Is Alex Meruelo the owner Coyotes fans have been dreaming about for years?
The 55 year old billionaire is reportedly on the verge of becoming the Coyotes majority owner.
Coyotes fans have gotten their hopes up before about potential saviors and solutions only to have them crushed but this time it feels different.
Meruelo checks a few big boxes for Coyotes ownership:
1) He’s a billionaire
2) He has business roots in the Southwest
3) He built his fortune taking depressed assets in real estate and business and turning them around for huge profits
4) He’s not part of a group
All of those facts work in the favor of strong, steady leadership for a franchise that has had anything but over the last decade or so.
The Coyotes have had some stability at GM in Don Maloney and John Chayka. They’ve had stability at the head coaching position with Dave Tippett and Rick Tocchet. They’ve had stability from a player perspective with a two decade run from the most popular player in franchise history in Shane Doan.
But they’ve never really had stability where it matters most: ownership.
The next big question if Meruelo is successful in his ownership bid, and we will know on June 19th, is how he feels about privately financing a new hockey arena.
Private financing is the only way the Coyotes are going to get a new arena and a new arena is the only way the team is going to increase its value.
Does Meruelo see value in privately financing it himself and then retaining ownership in all the available revenue streams a new facility could provide? Or does he see it more as a play to quickly increase the value of the franchise as ownership of a team and arena would be more appealing to yet another buyer?
Either way, it doesn’t really matter. Stability is not to be confused with longevity. If Meruelo can deliver a new arena and an injection of life into this franchise, Coyotes fans long nightmare might finally be coming to an end.