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Where Did the NHL Owners Make Their Money? | TraderHQ

- Mike Deane

It takes a lot of money to own and run a professional sports team, and franchises in the National Hockey League are no exception. With average salaries around $2.4 million, and expensive administration and stadium fees, you have to have a fair amount of money to be able to buy one of these franchises, and you need the proper income streams to keep them afloat (just check out the Phoenix Coyotes’ woes a few years ago for proof). Though it’s been well documented how other professional sports teams owners made their money, no one has looked into the money behind the NHL. Below, we look at every NHL owner, the details of their team ownership, and detail how they made their billions.

Anaheim Ducks

Owner: Henry Samueli, Chairman of Broadcom. Listed at #926 on Forbes list of billionaires.

Since: 2005

Team Value (Forbes): $300 million – #21 of 30

Team performance during owner’s tenure: 6 playoff appearances

Where the money came from: Henry Samueli is the co-founder, Chairman, and chief technology officer of Broadcom (BRCM), a semiconductor firm founded in 1991. Broadcom has a market cap of $17.83 billion and currently has a dividend yield of 1.5%.

Boston Bruins

Owner: Jeremy Jacobs, CEO and Chairman of Delaware North Companies. Mr. Jacobs is listed at #566 on Forbes list of billionaires.
Since: 1975

Team value (Forbes): $600 million – #6 of 30

Team performance during owner’s tenure: 20 playoff appearances, 1 Stanley Cup

Where the money came from: Jeremy Jacobs is the CEO of Jacobs family-owned Delaware North Companies, a global foodservice and hospitality company. Delaware North generated $2.6 billion in revenue in 2013, providing food service to multiple stadiums and airports, and operating gaming operations in multiple states.

Buffalo Sabres

Owner: Terrence Pegula; #499 on Forbes list of billionaires

Since: 2011

Team value (Forbes): $250 million – #22 of 30
Team performance during owner’s tenure: 0 playoff appearances

Where the money came from: Terry Pegula founded East Resources, a natural gas exploration and development company in 1983 and then sold to Royal Dutch Shell for almost $5 billion in 2010. He’s also involved in real estate investment and development.

Calgary Flames

Owner: N. Murray Edwards; #861 on Forbes list of billionaires

Since: 1980

Team value (Forbes): $420 million – #11 of 30

Team performance during owner’s tenure: 20 playoff appearances, 1 Stanley Cup

Where the money came from: N. Murray Edwards’ wealth comes from the energy sector. Mr. Edwards owns sizable stakes in oil sands company Canadian Natural Resources, oil services company Ensign Energy, and the Penn West energy trust.

Carolina Hurricanes

Owner: Peter Karmanos, Jr.

Since: 1994

Team value (Forbes): $187 million – #27 of 30

Team performance during owner’s tenure: 5 playoff appearances, 1 Stanley Cup

Where the money came from: Peter Karmanos, Jr. co-founded the software company Compuware (CPWR). Karmanos also owns the Plymouth Whalers and the Florida Everblades. Compuware has a market cap of $2.5 billion and a dividend yield of 4.8%.

Chicago Blackhawks

Owner: Wirtz Corporation; Chairman Rocky Wirtz
Since: 1954

Team value: $625 million – #5 of 30

Team performance during owner’s tenure: 43 playoff appearances, 3 Stanley Cups

Where the money came from: The Wirtz Corporation has substantial commercial and residential real estate holdings and owns the Wirtz Beverage Group, a distributor of alcoholic beverages in Illinois with estimated sales of $2 billion.

Colorado Avalanche

Owner: Stan Kroenke; #261 on Forbes list of billionaires

Since: 2000

Team value (Forbes): $337 million – #17 of 30

Team performance during owner’s tenure: 7 playoff appearances, 1 Stanley Cup

Where the money came from: Stan Kroenke founded the Kroenke Group, a real estate development company with a focus on shopping centers and apartment buildings. His wife, Ann Walton Kroenke, is an heir (niece) to Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart. Kroenke also owns the NFL’s St. Louis Rams, the NBA’s Denver Nuggets, the majority of the Arsenal Football Club, and the Altitude Sports and Entertainment regional TV network.

