Herb Fritch Officially Assumes Control Of Predators Ownership
Herb Fritch has "officially assumed control" of the Predators after his partners and the NHL "approved his appointment" as team Chair earlier this week, according to Nate Rau of the Nashville TENNESSEAN. Fritch owns the "largest portion of the hockey franchise" and joined the ownership group in '07 when original Predators Owner Craig Leipold was "considering selling the team to an out-of-town investor with plans to relocate" the team to Hamilton, Ont. Fritch's appointment was "long expected" and the Predators confirmed last April he would succeed outgoing Chair Tom Cigarran. The Predators are "hoping to continue a phase of financial growth and stability in both their business operations and on-ice performance" with Fritch at the helm. He is taking over a "booming business with 131 straight home game sellouts and even a season-ticket waiting list." Fritch said that owners have "not had to answer capital calls in order to cover operating deficits." While much of the Predators' overall financial standing is kept private, Fritch said the franchise is "very stable." He added, "Our balance sheet continues to get stronger." Rau notes the appointment of Fritch ensures that President & CEO Sean Henry and President of Hockey Operations & GM David Poile will "stay in their jobs" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 1/11).
CHANGING OF THE GUARD: Cigarran said he will still have his "ownership position" and will be an "alternate governor" for the franchise. He said, "Herb will be the governor. I’ll still be a huge Predators fan, I’ll still go to the games when I’m in Nashville. But I won’t have to worry about the business." Cigarran added, "We are financially stable for the long run. Herb’s job is going to be to take it to the next level. We’re never satisfied. We can always do better, we can always do more" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 1/10).