28 November 2012

Board of the Lockout: Part One (?)

Much of the frustration of fans and players during the ongoing NHL work stoppage / owners' lockout / "lack of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement" has been that while players have been entirely free to express their opinions and put their names to in-no-way-at-all-coordinated social media commentary on their league adversaries, the NHL's gag order on team executives leaves everyone in the dark about whether there is a split among owners or what Lou Lamoriello would put on his Instagram account.

As the NHL Board of Governors prepares to meet next week in order to decide exactly what to select next from their vast menu of P.R. screw ups, little is known about many of the diverse individuals rich, old white men that sit on the Board.

Here is a brief snippet of information on some of these people, resulting from several months of investigative journalism (bolstered by 10-15 minutes skimming Wikipedia and bios on team websites):

Boston Bruins: Jeremy M. Jacobs
Serving on the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board and described as "a leading advocate for tourism in the United States", Mr. Jacobs has been credited with the recent upsurge in visitors to destinations such as Providence, RI, Peoria, IL and Oklahoma City.

Carolina Hurricanes: Peter Karmanos Jr.
69 years old and of Greek descent, Mr. Karmanos is viewed with some suspicion by his fellow Governors, who only know him as “that Chelios guy”.

Chicago Blackhawks: W. Rockwell "Rocky" Wirtz
Mr. Wirtz managed the Judge & Dolph Ltd liquor distributorship until October 2007, opting to step down thanks to the kindly suggestion of newly-drafted Patrick Kane that he could “handle it from here”.

Colorado Avalanche: Josh Kroenke
Although Mr. Kroenke’s father, Stan, is the owner of Kroenke Sports Enterprises, which includes the Avalanche as well as several other sports franchises, the Avalanche are in the name of Josh, to satisfy NFL ownership restrictions that forbid a team owner being dumb enough to also be an NHL owner.

Columbus Blue Jackets: John P. McConnell
Mr. McConnell is CEO of Worthington Industries, a company whose philosophy is "an unwavering commitment to the customer, and one of the strongest employee/employer partnerships in American industry" and majority owner of the Blue Jackets, whose philosophy isn't.

Detroit Red Wings: Mike Ilitch
Despite having little or no direct involvement in the team’s achievements, each of Mr. Ilitch’s seven children has his or her name engraved on the Stanley Cup, barely leaving any room for Chris Osgood’s name.

Edmonton Oilers: Daryl Katz
After the empty threat to move his team and the stockpiling of successive lottery pick impact forwards, Mr. Katz is believed to be considering whether his next step is to add 1,723 NHL points to his resume or to just let Nail Yakupov live in his basement.

New York Islanders: Charles B. Wang
In his business career, Mr. Wang was involved in many acquisitions said to involve “the immediate termination of top management and key employees”, two things which he hasn’t had to worry about in his hockey ownership career for some reason.

New York Rangers: James L. Dolan
Universally popular with Rangers fans, Mr. Dolan has earned lavish praise for his personnel decisions, such as not hiring Isiah Thomas as Rangers G.M. and not hiring Isiah Thomas as Rangers coach.

Philadelphia Flyers: Ed Snider
Thanks to Mr. Snider’s vision of "Take what you do well and grow it”, the local economy continues to experience double-digit annual growth in the Horrific Goaltending and Hypocritical Long-Term Contract sectors.

Phoenix Coyotes: Nathaniel H. League
A reclusive owner, who hasn’t been seen in public since June 2012.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Larry Tanenbaum
Mr. Tanenbaum also serves as a Governor for the NBA's Toronto Raptors and MLS team, Toronto FC, thus gaining valuable insight from almost trebling his exposure to executives of sports teams more successful than his.

Vancouver Canucks: Francesco Aquilini
Mr. Aquilini is described as “both a starter and closer”, making the number of Italian-Canadian starters associated with the Canucks two / one. [Delete as appropriate depending on whether you are reading before or after one minute past the end of the lockout]

Washington Capitals: Ted Leonsis
Mr. Leonsis also serves on the board of directors of Groupon, though his ideas about making offers involving ridiculous discounts with several unattractive conditions attached are understood to be thought of as “extreme and unrealistic” by the Groupon board.

Winnipeg Jets: Mark Chipman
Long before re-locating the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers, Mr. Chipman and his ownership group moved the Moose from Minnesota to Manitoba, the remainder of his vast fortune in the Canadian logistics industry presumably earned from delivering beavers to Saskatchewan, maple syrup to Nunavut and bags of milk to Don Cherry's Eskimo farm.

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