The Arizona Coyotes announced on Wednesday that IceArizona LLC has completed a sale of 51 percent of the franchise to hedge fund manager Andrew Barroway. Approval of the sale by the NHL Board of Governors had been ongoing earlier this week, but passed easily.
"This is truly a dream come true for me and my family," Barroway said in a statement. "I am extraordinarily grateful for the opportunity of a lifetime and look forward to working and solidifying a strong partnership with the Club's current ownership group.
"As a group we are committed to serving our fans with a new level of excellence and our collective goal is to put a competitive team on the ice every season and, one day, win the Stanley Cup."
Completion of the sale comes despite reports a few weeks earlier, initially from Larry Brooks of the New York Post, that Barroway was on the verge of dropping his bid. While it is not known if Barroway actually did intend to back out at some point and returned to the table or if sources reporting the deal's demise were simply not connected close enough to the sale partners, what is clear is that the timeline for the deal matches official statements from the NHL.
While one mystery has been settled, the biggest mystery surrounding Barroway and the Coyotes remains. Barroway has made few public appearances and even fewer public statements since his interest in purchasing the Coyotes became known. This has led to some trepidation among Coyotes fans who fear that Barroway's aim is merely to buy the team to relocate once the 180-day out-clause in the Gila River Arena management contract begins.
It should be noted however that IceArizona remains a partner in the transaction, and that Barroway's purchase offer came unsolicited by the NHL or IceArizona. Both parties would have been well within their rights to turn down Barroway's offer if they doubted its sincerity, and considering how long and hard the NHL fought to keep the franchise in Glendale, it seems likely that the league would have fought the sale if it meant the end of hockey in Arizona.
"Today is an exciting day for the Arizona Coyotes and our great fans," said Coyotes Co-Owner, President and CEO Anthony LeBlanc in the same statement. "The addition of Andrew Barroway to our ownership group further solidifies the Coyotes long-term future in the Valley. Our entire ownership group is excited about this opportunity to work with Andrew in taking this franchise to the next level. It's a great day for hockey in Arizona!"
Perhaps as the majority stakeholder of the franchise, Barroway will lay out his vision for the team moving forward. Perhaps his preference is to simply be the money behind the scenes and allow IceArizona to manage the product themselves. Regardless, Barroway's purchase has settled yet another off-ice situation for the Coyotes. At least for now.