After months of reports that all or part of the Arizona Coyotes would be sold, we finally found out more about the team’s potential new owner yesterday. Craig Morgan with The Athletic wrote an introduction to Alex Meruelo, the billionaire American entrepreneur who is deep in the process of purchasing a majority stake in the team.
Meruelo owns multiple businesses including a Los Angeles pizza chain called La Pizza Loco, Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, and SLS Las Vegas as well as numerous media properties under the Meruelo Media Group company. Last June he also bought the Illa d’en Colom islet outside of Spain.
Current Coyotes owner Andrew Barroway would reportedly retain a minority stake in the franchise. Barroway initially purchased a 51% stake of the Coyotes in October of 2014 from a group of investors led by Anthony LeBlanc. Barroway would later purchase the remaining 49%, becoming the sole owner during the 2017 offseason.
The Arizona Coyotes have long struggled with ownership uncertainty and an earned reputation as a small budget team. A new owner with deep pockets may lead to the team having a higher budget and may lead to the long rumored new arena.
This past offseason the Coyotes have been linked to a few high profile players like Phil Kessel and Matt Duchene which would require a larger financial commitment. If Meruelo is able to provide a bigger budget to General Manager John Chayka we may see the Coyotes finally make some of the big moves needed to move the team to the next stage of the rebuild.
The soonest a vote on the sale of the team could take place is at the next Board of Governors meeting, due to take place on June 19 as part of the league’s NHL Awards ceremony in Las Vegas.