NHL Approves Sale of Mighty Ducks

Times Staff Writer

After spending the last few months accumulating employees, Henry and Susan Samueli now have a hockey team. The NHL board of governors unanimously approved their purchase of the Mighty Ducks on Wednesday.

The Samuelis, whose company also operates the Arrowhead Pond, had agreed to buy the Ducks from the Walt Disney Co. as part of a $75-million deal. The board of governors, the representatives from the NHL’s 30 teams, needed to sign off on the sale.

Henry Samueli, co-founder of Broadcom, and his wife are not expected to take an active role in the day-to-day team operations. It is believed that they will explore changes, including the team’s nickname, which was in the titles of three Disney movies.

Tim Ryan, president of Anaheim Arena Management, will become team president as well, and Bob Wagner, vice president and chief marketing officer for the Pond, will become the team’s executive vice president for business affairs. Brian Burke, former general manager of the Vancouver Canucks, has been hired as the Ducks’ general manager and is scheduled to be introduced at a news conference Monday. He is expected to meet with hockey operations staff members next week.


Al Coates, the team’s vice president of business operations and interim general manager, has a year left on his contract and may remain with the team in another capacity. Contracts have expired on other hockey operations employees, as well as the coaching staff.

Disney was awarded an expansion team by the NHL for the 1993-94 season and the Ducks were a cash cow for the company the first four seasons. But fan interest dropped off and the Ducks lost $28 million in the 2003-04 season and $12 million in 2002-03.