It used to be the biggest joke in the National Hockey League. The Phoenix Coyotes were seemingly perpetually for sale after the league stepped in to save the team from bankruptcy in 2009. For four years the league ran the team, all the while trying to sell them. There were suitors, but any time a potential owner came forward, unfortunate circumstances–usually involving the city council of Glendale, Arizona, where the Coyotes play–would interfere and the cycle would repeat. Then, finally in 2013, a group of interested buyers called Renaissance Sports and Entertainment came in and saved the team from the NHL, and from the politicians in Glendale. Finally, the long nightmare was over.
Last season, the Coyotes took to the ice with an actual ownership in place for the first time in four seasons. The new owners, who called themselves IceArizona, petitioned to change the name to the Arizona Coyotes to distance themselves from “Phoenix” team name. Things were on the up and up. And then the bill came. According to a story from Yahoo! Sports, the new owners reportedly lost well over $20 million in their first year, and the team was quietly shopped around again, looking for additional investors or buyers to help offset the losses–on the books, not the ice. And now, just as quietly, a new majority ownership has bought in–pending approval from the NHL Board of Governors.
The new majority owner is Andrew Barroway, a hedge fund manager at Merion Investment Management LP, and Barroway will assume 51 percent of the team from IceArizona and take a seat as Coyotes Chairman and Governor, as reported by NHL.com. Barroway is excited about his new purchase, especially after being rebuked in previous attempts to buy an NHL franchise, as reported by NBC Sports.
“This is truly a dream come true for me and my family. I am extraordinarily grateful for the opportunity of a lifetime and look forward to working and solidifying a strong partnership with the Club’s current ownership group.
“As a group we are committed to serving our fans with a new level of excellence and our collective goal is to put a competitive team on the ice every season and, one day, win the Stanley Cup.”
While the fast resolution to the sale is expected as to not disrupt the new NHL season, as previewed by The Inquisitr, that got underway earlier this week, there are still many questions that remain. With a new hockey arena being built in Las Vegas and the city of Seattle actively looking to land an NHL team, whether through expansion or by courting an existing franchise, especially one that has a history of ownership issues, adds some uncertainty.
For now, the Arizona Coyotes have new owners–again–and for now, they have a future in the desert. For how long is uncertain.