Columbus Blue Jackets

Owner: John P. McConnell

Since: 2000

Team value (Forbes): $175 million – #30 of 30

Team performance during owner’s tenure: 1 playoff appearance

Where the money came from: John P. McConnell joined metal processing company Worthington Industries in 1975 and worked up to the position of CEO (since 1993). According to Forbes, McConnell was paid around $4.6 million in total compensation in 2013.

Dallas Stars

Owner: Tom Gaglardi

Since: 2011

Team Value (Forbes): $333 million – #18 of 30

Team performance during owner’s tenure: 0 playoff appearances

Where the money came from: Tom Gaglardi is the president of Northland Properties Corporation, a hotel and restaurant operator in Canada with $600 million in revenue, which was founded by his father. Gaglardi acquired the Dallas Stars out of bankruptcy for $240 million.

Detroit Red Wings

Owner: Mike Illitch; #443 on Forbes list of billionaires

Since: 1982

Team value (Forbes): $470 million – #9 of 30

Team performance during owner’s tenure: 27 playoff appearances, 4 Stanley Cups

Where the money came from: Mike Illitch played minor-league professional baseball before starting Little Caesars, a national pizza restaurant chain, in 1959. Illitch Holdings now includes the Red Wings, MLB’s Detroit Tigers, and foodservice operations.

Edmonton Oilers

Owner: Daryl Katz, Chairman of Katz Group. #495 on Forbes list of billionaires

Since: 2008

Team value (Forbes): $400 million – #14 of 30

Team performance during owner’s tenure: 0 playoff appearances

Where the money came from: Daryl Katz is the chairman and CEO of Katz Group of Companies, a holding company that acquired drug stores across Canada and established the largest drug store operation in Canada. Katz Group sold Medicine Shoppe pharmacy business and drug trading unit to McKesson in 2012 for $1 billion. The company still owns 450 Rexall-brand pharmacies in Canada.

Florida Panthers

Owner: Vincent Viola

Since: 2013

Team value (Forbes): $240 million – #23 of 30
Team performance during owner’s tenure: 0 playoff appearances

Where the money came from: Vincent Viola is the former Chairman of the New York Mercantile Exchange, Mr. Viola founded Virtu Financial, one of the largest electronic trading and market-making firms. Based upon recent speculation regarding the IPO of Virtu, Mr. Viola’s 65% stake could be valued at $2 billion or more.

Los Angeles Kings

Owners: Phillip Anschutz and Edward P. Roski; Mr. Anschutz owns Anschutz Entertainment Group and is #123 on Forbes list of billionaires. Mr Roski is President and Chairman of Majestic Realty Company and #494 on Forbes list of billionaires.

Since: 1995

Team value (Forbes): $450 million – #10 of 30

Team performance during owners’ tenure: 8 playoff appearances, 1 Stanley Cup

Where the money came from: Phillip Anschutz has multiple business ventures, including substantial ventures in land, oil, railroads (prior to the merger of Union Pacific of Southern Pacific in 1996), real estate, and sports/entertainment. He also owns the Anschutz Entertainment Group, which owns multiple entertainment venues and sports teams.

Edward P. Roski runs Majestic Reality, a commercial and industrial real estate company founded by his father; the company owns more than 70 million square feet of real estate, principally in Southern California.

Minnesota Wild

Owner: Craig Leipold

Since: 2008

Team value (Forbes): $330 million – #19 of 30

Team performance during owner’s tenure: 1 playoff appearance

Where the money came from: Craig Leipold founded Ameritel, a business-to-business telemarketing company. The Wild is not Leipold’s first NHL venture, as he previously owned the NHL’s Nashville Predators. He is married to Helen Johnson-Leipold, great-great-granddaughter to the founder of SC Johnson household products company, and #528 on Forbes list of billionaires.

