Unless your name is John Spano (watch the fantastic ESPN 30 for 30 documentary on him if you don't know his story), you need deep pockets to own an NHL franchise.
Even when the league wasn't as prosperous as it is today, it took more than a few briefcases filled with cash to secure a team. Arguably the most prestigious franchise in the sport, the Montreal Canadiens, were purchased by George Gillett Jr. in the winter of 2001 for what today can be considered a measly $185 million US dollars. Gillett turned quite the profit when he sold the team back to the Molson family for $550 million.
These days professional sports franchises, in general (even the bad ones), are expected to hover around the $1 billion dollar value thanks to the massive revenues coming in from TV deals and increased attendance numbers, among other factors.
What's even more astonishing, though, than the revenues being brought in by NHL franchises is the minute impact it is making on the bottom line of many of the wealthy men on this list. While owning a billion-dollar professional sports franchise is nice, these teams are the equivalent of a middle-aged man's sports car - a toy, more than anything else. While there is no doubt that the money generated by an owner's team is nice "pocket change" to have, the teams are far down the list of properties making serious dollars for the names on the list. When the money is flowing in from all angles - be it from multiple businesses, smart investments, or a big family inheritance - owning a pro team is not about making the big bucks - it's about winning the big trophies.
*All net value figures are taken from Forbes.com, when it's not stated otherwise.
15 15. N. Murray Edwards, Calgary Flames - $1.76 Billion
There's a certain amount of irony in the fact that the greatest rivals of the Edmonton Oilers are owned by a Canadian oil tycoon. Edwards is better known in the hockey world as one of the most influential voices in BoG meetings, but in the business world he's known for his savvy diversification decisions, which led him to having major holdings in Canadian Natural Resources, Magellan Aerospace, and Ensign Energy Services. It's looking more and more like the Flames will now establish themselves as one of his bigger money-making entities as the team looks to have turned the corner, thanks in large part to the emergence of young stars Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan.
14 14. Vincent Viola, Florida Panthers - $2.2 Billion
13 13. Tom Gaglardi, Dallas Stars - $2.24 Billion
While it's unclear who's fully responsible for the large sum of money listed above (as the Gagliardi's run their business within the family), it's clear that Tom has taken the forefront on the business and entertainment front. According to the Dallas Stars website, Gagliardi R. Thomas (Tom) Gaglardi is the president of Northland Properties Corporation, which is "the largest family-owned hospitality company in Canada" (we're starting to a trend in the nationality of these hockey owners, aren't we?).
12 T11. Ed Snider, Philadelphia Flyers - $2.5 Billion
11 T11. Henry Samueli, Anaheim Ducks - $2.5 Billion
If you dug a bit further into his and his family's past, you just might be able to make a short film on the life of the Samueli's and the rise to financial greatness of young Henry (who is in fact no longer that young).
10 10. Ron Burkle, Pittsburgh Penguins - $2.6 Billion
9 9. Joshua Harris, New Jersey Devils - $2.7 Billion
Joshua Harris was no stranger to the professional sports world when he bought the Devils in 2013 - he's also the owner of the Philadelphia 76ers, who've been the worst team in the NBA for the past couple of seasons. With that in mind, Harris might have some ideas and experience in the art of sparking interest in a team that, frankly, has never been the most interesting, even when the Devils were one of the best teams in the NHL.
8 8. Francesco Aquilini, Vancouver Canucks - $2.8 Billion
7 7. Daryl Katz, Edmonton Oilers - $3.4 Billion
6 6. Jeremy Jacobs, Boston Bruins - $3.6 Billion
5 5. Terry Pegula, Buffalo Sabres - $3.8 Billion
4 4. Mike Ilitch, Detroit Red Wings - $5 Billion
3 3. Stanley Kroenke, Colorado Avalanche - $6.3 Billion
Stan Kroenke is the "true" sports owner of the bunch, with a stake in the St. Louis Rams (NFL), Arsenal (EPL), Denver Nuggets (NBA), Colorado Rapids (MLS) and the Avalanche. Kroenke has been making headlines lately thanks to his clear attempts to move the Rams to Los Angeles.
2 2. Hasso Plattner, San Jose Sharks - $9.2 Billion
1 1. Philip F. Anschutz, Los Angeles Kings - $12.7 Billion
Philip F. Anschutz take the top spot on the list by several billions and he's made his money in a variety of different ways, be it from oilfields, movie-making, transportation, telecom or income properties (specifically from arenas). Anschutz also has a stake in the Los Angeles Lakers, but it's the Kings that have surprisingly surpassed the legendary basketball franchise as the crown jewel of Anschutz's sports entities. With two Cups since 2012, the Kings have taken over as Los Angeles royalty.
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