SBJ/March 10-16, 2014/Forty Under 40

Forty Under 40: Josh Kroenke

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Josh
Kroenke

Teams: Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche (Kroenke Sports & Entertainment)
Title: President
Age: 33
Where born: Columbia, Mo.
Education: University of Missouri (financial management)
Career background: NBA, post-grad internship (2004-05); Lehman Brothers, real estate analyst and underwriter (2005-07); Denver Nuggets: VP, team development (2007-10), president (2010-present); Colorado Avalanche, president (2013-present)
Family: Single

Favorite apps: Twitter, WhatsApp, Shazam, and the NHL and NBA official apps.
Favorite way to unwind: Playing golf, snow skiing, or simply on my couch in front of my TV with my dogs.
Groups supported: KSE Charities and the Playing For Change Foundation.
Person in the industry I’d most like to meet: Brian France.
I have a fear of … : Heights.
Most adventurous thing I’ve ever done is … : Bungee jumping.
2014 will be a good year if … : The teams for which I’m responsible have success on and off the ice/court while maintaining a vision of the future for areas where we need improvement to achieve greater goals.


GARRETT W. ELLWOOD / NBAE VIA GETTY IMAGES

As president of the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche, Josh Kroenke is on a very short list of executives simultaneously running two big league franchises. Now, consider too that he doesn’t turn 34 until later this year.

Yet Kroenke, son of the teams’ owner, Stan Kroenke, is humble about the progression he’s made in his development as a leader and businessman.

“I’m not somebody who’s afraid of what I don’t know,” he said. “I’m always asking questions. I’m always listening. I’m a sponge, and someone who has an open mind.”

SBJ Podcast:
Executive Editor Abraham Madkour and project editor Mark Mensheha talk about the Forty Under 40 selection process and the class of 2014.


While an injury-plagued season has been a setback for the Nuggets, the Avalanche has been one of the NHL’s most improved teams, in large part because of a pair of hires overseen by Kroenke. Behind Joe Sakic (senior vice president of hockey operations) and first-year head coach Patrick Roy — both Avalanche legends as players — the team went from finishing last in the Western Conference last season to competing for a playoff berth this year. “It has been rewarding to see Joe and Patrick step into their positions, see the team have some success on the ice, and reignite our fan base,” Kroenke said.

As for the Nuggets …

“I understood that there might be some skepticism among the fan base because of changes we made,” said Kroenke, who hired Tim Connelly as general manager after Masai Ujiri was hired by the Toronto Raptors. “It’s been challenging because of the amount of injuries we’ve had, but I’m excited about the people we have in charge and the direction we’re heading.”

Sakic said Kroenke has been an ideal boss.

“Josh is very supportive and places a lot of trust in Patrick and myself,” he said. “He has a lot of energy and passion and, like his father, is dedicated to the success of the Avalanche. He wants us to recapture the Denver marketplace.”

Kroenke is driven by that goal, with both franchises. “The [NFL] Broncos own this area; I get that,” Kroenke said. “They’ve done a great job in Denver for a long, long time. We want to get to the point where people in Colorado are talking about the Nuggets and the Avalanche right up there with the Broncos. We’ll get there.”

— Christopher Botta

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