Montreal Canadiens

Owner: Molson family (CEO and President – Geoff Molson)

Since: 2009

Team value (Forbes): $775 million – #3 of 30

Team performance during owner’s tenure: 3 playoff appearances

Where the money came from: The Molson family are descendants of the founder of Molson Brewery; the Molson family is collectively listed as the 94th-wealthiest Canadians.

Nashville Predators

Owner: Thomas Cigarran

Since: 2007

Team value (Forbes): $205 million – #24 of 30

Team performance: 4 playoff appearances

Where the money came from: Thomas Cigarran co-founded Healthways, a healthcare services firm, and served as the company’s CEO from 1989 until 2003. Cigarran resigned from the company’s board of directors in February 2014.

New Jersey Devils

Owner: Joshua Harris; #593 on Forbes list of billionaires

Since: 2013

Team value (Forbes): $320 million – #20 of 30

Team performance: 0 playoff appearances

Where the money came from: After a career at Drexel Burnham, Joshua Harris co-founded Apollo Capital Management, a leading private equity group, in 1990. Harris is also the principal owner of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers.

New York Islanders

Owner: Charles Wang

Since: 2000

Team value (Forbes): $195 million – #26 of 30

Team performance during owner’s tenure: 5 playoff appearances

Where the money came from: Charles Wang is the co-founder of Computer Associates International (now known as CA Technologies). Born in Shanghai, Wang’s family moved to Queens, NY, when he was eight, and he attended Queens college and Columbia University before starting Computer Associates International in 1976. Wang quit as CEO of the company in 2000, and resigned as chairman of the board in 2002.

New York Rangers

Owner: Madison Square Garden Company (Chairman – James L. Dolan)

Since: 1997

Team value (Forbes): $850 million – #2 of 30

Team performance during owner’s tenure: 7 playoff appearances

Where the money came from: James L. Dolan is the CEO and president of Cablevision Systems, and is the executive chairman of Madison Square Garden Company, a holding company for the NBA’s New York Knicks, the New York Rangers, Madison Square Garden, and the MSG Network.

Ottawa Senators

Owner: Eugene Melnyk

Since: 2003

Team value (Forbes): $380 million – #15 of 30

Team performance during owner’s tenure: 7 playoff appearances

Where the money came from: Eugene Melnyk founded pharmaceuticals company Biovail, which was acquired by Valeant for over $3 billion in 2010. He also founded Trimel Pharmaceuticals in 2008.

Philadelphia Flyers

Owner: Comcast Spectator (Chairman – Ed Snider)

Since: 1967

Team value (Forbes): $500 million – #7 of 30

Team performance during owner’s tenure: 36 playoff appearances, 2 Stanley Cups

Where the money came from: Comcast Spectator is 37% owned by Ed Snider and 63% owned by Comcast. It is a sports and entertainment company that owns the Philadelphia Flyers and the Wells Fargo Center. The company previously owned Comcast SportsNet.

Phoenix Coyotes

Owner: George Gosbee

Since: 2013

Team value (Forbes): $200 million – #25 of 30

Team performance during owner’s tenure: 0 playoff appearances

Where the money came from: George Gosbee is the chairman and president of AltaCorp Capital, Inc, an investment and advisory services company based in Calgary, Alberta. Gosbee bought the struggling NHL franchise in 2013, saving the team from a possible move to a different city.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Owners: Ronald Burkle (#649 on Forbes list of billionaires) and Mario Lemieux

Since: 1999

Team value (Forbes): $480 million – #8 of 30

Team performance during owners’ tenure: 9 playoff appearances, 1 Stanley Cup

Where the money came from: Ronald Burkle founded Yucaipa Companies, a private equity firm that has made numerous investments in food logistics and retail, including the purchase and sale of Fred Meyer and Ralphs.

