With Hulsizer, Coyotes appear to be in business
It looks as though Matt Hulsizer, once the captain of the Amherst hockey team, will be the new owner of the Phoenix Coyotes.
“Solid guy,’’ according to one of the game’s highly regarded agents, who is familiar with some of Hulsizer’s business dealings and acquaintances in Chicago. “He knows the game, and that will allow him to understand the big picture as well as the hockey side of the business. Overall, a pretty good day for the NHL.’’
A league official who contacted Hulsizer Friday at the Globe’s request said the 40-year-old hedge fund manager “politely declined’’ to be interviewed for this story. Clearly, Hulsizer is opting for the low-key approach, a prudent play given that his acquisition has yet to be approved by the league’s Board of Governors.
Many club owners are still smarting over Jim Balsillie’s attempt to buy the Coyotes, load them into a van (search: “NFL, Colts’’), and plop them in Hamilton, Ontario, within ticket-selling distance of both the Maple Leafs and Sabres (not something that Staples would offer on its “Easy Button’’ menu).
It has been widely reported that Hulsizer agreed to buy the Coyotes for approximately $170 million, some $30 million more than what the league paid to take possession of the club when ex-owner Jerry Moyes grew tired of burning his cash in the desert sun. The deal is expected to close in late November.
Reports out of Glendale, Ariz., where the Coyotes are currently housed in Jobing.com Arena, have Hulsizer establishing a new lease agreement that will keep the team in the city and in the building.
For a 4-2 win over the Kings in Glendale last Thursday, an announced crowd of a mere 6,706 showed up to see Lee Stempniak’s hat trick. Provided Hulsizer takes ownership, he’ll have to come up with a few tricks of his own to recapture what was initially a strong fan base when the Jets flew out of Winnipeg for the promise of sun, fun, and profits in the Southwest.
Hulsizer, Amherst Class of ’91, was an English major and a 6-foot-2-inch, 205-pound defenseman during his four years with the Lord Jeffs. According to the school’s sports information office, Winnetka, Ill., is his hometown and he attended the Peddie School in Highstown, N.J., prior to college. In 99 games on the Amherst blue line, he collected 23 goals and 57 points. He was team captain when the Lord Jeffs lost the ECAC final in 1991.
Once out of Amherst, he started on the floor of the American Stock Exchange and saw his career take off with O’Connor and Associates, commonly referred to as “the biggest security firm that no one ever heard of.’’
In 1997, he co-founded PEAK6 Investments, a financial company that, according to its website, built its success on “relentless innovation, flawless execution, and fierce entrepreneurialism.’’
We remind everyone that past performance does not guarantee future success. But if Hulsizer brings all of that to the Original 30, just as a tree once grew in Brooklyn, maybe the desert really can have a hockey team.
Proud Michiganders Tim Thomas (2009) and Ryan Miller (2010) captured the Vezina Trophy the past two seasons, the first time in NHL history that Americans won the award back-to-back.
Headed into Friday night’s action, four of the five best goals-against averages in the league belonged to men who were (cue “The Star-Spangled Banner’’ here), yes, US-born and -bred:
1. Thomas, Bruins (Flint, Mich.), 0.75
2. Jonathan Quick, Kings (Milford, Conn.), 1.48
3. Brett Johnson, Penguins (Farmington, Mich.), 1.49
4. Dwayne Roloson, Islanders (Simcoe, Ontario), 1.65
5. Jimmy Howard, Red Wings (Syracuse, N.Y.), 1.69
Oh, and let’s not forget that Johnson was the only one of the bunch who did not play top-flight NCAA hockey here in New England. Thomas spent four years at Vermont. Quick signed with Los Angeles after two years at UMass. Roloson played four years at UMass-Lowell. And Howard, who last year supplanted Chris Osgood as Detroit’s No. 1 stopper, turned pro after three years at Maine. Johnson opted to play for Owen Sound (OHL) instead of going to college.
Meanwhile, the only two Americans among the game’s top goal scorers were the Maple Leafs’ Phil Kessel (Madison, Wis.) with five goals and the Wild’s Matt Cullen (Virginia, Minn.) with three.
Material from interviews, wire services, other beat writers, and league and team sources was used in this report.