Since its establishment over a hundred years ago, the National Hockey League (NHL) had not had a Hispanic majority owner. Alex Meruelo and the Arizona Coyotes changed that on August 1, as Meruelo purchased controlling interest of the team.
Meruelo’s ownership of the Coyotes represents a monumental milestone for the NHL. With a humble upbringing, Meruelo independently built his own fortune, which includes a construction and real estate firm, a media conglomerate, and multiple casinos.
“It’s the true American success story,” Coyotes president and CEO Ahron Cohen said in a press conference. “The son of Cuban immigrants, he worked hard and became a billionaire, it’s what everyone dreams of in this country. When I met him, I was even more impressed because of his drive, his determination, his conviction and his passion, his commitment to his family, and I knew that day that we had our guy.”
In the press conference, Meruelo announced that winning is his primary objective as owner. In fact, even before the announcement of his ownership, he played an instrumental role in signing elite forward Phil Kessel and center Carl Soderberg.
“I think this is a guy that’s very committed to winning, he’s very willing to do whatever it takes to win, that’s what he’s communicated to me,” General Manager John Chayka said. “He’s proven that with some of the moves he’s made; Phil Kessel, Carl Soderberg; those are guys that he had to pay for, and he’s willing to do that.”
Meruelo highlighted his goals in the press conference and emphasized his commitment to attaining those goals. He also noted that he will do all he can to obtain trust from the fans.
“Short term is to make the playoffs, we want to make the playoffs,” he said. “Long term is to win multiple Stanley Cups, but let’s start with one, one is good. Let’s win one Stanley Cup and from there we’ll go on… I want to win, I’ve committed to the team, to the coach. I want to do everything I can to give the resources, the financial resources and support to win the Stanley Cup.”
Photo courtesy of Arizona Coyotes/Norm Hall