Canada is home to some of the most prolific and influential sports team owners, contributing significantly to the country’s success in sports activities. They own National Hockey League (NHL) and National Basketball Association (NBA) teams.
Most of the owners of Canadian sports teams are the nation’s biggest billionaires. These people have invested millions of dollars in their teams in the form of player compensation. They also have the mandate to build stadiums and training centers for their teams.
Most Famous Canadian Sports Team Owners
Do you know who owns your favorite sports team? Most of the sports personalities in Canada are well known to many fans. Even many general managers and coaches are recognized by the people who watch the teams play. What about owners of sports teams?
This guide will explore the lives of the most famous owners of Canadian sports teams. You will learn about their business ventures outside of sport and how they came to own the teams. Plus, you’ll learn how sports teams performed during their tenure.
Here is the list of famous owners of Canadian sports teams.
1. Eugene Melnyk – NHL Ottawa Senators
Melnyk is one of Canada’s foremost entrepreneurs and philanthropists. He is also the current owner, president and governor of the Ottawa Senators, an NHL team. Notably, Melnyk derived most of his wealth from the pharmaceutical industry.
In 1991, Eugen Melnyk founded Biovail Corporation, a global pharmaceutical company that supplied several pharmaceutical products. He was CEO and President of Biovail before Valeant Pharmaceuticals bought it in 2010.
Melnyk bought the Ottawa Senators from the NHL in 2003 at a cost of $ 150 million. The team has yet to win its first Stanley Cup under Melnyk’s tenure. Notably, Eugene Melnyk has a website where he continues to post sports and business information.
When it comes to philanthropy, Melnyk is a prime example. He donated $ 5 million to the St. Joseph Health Center, located in Toronto. He also co-founded and funded Rogers House, a pediatric palliative care facility in Ottawa.
2. N. Murray Edwards – NHL Calgary Flames
Murray is a Canadian billionaire who ventures into sports and business. He co-owns the NHL Calgary Flames with Allan Markin, Alvin Libin and Jeffrey McCaig. In addition, he owns the majority of the shares of Calgary Sports and Entertainment (CSEC).
Murray’s estimated net worth is $ 1.5 billion. He derives most of his fortune from his shares in many Canadian oil and mining companies. Currently, Murray has invested primarily in Canadian Natural Resources Ltd and Magellan Aerospace Corporation.
Notably, Murray is a lawyer by training but embarked on entrepreneurship at 28 to keep the promise he made to his dying friend that he would follow his passions. In the late 1980s Murray started an investment bank with a few business partners in Canada.
After starting the investment bank, Murray and his team decided to use half of their initial capital to drill a natural gas well, which then dried up. As a result, Murray decided to invest in existing oil and gas assets. He founded Ensign Energy Services Inc.
3. Francesco Aquilini – NHL Vancouver Canucks
Aquilini is one of the most successful investors in Canada. This Canadian-born investor has interests in numerous investments, including in the hotel sector, real estate development, real estate and other income-generating properties. He manages many businesses in Canada.
Francesco Aquilini founded Aquilini Investment Group, and he is the current CEO of the group. This Vancouver-based company has several various subsidiaries, including the Vancouver Canucks and Rogers Arena, with Aquilini as president.
Aquilini held a 50 percent stake in the Vancouver Canucks of the NHL, but bought the remaining 50 percent and Rogers Arena in 2006. The Canucks are yet to win the Stanley Cup under Aquilini. Notably, they won six division titles during his tenure.
Not to mention that Aquilini is the current president of Enthusiast Gaming, a digital media company in Canada. Aquilini Investment Group manages various investment opportunities including Aquilini Developments which owns and develops real estate.
Here are the entities managed by the group.
- Renewable energy Aquilini: Invest in green energies such as wind power
- Golden Eagle Group: Manages several recreational and agricultural businesses
- Properties of Aquilini: Owns and manages hotels and other properties in Canada
4. David Thomson – NHL Winnipeg Jets
David Thomson is the most successful Canadian sports team owner with an estimated net worth of $ 39.4 billion. Along with Mark Chipman, he co-owns the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets, which have performed amazingly in National Hockey League games.
