NHL Teams

Phoenix Coyotes Ownership Percentage and History

By Dipak BK / 7 November 2023 07:16 AM

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Phoenix Coyotes is under the ownership of Alex Meruelo who became the majority owner of the franchise in 2019. He has 95% shares of the franchise.

Billionaire Alex Meruelo purchased the franchise from Andrew Barroway who was the sole owner of the franchise and retained a 5 % stake.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced on March 2023 that Meruelo would be the sole owner and Barroway was being banned indefinitely from the NHL. 

Phoenix Coyotes began in 1972 as the Winnipeg Jets in the World Hockey Association.

They joined the NHL as part of a merger in 1979 after the WHA folded and operated as the Winnipeg Jets before their move to Phoenix, Arizona to become the Arizona Coyotes in 1996. 

Jerry Colangelo, the former owner of the Phoenix Suns of the NBA was a crucial aspect of the team's move from Winnipeg to become the Phoenix Coyotes.

He worked with Phoenix local businessmen Steven Gluckstern, Richard Burke, and Howard Millstein to execute the move successfully.

Who Owns The Phoenix Coyotes?

Alex Meruelo owns the Phoenix Coyotes after purchasing the 95% stakes to become the sole owner of the franchise in 2019. 

Meruelo is a Cuban-American businessman and billionaire who owns the Sahara Las Vegas, Fuji Food, Grand Sierra Resort, and several television and radio stations. Additionally, he owns Colom Island, which is a small 143-acre island located in the Mediterranean Sea.

The transfer of ownership to Meruelo from the then-sole owner, Andrew Barroway of the Coyotes, was approved unanimously by the NHL's Board of Governors in 2019. Barroway Retained a minority stake in the team after the sales. 

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The 59-year-old became a millionaire in his early 20s after selling a plot of land to Walmart. His family had moved from NY to California, where he attended college and got his start in the business world.

At 23, Meruelo purchased a failing local pizza restaurant and in 5 years, turned it into a franchise named "La Pizza Loca" with 12 locations and $10 million in sales. From there on he started to expand the scope of his business, founding the Meurelo Group.

The Meurelo Group, a construction and real estate development firm, has owned Commercial Bank of California, several Radio Stations, two television stations, resorts and casinos in Las Vegas, and Fuji Food.

Meruelo is looking to buy out Barroway's 5% stake to become the sole owner of the team. Barroway was indefinitely banned from the NHL by Commissioner Gary Bettman on March 27, 2023, after he was arrested on domestic violence charges four days earlier. 

Phoenix Coyotes Past Owners

Phoenix Coyotes' past owners are Andrew Barroway, George Gosbee, The NHL, Jerry Moyes, Steve Ellman, Wayne Gretzky, Richard Burke, and more.

The Coyotes' history begins in 1971 as one of the founding franchises of the World Hockey Association under the ownership of original owner Ben Hatskin. The WHA was folded in 1979 and the NHL absorbed the Jets beginning play in 1979/80. 

The ownership of the franchise changed hands for the first time in its history when Barry Shenkarow purchased the franchise in 1981. He retained ownership of the franchise that was still known as the Jets at the time until 1995. 

Shenkanrow was faced with losses and sold the team to Phoenix Businessmen Steven Gluckstein and Richard Burke. Glukstein and Burke reached an agreement with Jerry Colangelo, the former Phoenix Suns owner to move the team to Phoenix, Arizona. 

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Burke bought out Gluckstein in 1998 and 2001 sold the team to Steve Ellman with Wayne Gretzky as the part-owner and head of Hocker Operations. Ellman sold the franchise along with Arizona Sting of the National Lacrosse League to Jerry Moyes.

After the sales by Ellman, Gretzky retained his role as part-owner and head of hockey operations with the team. Moyes, who had to deal with the massive losses in the franchise that dated back to its Jets era sold the the team to the NHL for $140 million after some complications. 

Here is a look at the ownership history of the franchise since its inception:

  • Ben Hatskin | Winnipeg Jets Era (1972-1979) & 1980 in the NHL Era
  • Barry Shenkarow | 1981 - 1995
  • Steven Gluckstern, Richard Burke & Howard Millstein | 1996
  • Steven Gluckstern & Howard Millstein | 1997 - 1999
  • Steve Ellman & Wayne Gretzky | 2000 - 2005
  • Jerry Moyes | 2006 - 2009
  • NHL | 2010 - 2013 
  • George Gosbee | 2014
  • George Gosbee & Andrew Barroway |  2015 - 2017
  • Andrew Barroway | 2018 - 2019
  • Alex Merulo | 2019 - present

Arizona Coyotes Name Change Background

Arizona Coyotes name change was done to include hockey fans in all of Arizona state as the team was no longer located within Phoenix city limits.

The team name changed to Arizona Coyotes on June 27, 2014, was the second time the franchise had changed names since their inception in 1972.

The Coyotes began playing in 1972 as the Winnipeg Jets in the WHA and retained the branding even through their absorption into the NHL until 1996. In 1996 the team was purchased by Steve Gluckstein and Richard Burke and had decided to move the franchise from Winnipeg. 

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Gluckstein and Burke worked with Jerry Colanger to move the franchise to Phoenix on July 1, 1996. They held a name-the-team contest to rename the franchise after considering the following names for the franchise.

  • Mustangs
  • Outlaws
  • Wranglers
  • Freeze

The name-the-team contest was ultimately won by the Phoenix Coyotes and in second place was the Scorpions. Just a few more votes and the team would have been named the Phoenix Scorpions. 

The team's second name change came after the Renaissance Sports and Entertainment Group purchased the franchise for $255 million in 2013. The group announced the change of the name to "Arizona Coyotes" on January 29, 2014. 

Where Are The Arizona Coyotes Moving To?

The Arizona Coyotes' plans of moving to a new arena in Tempe were voted down by residents. They currently play at the Mullet Arena, which may change next season.

The Arizona Coyotes have found a temporary home in the Mullet Arena and plan to stay there for at least a season, which could change depending on circumstances.

They moved to the 5000-seater Mullet Arena in the 2022/23 season after they were evicted from their previous arena in Glendale. 

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Bettman made an appearance on "The Pat McAfee Show," where he mentioned the need for a new arena for the Coyotes, saying, "The point is, the current owner, Alex Meruelo, is committed to getting what he needs to be done to get a new arena. 

And we hope that sometime this season, we're in a position to announce that there will be a new arena for the Coyotes coming out of the ground. That's the goal,"

Looking back at the history of the Coyotes and their track record as the oldest team in the NHL to never play in the Stanley Cup Finals even once one might wonder if they are cursed. Here is a brief look at the Coyotes' relocation history.

  • 1996 - The Winnipeg Jets move to Phoenix, Arizona to become the Phoenix Coyotes
  • 2003 - They relocate to the Gila River Arena in Glendale now known as the Desert Diamond Arena 
  • 2013 - Glendale signs a 15-year lease to support new ownership of the Renaissance Sports and Entertainment Group after the NHL's threat to relocate the team to Winnipeg.
  • 2015 - Glendale voids the lease citing an alleged "violation of conflict of interest laws" as the reason. 
  • 2016 - Coyotes announce plans to move to Arizona State University in Tempe but the deal falls through.
  • 2021 - Coyotes were almost locked out of their home because of outstanding taxes. They paid $1.4 million to the county but still owed the Arena management
  • February 2021- They signed a three-year deal to move the 5000-seater college arena in Tempe.

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