Chicago Businessmen And The Future Of The NHL


hockey cheerleader


Within the last couple weeks, wealthy Chicago area businessmen have been connected to different stories regarding potential ownership of an NHL franchise.  Matthew Hulsizer, CEO of Chicago-based Peak6 Investments LP, has been involved in talks about the Phoenix Coyotes for more than a year.  Don Levin, owner of the AHL Chicago Wolves, is possibly developing a NHL caliber arena in a new, untapped professional hockey market.  To find out how all this Chicago money could impact the NHL, continue after the jump.

aykroyd great outdoors

The first story to come out recently was about Matthew Hulsizer and his interest in purchasing the Phoenix Coyotes from the NHL.  For those not completely familiar with the plight of the Coyotes, here’s a quick recap:

The team was losing money in Glendale, had an owner who wanted out, and tried selling by filing for bankruptcy.  The league didn’t approve of the potential owner, Jim Balsille, because he wanted to move the team to Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.  The NHL then stepped in, bought the team, and assumed control of the team and its day to day operations.  They have been trying to sell off to various entities over the last couple years, most notably Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf.

The most recent party the league has been interested in was Matthew Hulsizer.  But just recently, Hulsizer informed the city of Glendale that he would no longer be pursuing purchase of the team.  Many of the sticking points involved the contract the city had regarding the lease arrangement, as well as other money related items.  However, it is said Hulsizer would still like to become an NHL owner at some point, and will possibly pursue purchasing other teams if they are put up for sale.

seattle nhl

In another Chicago and the NHL connection, Chicago Wolves’ owner Dan Levin has reportedly been scouting locations in Bellevue, Washington (a suburb of Seattle), to possibly build a new arena that could house an NHL and/or NBA  franchise, as well as any other large events.

Obviously, Seattle and new arena is not a new story, as that is the reason the Super Sonics moved to Oklahoma City:  lack of a modern, money generating arena.  The problem with getting a new building built, aside from the lack of government money to contribute and residents opposed to taxes, is available land to actually construct the project on, and the astronomical value of the land needed to build.  Levin reportedly was out in the last few days looking at different parcels of land that could potentially be used.

While a team in Seattle is something of a pipe dream right now, with expansion highly unlikely, the potential of a franchise moving to Washington state would be there with a new arena.  It would create a strong rivalry with their neighbor to the north, Vancouver, as well as tap a strong amateur hockey market in America.  Seattle, as well as Portland, both currently have Western Hockey League franchises who year in and year out produce great players and fan support.  Bellevue itself is extremely close to the Microsoft campus, and has been named one of America’s best places to live in recent polls.

hawks cup

While the hockey market in the desert continues to shrivel under the scorching sun, and the potential market in Seattle is explored, the money and the passion clearly shows that few metropolitan areas in America rival Chicago’s love of hockey.

bryan vickroy the sports bank

Bryan Vickroy has an addiction to hockey, and is willing to partake in all its forms.  He is skating extra shifts for The Sports Bank, covering the Minnesota Wild, the NHL, and NCAA hockey all year long.  Look for new articles throughout the week.  He can be followed on Twitter at @bryanvickroy.  If you’d prefer to speak in more than 140 characters at a time to him, he can be reached at .


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