Thomson is a major investor in FarmersEdge, a company that provides digital farming solutions. The 63-year-old billionaire also founded Osmington Incorporated, a real estate company that buys and manages commercial properties.
Notably, Thomson derives part of its wealth from Thomson Reuters, a multinational media conglomerate based in Canada. He started as chairman of Reuters in 2006 after his father’s death. The company has more than 24,000 employees.
Thomson is also an avid art collector. It has a gallery full of works of art by prolific artists like Rembrandt, Patrick Heron, Egon Schiele and William Turner. Thomson inherited the love of the arts from his father, Ken Thomson.
5. Daryl Katz – NHL Edmonton Oilers
Daryl Katz is a famous Canadian entrepreneur and philanthropist. He is the founder of the Katz Group of Companies, one of the largest private companies in Canada. Katz is a professional lawyer who now resides in Edmonton, Alberta.
Katz is the current owner of the Edmonton Oilers. Before buying the team, he made three offers: $ 145 million, $ 185 million, and $ 188 million consecutively. Unfortunately, the Edmonton Investors Group rejected all three offers.
In 2008, Daryl Katz increased his bid to $ 200 million and eventually bought the Edmonton Oilers. He said the Edmonton Oilers needed a new arena. His company has partnered with the city to build Rogers Place, one of Canada’s most advanced sports venues.
Katz’s company, the Katz Group, operates a number of businesses such as real estate, pharmacy, sports and entertainment. One of the companies owned by the group is Rexall Pharmacy, based in Ontario. Katz is one of the highest paid executives in the Katz group.
Katz’s philanthropic acts have touched the hearts of many. He donated approximately $ 7 million to the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Alberta and to the Faculty of Law. Additionally, Katz donated $ 20 million to Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital in 2009.
6. Joseph Tsai – Brooklyn Nets of the NBA
Joseph Tsai became the rightful owner of the Brooklyn Nets in the NBA after buying him from Mikhail Prokhorov in 2009. He has only been the team leader for a few months. Many are waiting to see how the Brooklyn Nets fare under Tsai’s tenure.
The Taiwanese-born billionaire bought Brooklyn Nets for around $ 3.3 billion. However, the team was worth $ 2.5 billion in 2020. He bought 49% of the NBA team for the first time in 2018. In 2019, he bought the rest of the shares, owning the team alone. .
For the love of sports, Joseph Tsai founded J Tsai Sports, and he is the current president of the company. He also owns the New York Liberty of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). He led a group that bought the NBA team. Tsai also has shares in the Los Angeles football club of Major League Soccer (MLS).
During his business career, Joseph Tsai was among the entrepreneurs who founded the Alibaba Group, a multinational holding company headquartered in Hangzhou, China. He is currently executive vice president of the group. He owns the largest shares in the company after Jack Ma.
7. Larry Tanenbaum – NHL Toronto Maple Leafs
Tanenbaum is a Canadian entrepreneur, sports enthusiast and philanthropist. He co-owns the Toronto Maple Leafs, an NHL team with a large group of owners. He only owns a 25 percent stake in the Toronto Maple Leafs, but he’s the face of the NHL team.
The prolific owner of the team acquired the first part of its shares in 1996 for around $ 21 million. In 2008, he bought more shares worth $ 100 million. BCE Inc. and Rogers Communications are the principal shareholders of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Since Tanenbaum joined the NHL team in 1996, the Maple Leafs have won only one division title. However, it is the second most valuable NHL team. Since Tanenbaum is part of the Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), Larry also owns the following teams:
- NBA Toronto Raptors
- AHL Toronto Marlies
- CFL Toronto Argonauts
Tanenbaum also has a successful career in business. He is the current CEO and Chairman of the Kilmer Group. The company focuses on investments in real estate, private equity, infrastructure, sports and media. The Kilmer Group runs many leading companies.
Now that you know the most famous Canadian sports team owners, you can easily report on who owns your favorite sports team, including their life outside of sport. All of the sports team owners mentioned in the guide are successful entrepreneurs who own large businesses and corporations in Canada. You can learn a lot from them.