September 01, 2010
Forget the Mexican beer guy: The gentleman on the right is, at the moment, the most interesting man in the world, according to ESPN.
Scott Burnside reported on Wednesday evening that Matthew Hulsizer, CEO of PEAK6 Investments, is "in the final stages of negotiating a new arena lease agreement with the City of Glendale" with the intention to then make a bid for the Phoenix Coyotes.
Yes indeed: The "mystery buyer" has been unmasked. From ESPN.com:
Although Hulsizer could not be reached for comment, sources familiar with the businessman and situation in Phoenix believe he may be the answer to the NHL's search for a viable owner.
In fact a number of sources said he represents the last, best chance to keep this team in Arizona. "He has an unbelievable financial mind," one source that has known Hulsizer for years told ESPN.com. "He's exactly the kind of guy that the league needs. He's a legitimate hockey guy with a lot of money."
What we don't know about him: Why in the name of Redfield T. Baum would he want to buy the Coyotes after all that's transpired in the desert?
He clearly likes a challenge. This Smart Business Chicago story gives you a sense of his innovation in the field of financial services:
Hulsizer was formerly a risk manager at Swiss Bank, but he knew there had to be a better way to do business. When he founded his financial services firm in 1997, he stepped out on a limb. PEAK6 became the first equity options firm to go fully “off-floor”; then Hulsizer decided to focus on less-liquid securities, which the larger players had avoided.
What else do we know about him? Democratic Party supporter (or maybe Chicago politics loyalist). He attended Amhest College, and Burnside said he played collegiate hockey. Served as a board member for Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company, which gave the world one Mr. John Gavin Malkovich.
Travis Hair of Five For Howling, one of the top Coyotes bloggers, offers some speculation:
THIS SECTION IS PURE SPECULATION: Doesn't his story seem awfully similar to that of the guys in Ice Edge? Toss in the statements of some of the principles in the group and suddenly it seems like they're not just bystanders watching another guy come in and take over. In my purely speculative opinion Ice Edge didn't have whatever monetary levels the NHL wanted and went looking to guys they knew that might be interested.
Hulsizer may have been interested all on his own too, but with the business circles these parties run in it's not out of the question that Hulsizer is the deep pockets running the group while Ice Edge takes a small role in running the team. It wouldn't surprise me in the least to see Anthony LeBlanc running some part of the team while Hulsizer funds it.
The Ice Edge ownership team that's been in and out of negotiations with Glendale for the last year indicated this week that they're part of this new scenario, with chairman Keith McCullough saying that "Ice Edge would be a minority owner and an adviser ... that investor is a friend of ours."
So there you go: A name, a face and apparently some momentum to finally end this ordeal.
In a related story, Winnipeg is wicked bitter.