Phoenix Coyotes Owner: Phoenix Coyotes, formerly known as the Winnipeg Jets, are a professional ice hockey team currently based in Phoenix, Arizona, and competing in the National Hockey League (NHL). They filed for bankruptcy in 2009 after incurring hundreds of millions of dollars in losses since relocating to Phoenix from their previous home in Winnipeg (Manitoba), where they were known as the Winnipeg Jets. The proposal to sell the club and relocate it to Canada was denied by the bankruptcy court, and the franchise was eventually acquired by the NHL. The NHL ran the Phoenix Coyotes for four seasons while looking for a new owner for the club. The club was eventually sold in the summer of 2013 after many potential buyers were unable to complete the transaction.
The owner of the Arizona Coyotes, Alex Meruelo, came by videoconference to introduce his club’s new president, who was wearing a T-shirt that read: “I sure as SH** want my team to win.” So, you know, he’s got something going for him. While I’m not sure whether or not he’s attempting to be the NHL’s equivalent of Mark Cuban, his actions were definitely noted. You don’t go up to a press conference with 65 journalists wearing a T-shirt like that unless you’re serious about delivering a strong message.
After finalizing the deal with Andrew Barroway, Meruelo officially became the majority owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks this week. Barroway will retain a minority ownership interest in the club.
The son of Cuban immigrants, the 55-year-old Meruelo established the California-based Meruelo Group in 1986 after learning the ropes of the industry while working for his father’s tuxedo manufacturing company. After becoming the first Hispanic majority owner of an NHL club, he will act as the Coyotes’ chairman and governor, among other duties. The majority of Meruelo’s opening comments were delivered in Spanish, and he also responded to one of the reporters who spoke to him in Spanish during his press conference Spanish.
The Coyotes have missed the playoffs in each of the previous seven seasons, but they have a young, skilled team and were just one game away from making the postseason last season.
According to John Chayka, general manager of the Arizona Coyotes, “Alex is clearly distinct, he’s extremely unique.” The chance to collaborate with him is one that comes along just once in a lifetime.” Despite his youth, he has exceptional business acumen, and I have been very pleased with not just his commercial acumen, but also with the manner in which he approaches the process of creating companies. It provides us with the opportunity to take this to the next level.”
In order to turn back a club that has failed to establish a stable footing since the previous owner Jerry Moyes forced the team into bankruptcy in 2009, Meruelo will have a difficult job.
In order to officially announce Xavier (pronounced HAV-yair) Gutierrez as the new CEO and president of the Arizona Coyotes, a press conference was held. We are living in fascinating times, and this news was important for a number of reasons. First, we are living in exciting times.
First and foremost, the obvious. When Gutierrez is appointed to the position, he will become the first Latino president and CEO in the history of the NHL, and together, Meruelo and Gutierrez will represent the two most powerful men in the franchise, both of whom are Latino, which is significant in a market where approximately 40% of the fan base is from Latin America.
Now for something a little less apparent, but no less essential. Ownership and leadership are the two factors that, above all else, define the success of a hockey club. They outweigh all other considerations, including the size of a market and the presence or absence of a traditional hockey fan base in a given area. It is possible to find clubs that have failed in some of the most fertile hockey markets in the world, while others have flourished in cities that have no historical ties to the game.