This past week, the Arizona Coyotes made some adjustments to their front office. On Monday, June 12, 2017, majority owner Anthony Barroway bought out the minority owners of the franchise including Anthony Leblanc, the CEO of the franchise and President of Hockey Operations Gary Drummond (Coyotes Announce Changes to Front Office). Barroway’s decision to buy out the minority owners makes him the sole owner of the Coyotes, yet it leaves the team to find a new CEO following Leblanc being bought out. Some other moves made within the organization include making General Manager John Chayka and making COO/General Counsel Ahron Cohen as Alternate Governors (Coyotes Announce Changes to Front Office). Finally, Barroway’s buyout decision also makes it imperative for the Coyotes to identify a new venue to play home games in following the conclusion of the 2017-2018 NHL season. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman recently pronounced sentiments that the team cannot and will not be playing their home games in Glendale’s Gila River Arena.
The Coyotes, having been formerly located in Winnipeg, Manitoba and playing as the Winnipeg Jets, relocated to the Arizona desert on July 1, 1996, just prior to the inception of the 1996-1997 season. Businessmen Richard Burke and Steven Gluckstern completed the transaction of purchasing the Winnipeg Jets for $68 million (HOCKEY; $68 Million Buys N.H.L.’s Jets). The Phoenix Coyotes flourished in their initial years in the NHL playing their games at America West Arena. In late 1997, Coyotes co-owner Steven Gluckstern made an offer to buy the NHL’s New York Islanders with a group of prominent real estate investors. The following year, Gluckstern sold his 50 percent share of the Coyotes to Burke and became a co-owner of the New York Islanders.
Four years after Steven Gluckstern’s decision to join as a partner of the New York Islanders, Richard Burke sold the Phoenix Coyotes to a local real estate developer named Steve Ellman and partners Wayne “The Great One” Gretzky as well as Jerry Moyes for $90 million (Gretzky era finally starts for Phoenix). Ellman began to develop plans for a new arena that move the Coyotes out of America West Arena in downtown Phoenix; a decision that led to the franchise moving into the Coyotes’ current home venue of Gila River Arena once known as Jobing.com Arena.
Steve Ellman sold his ownership share of the Phoenix Coyotes in 2006 to business partner Jerry Moyes. During Moyes’ time as the owner of the franchise, the team endured significant financial problems. The Coyotes were eventually sold to the National Hockey League in 2009 due to several incurred expenses rather than being relocated to Hamilton, Ontario (Bankrupt Phoenix Coyotes Sold to NHL). The NHL-owned the franchise from 2009-2013 when the team was purchased by IceArizona and the team transferred from Phoenix Coyotes to Arizona Coyotes while still playing their home games at Gila River Arena.
With the Coyotes’ recent office adjustments, what do you make of Barroway’s decision? Is the buyout the best move for the Coyotes moving on?