Contacts: Bill Robertson
January 10, 2008
MINNESOTA WILD TO BE SOLD TO CRAIG LEIPOLD
FORMER OWNER OF NASHVILLE PREDATORS WHO LOVES HOCKEY, MINNESOTA STYLE
SAINT PAUL/MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. –
Minnesota Sports & Entertainment (“MSE”), the parent company of the Minnesota Wild, announced today that an agreement has been signed to sell the Minnesota Wild and its related entities, including the Houston Aeros, to Craig Leipold
. Financial terms were not disclosed, and the final sale requires approval by the National Hockey League and other regulatory approvals.
Bob Naegele has been the majority owner of the Minnesota Wild since the NHL granted an expansion franchise to the team in 1997. Mr. Leipold, a resident of Racine, Wisconsin, recently completed the sale of the Nashville Predators, a team he owned since the expansion franchise was awarded to Nashville in 1997.
“Our goals were to return the NHL to the State of Hockey, to establish a winning tradition dedicated to the hockey fans of Minnesota, and to ensure the long-term success of the Wild,” said Naegele. “It is now time to pass the torch on to a new owner who will ensure that long-term success. Craig is as committed to winning the Stanley Cup as I have been, and he represents proven, committed leadership, hockey passion and Midwestern values that have been the bedrock of our organization’s success to this point – and will serve as the foundation for the success of the future.”
Said Leipold: “I love the sport of hockey and am very excited to continue the tradition of Wild hockey here in Minnesota – the State of Hockey. I have admired Bob Naegele and the entire Wild organization since the first puck dropped in 2000. It is a true privilege to become part of the organization and the hockey community in Minnesota. I want to thank Bob for this unique opportunity, and I am pleased that he will consider continuing as my partner in the organization.”
Doug Risebrough, General Manager of the Minnesota Wild and President of MSE, stated: “The Minnesota Wild owes a substantial debt to Bob Naegele, whose vision and courage resulted in an NHL franchise returning to Minnesota. He’s been a leader and has demonstrated that success can only come through true partnership with others. We thank Bob for our history, and we turn with excitement to Craig for our future. We appreciate his commitment to continuing to build a team with a winning tradition and the shared goal of bringing the Stanley Cup to Minnesota. About the Minnesota Wild
The Minnesota Wild, an expansion team that played its first full season in 2000-01, is in its seventh National Hockey League season and currently holds seventh place in the Western Conference point standings. The Wild enjoyed a successful 2006-07 regular season, earning a berth in the 2007 Western Conference Quarterfinals against the eventual Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks. The 2007 Playoffs represented the team’s second post-season appearance, with its first appearance in 2003 culminating in a trip to the Western Conference Finals. The Wild has played each of its home games before capacity crowds, and the team has set NHL attendance and winning percentage records among recent expansion era teams. -- HOUSTON AEROS --