For nearly five years, the Arizona Coyotes could not find an owner. In the last 17 months, the Coyotes were bought and sold twice, the latest being a 51 percent share to Andrew Barroway, a hedge-fund manager from Pennsylvania, on New Year's Eve.
While most sales like these feel very matter-of-fact, this one was a little different. Barroway, a life-long sports fan who failed to buy into the NHL on more than one occasion, finally found his way into the NHL fraternity. He could not hold back his excitement.
"This is a childhood dream," Barroway said. "I've wanted it since I was six years old. It took a long time to realize, but this is not a new thing for me; it's something I've wanted since I could remember."
The process was a long, complicated one that fought through its reported demise last month. It would not be a Coyotes ownership story without a little drama.
"I am so excited to be here and be a Coyote; I can't even begin to tell you," he said. "It feels great to be here. It was a long haul and I'm thrilled and as happy as could be.
"I'm a competitive person and I want to come here and help build an even stronger organization to help our team win."
As the pageantry of the new majority owner's introduction slowly fades away, focus turns to that pesky out-clause. The team's lease agreement with the City of Glendale includes an opt-out clause after the 2017-18 season should the team lose $50 million or more.
After nearly a half-decade of ownership drama that included constant relocation threats, Coyotes fans are obviously concerned about Barroway's intentions, or lack thereof, of keeping the team in the Valley long-term. The new majority owner did not mince his words on the topic.
"We're (ownership group as a whole) committed to this market and we love it here" Barroway said. "The team is here, the team is going to stay here, let's win here."
Barroway reiterated his primary purpose for buying the team was to fulfill a life-long dream. He has no plans to flip the team any time soon.
"I'm thrilled to be here, thrilled to be an owner and I wouldn't have gone through this really difficult process of buying a team just to go flip it," Barroway said. "I don't think people buy teams to go make money, that's not the goal here. You try not to lose too much money, but I certainly did not but it for a quick flip. I can't state that more emphatically."
For as big of a sports fan as the 48-year-old majority owner is, he is still a business man. There were a few things that attracted Barroway to the Coyotes as an asset.
"I think the strong partnership with the City of Glendale was part of it, and everything that George (Gosbee), Anthony (LeBlanc) and the other owners had been doing over the past 18 months," Barroway said. "Everything was trending in the right direction.
"Corporate sponsorships were up, season ticket sales were up, everything was trending positively and I saw it as a good investment and a good opportunity for me to get in an organization heading in the right direction and get in and work with people that I like. So, it seemed like a very good fit."
Barroway added that the NHL itself is trending upward and he believes in the league as well as the team.
As to why the out-clause remains in place after this transaction, Barroway said, "It was part of the prior deal and nothing has changed. I just assumed the position at 51 percent owner, so it wasn't anything active. It was just a continuation of the same."
One thing that will be different is having one authoritative voice in the room. As majority owner, all major decisions must have his blessing. The now 10-man ownership group has one man at the top.
"It's not going to be like 'Top Chef,'" Barroway said. "I'm not going to be running around screaming, but ultimately the buck stops with me, as they say."
No one truly knows where the Coyotes will be four years from now, but one thing is for certain -- the Coyotes have a new majority owner and have turned their fortunes around from a bankrupt vagabond franchise to a hot commodity.