Matthew Hulsizer met with the NHL’s Board of Governors for more than an hour on Monday and is confident that he’ll have a deal done to buy the Phoenix Coyotes by the end of the year.The Board declared its unanimous approval of Hulsizer following the meeting.
So how did this 40-year-old fund manager end up in a position to buy a professional hockey team?
Hulsizer grew up in New Jersey and calls himself a hockey fan, player, and coach. He actually played hockey at Division III Amherst College and is currently a registered USA Hockey coach in Winnetka, Illinois.
Hulsizer is currently the co-founder and CEO of Peak6 Investment, a private money management firm. He previously worked as a director and risk manager for Swiss Bank, a global financial-services corporation and as a senior trader for O’Connor & Associate, a proprietary derivatives trading firm.
O’Connor & Associates had a reputation as “the biggest securities firm no one had ever heard of” and was notorious for extreme privacy. The Chicago Tribune reports that the firm was so secretive that it destroyed the boxes its computers arrived in so competitors wouldn’t know what technology the firm was using.
The NHL has owned the Coyotes since bailing them out of bankruptcy over a year ago, but Hulsizer believes he will be able to pay most of the $160 million asking price on his own. The league wanted someone who would commit to keeping the team in Arizona, and he seems willing to oblige.
The first obstacle for Hulsizer will be to secure a new lease for the Coyotes’ home, Jobing.com Arena by Glendale’s city council meeting on December 14.
Hulsizer was candid in talking about how long it will take to win back the fans around Phoenix:
“I think they haven’t had a great product and I think we can turn it around. I think we are going to have to earn the fans back. I don’t think it is something that people are immediately going to give us credit and say, ‘Oh, by the way there is a new owner.’ I’d love for that to be the case, but I don’t think that will be the case. We are going to have to earn back their faith and show that by putting out a good product.”
Hulsizer indicated that he would be hands off owner and allow the Coyotes’ current leadership to remain in place.
He has no apparent connection to Phoenix, but seems to merely be a hockey fan with a lot of money and an eye for opportunity. So as far as the NHL is concerned, he’s perfect.
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