Mr. Lemieux is a former Pittsburgh Penguins player and a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. He acquired majority ownership of the team by virtue of the team owing him over $32 million in deferred salary at the time of its bankruptcy in 1998.

San Jose Sharks

Owner: San Jose Sports & Entertainment Enterprises

Since: 2002

Team value (Forbes): $405 million – #13 of 30

Team performance during owner’s tenure: 9 playoff appearances

Where the money came from: SJSEE was formed when George Gund III wished to sell the San Jose Sharks and other related assets. One of the principal owners of SJSEE, Hasso Plattner, is the co-founder of software firm SAP AG and is #142 on the Forbes list of billionaires.

St. Louis Blues

Owner: Tom Stillman

Since: 2012

Team value (Forbes): $185 million – #28 of 30

Team performance during owner’s tenure: 1 playoff appearance

Where the money came from: Tom Stillman is the chairman and CEO of Summit Distributing, a St. Louis-based beer distributor. Stillman entered the beer distribution business in 1994, and worked as a lawyer prior to his acquisition of St. Louis beer wholesaler.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Owner: Jeffrey Vinik

Since: 2010

Team value (Forbes): $180 million – #29 of 30

Team performance during owner’s tenure: 1 playoff appearance

Where the money came from: Jeffrey Vinik used to manage the Fidelity Magellan Fund before starting Vinik Asset Management (a hedge fund). A Harvard Business school alumni, Vinik is also a partial owner of the Boston Red Sox, and owns AFL team the Tampa Bay Storm.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Owner: Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment

Since: 1931

Team value (Forbes): $1,150 million – #1 of 30

Team performance during owner’s tenure: 59 playoff appearances, 11 Stanley Cups

Where the money came from: Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment is a sports and property management company owned by Rogers Communications, BCE, and Kilmer Sports. The entertainment group Owns the Toronto Maple Leafs, the NBA’s Toronto Raptors, MLS’s Toronto FC, and AHL’s Toronto Marlies, as well as the Air Canada Centre and Maple Leaf Square.

Vancouver Canucks

Owner: Francesco Aquilini

Since: 2004

Team value (Forbes): $700 million – #4 of 30

Team performance during owner’s tenure: 6 playoff appearances

Where the money came from: Franceso Aquilini is the managing director of Aquilini Investment Group, a private business founded by his father. Aquilini Investment Group is primarily involved in real estate (commercial, multi-family, offices, and hospitality) and agriculture (positioned to become a leading producer of blueberries and cranberries).

Washington Capitals

Owner: Monumental Sports & Entertainment (Founder, chairman and CEO: Ted Leonsis)

Since: 1999

Team value (Forbes): $414 million – #12 of 30

Team performance during owner’s tenure: 9 playoff appearances

Where the money came from: Ted Leonsis founded Redgate Communications and stayed with AOL after AOL acquired Redgate in 1994. Leonsis is also the majority owner of the NBA team the Washington Wizards, the WNBA team the Washington Mystics, and the Verizon Center. Leonsis also started Revolution Fund Growth and SnagFilms.

Winnipeg Jets

Owner: Mark Chipman

Since: 2011

Team value (Forbes): $340 million – #16 of 30

Team performance during owner’s tenure: 0 playoff appearances

Where the money came from: Mark Chipman is the executive chairman of True North Sports & Entertainment, and the president of Megill-Stephenson. Megill-Stephenson is the holding company for the Chipman family’s business interests, including True North Sports & Entertainment and Birchwood Automotive Group, the largest auto dealership in Manitoba.

The Bottom Line

Like other professional sports franchises, the owners of NHL teams are made up of a mix of finance and industry moguls, wealthy families and successful organizations. The costs to run a professional sports franchise are immense, considering the facilities, marketing, administration, and players’ salaries, and it takes a lot of resources and wealth to make it happen.

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