principal owner of the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2008. Despite a mix of performance metrics, including sporadic playoff appearances, his ownership has been marked by a strong commitment to community and team development.

McConnell's journey began in Worthington Industries, a steel processing company founded by his father. Taking over the reins, McConnell expanded the company’s footprint through innovation and strategic acquisitions. His tenure saw the company thrive amid the cyclical nature of the steel industry.

McConnell emphasized innovation and expansion, steering his company to adapt to market changes and emerging materials technologies. His leadership style focused on sustainable growth and technological advancements, positioning Worthington Industries as a leader in metal manufacturing.

From McConnell’s experience, we learn the value of sustainable innovation and embracing change. His ability to lead a traditional industry into modern competitiveness provides insights into maintaining relevance amidst evolving markets. Entrepreneurs can draw from his emphasis on innovation, sustainability, and strategic growth to navigate their own ventures.

In summary, these four NHL owners exemplify diverse paths to financial success, underscored by strategic risk-taking, customer-focused innovation, diversification, and sustainable growth. Their stories remind us that success often comes from embracing challenges and continuously adapting to change.


Financial Barriers: Owning an NHL team like the Phoenix Coyotes comes with immense financial hurdles, from high salaries to facility upkeep. These challenges highlight the importance of robust financial backing. Take inspiration from the journeys of these owners to learn wealth-building strategies. Discover the best stock advisor and best stock advisor websites to guide your financial decisions.

Many NHL teams owe their achievements not only to skillful players and coaches but also to the astute management and vision of their owners, who often bring rich legacies and diverse business backgrounds to the table. Here's a closer look at some of these influential figures and how their approaches have fostered long-term success.

Mike Ilitch (Detroit Red Wings)

Under Mike Ilitch's ownership, the Detroit Red Wings saw a remarkable resurgence, with numerous division titles and four Stanley Cup championships (1997, 1998, 2002, and 2008). Ilitch, who cofounded Little Caesars Pizza, built his fortune through hard work and insightful business strategies. His legacy in the restaurant industry laid the foundation for his success in sports management.

Ilitch's passion for hockey and business acumen were inseparable. He invested heavily in scouting and player development, ensuring the team remained competitive. His philosophy was clear: prioritize excellence and community engagement. Ilitch's commitment to Detroit extended beyond the rink, as he revitalized the local economy through various philanthropic efforts.

Actionable Insights:

  • Invest in long-term talent development.
  • Integrate community-focused initiatives to build a legacy rooted in both business success and social responsibility.
  • Vincent Viola (Florida Panthers)

    Since Vincent Viola purchased the Florida Panthers in 2013, the team has seen improvements in performance and fan engagement. A former Chairman of the New York Mercantile Exchange and founder of multiple financial services firms, Viola brought a wealth of strategic investment experience to his ownership role.

    Viola's wealth was built through meticulous strategic decisions and an in-depth understanding of market dynamics. His approach to managing the Panthers mirrored his business philosophy: make data-driven decisions and foster a strong organizational culture. His passion for teamwork and excellence prominently shaped the Panthers' organizational ethos.

    Actionable Insights:

  • Utilize data-driven strategies to make informed decisions.
  • Invest in building a strong and cohesive organizational culture.
  • Molson Family (Montreal Canadiens)

    The Molson family, synonymous with the iconic Canadian brewing company, has owned the Montreal Canadiens for generations. Their stewardship has maintained the team's status as one of the most successful franchises in NHL history, with 24 Stanley Cup victories to their name.

    The Molson family's wealth and influence were cultivated through centuries of brewing industry leadership, diversified investments, and an unwavering commitment to both personal and business standards of excellence. Their management style is rooted in a deep understanding of the sport, blending tradition with innovation. Their passion for hockey and community engagement has been pivotal in sustaining the Canadiens' legacy.

    Actionable Insights:

  • Balance respect for tradition with innovative practices.
  • Leverage family legacy to uphold brand integrity and continuity.
  • Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (Toronto Maple Leafs)

    Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE), the owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs, is a conglomerate that also manages several sports franchises and arenas. Under MLSE’s guidance, the Maple Leafs have seen consistent improvements in their performance metrics, including regular playoff appearances.

    MLSE's wealth stems from a diverse portfolio, including telecommunications (Bell Canada and Rogers Communications), real estate, and sports entertainment. Their success in various sectors underlines the significance of diversified investments. MLSE’s management philosophy focuses on strategic marketing, fan engagement, and sustained investment in competitive rosters. Their passion for creating an unparalleled sports experience aligns perfectly with their business objectives.

    Actionable Insights:

  • Diversify investments to mitigate risks and capitalize on varying market opportunities.
  • Focus on consumer engagement to build a loyal and enduring customer base.
  • In conclusion, the stories behind successful NHL franchises are testament to the powerful combination of strategic decision-making, resilience, and passion. Figures like Mike Ilitch, Vincent Viola, the Molson family, and MLSE aren't just sports enthusiasts but visionary leaders who have parlayed their business acumen into the world of hockey. Their journeys underline that while industries may differ, the principles of building and maintaining wealth remain universal. By integrating these lessons into their own strategies, readers can aim towards achieving enduring success in their wealth-building endeavors, ensuring not just prosperity but a lasting legacy.


    Diverse Journeys: Consider N. Murray Edwards, owner of the Calgary Flames. His wealth stems from energy ventures, marked by strategic diversification and resilience. Reflect on how these principles can aid your financial aspirations. Explore the best stock advisors and stock advisor services to start your journey.

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