Pharmacy tycoon Daryl Katz completed a deal this week that will see him take control of the Edmonton Oilers, pending league approval. Here’s a quick look at the owners of the other five Canadian NHL teams:
Owners: Murray Edwards (chairman), Harley Hotchkiss (governor), Alvin G. Libin, Allan P. Markin, Jeff McCaig, Clayton B. Riddell, Byron J. Seaman, Daryl K. (Doc) Seaman.
Background: The current ownership group has been together for the past seven years, although Hotchkiss and Doc and B.J. Seaman were part of the original group that purchased the team and moved it from Atlanta in 1980. Hotchkiss is the face of the ownership group and was a long-time chairman of the NHL’s Board of Governors.
Owner: George Gillett Jr.
Background: Gillett became the first American owner of the storied franchise after purchasing it and the Bell Centre from the Molson family. He’s also a part owner of the Gillett Evernham Motorsports NASCAR team and holds a 50 per cent stake in England’s Liverpool soccer team.
He first got involved in pro sports as a minority partner in the NFL’s Miami Dolphins in the 1960s and is a past owner and CEO of the Harlem Globetrotters. Gillett has also owned ski resorts and various different food and media companies.
Owner: Eugene Melnyk.
Purchased: Aug. 26, 2003.
Background: Melnyk purchased the Senators and Scotiabank Place out of bankruptcy after it had been owned by Rod Bryden.
He is the founder of Biovail – a specialty pharmaceutical company – in 1989 and saw its revenue grow from $19 million in 1995 to more than $1.06 billion in 2006. He also owns the OHL’s Mississauga-St. Michael’s Majors and more than 500 thoroughbreds.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Owner: Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment.
Background: The company has roots all the way back to 1927 when Conn Smythe first purchased the NHL team but its current ownership group has been in place since 2003.
The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan controls a majority stake (58 per cent) in the company, which is also owned by CTV Globemedia (15 per cent), TD Bank (14 per cent) and Larry Tanenbaum’s Kilmer Sports Inc. (13 per cent).
In addition to owning the Leafs and Air Canada Centre, MLSE runs the NBA’s Toronto Raptors, AHL’s Toronto Marlies, Toronto FC soccer team and two TV channels. The company is also involved in real estate and property management.
Owner: Aquilini Investment Group
Purchased: Nov. 17, 2004.
Background: The Aquilini Investment Group, headed by Francesco Aquilini, purchased 50 per cent of the Canucks and GM Place from John McCaw in November 2004 before acquiring the other half from the Seattle businessman two years later.
The original sale was challenged legally by Tom Gaglardi and Ryan Beedie – former business partners of Aquilini – but the B.C. Supreme Court upheld the sale in a ruling last month. Gaglardi and Beedie have since filed an appeal.
The Aqulini Investment Group is a 50-year-old company with interests in real estate and agriculture.