Five of the more interesting NHL owners
In the latest edition of NHL 100, we look at five of the more interesting owners — past and present — in league history:
Unique, flamboyant, feisty, vulgar, colourful: all terms that could be used to describe the former owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Ballard, who often took in games at Maple Leaf Gardens from a bunker near the end boards, first became part-owner of the team in 1962. The team enjoyed success over the next few years but Ballard’s tenure as sole owner was marked by mediocre results and plenty of grandstanding and infighting off the ice. “When I get my hockey team or my arena on the front page I’m just doing my job,” he once said.
Ballard died in 1990 at age 86.
Leonsis has built quite a resume since graduating from Georgetown University in 1977. He’s the founder, chair, owner and CEO of the company that owns and operates the Washington Capitals and several other pro teams in the U.S. capital.
Leonsis, who spent 14 years as an executive at AOL, is also an Emmy Award-winning film producer, philanthropist and author.
Dolan is a rather polarizing figure in New York as owner of the Rangers and the NBA’s Knicks. He’s not afraid to spend exorbitant sums on player salaries but many fans are quick to criticize the logic behind some of the moves.
The free-spending pattern has not paid off. The Rangers haven’t won the Stanley Cup since 1994 while the Knicks have made it past the first round just once since 2000.
Katz is working to revitalize Edmonton’s downtown, and he’s off to a good start with a stunning 18,550seat arena that opened last year. With superstar Connor McDavid providing the anchor, Katz’s hockey team is back on the right track after a decade-long playoff drought.
Katz, who keeps a very low profile, made a fortune in the pharmacy business and became owner of the Oilers in 2008.
Wang raised eyebrows during his 16-year run as owner of the New York Islanders. Chief among his unusual moves was promoting Garth Snow from backup goaltender to GM in 2006, and signing off on netminder Rick DiPietro’s 15-year contract later that year.
The team won just one playoff series during Wang’s tenure. Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin took over as majority owners last summer. Wang retained a minority stake.