After years of waiting, the Nashville Predators have finally brought Canadian businessman W. Brett Wilson on-board as part of their ownership group, as announced by the team, and by Wilson himself on Twitter. Talk about Wilson joining the Preds got rolling in 2009, but of course then the Boots Del Biaggio bankruptcy case complicated things, and the situation continued to drag out even after that case closed. Our most recent update came at this summer's Skate of the Union, during which team chairman Tom Cigarran said that the Wilson transaction was "inching toward the goal line".
Now we can finally say.... "SCORE!"
For more on Wilson, be sure to check out his personal website, and follow after the jump for the team's press release, and an excerpt from Wilson's site...
This comes from Wilson's personal site (head there for more):
On November 16th, 2011 - we press released that I have closed on a purchase of about 5% of the Nashville Predators. While I never threatened to break into the NHL as a player, I am thrilled at being an owner of such a great team. Amazing fans, amazing players and an amazing city makes this one of my favourite investments. Nashville city and hockey team have been favourites of mine for a long time - and while I now have divided loyalties, cheering for the Calgary Flames whenever they play anyone other than Nashville really isn't that hard!
And from the Preds:
Nashville Predators Chairman Tom Cigarran today announced that W. Brett Wilson has joined the organization's ownership group, closing on the purchase of an approximate five percent interest in the Nashville Predators and Powers Management, the facility management company that oversees the day-to-day operation and management of Bridgestone Arena, home of the Nashville Predators. Mr. Cigarran also indicated that discussions with other potential ownership investors, primarily from Tennessee, have already begun.
Wilson is a well-known Canadian businessman and philanthropist based in Calgary, AB. He is currently Chairman of Canoe Financial, an investment management firm with over $2.0 Billion in assets. In 1993, he co-founded FirstEnergy Capital Corp, one of Canada's most successful independent investment banks. He has extensive holdings in the energy and real estate industries through Prairie Merchant Corporation. He has also enjoyed a career in reality TV with roles in the Canadian hit shows Dragons' Den and Risky Business. In addition to the Predators, he is a co-owner in two other professional sport franchises: the Jackson Generals and the Derby County F.C.
"Brett's addition diversifies and strengthens our ownership group," Cigarran said. "Adding the right partners is an important part of our previously stated long-term business strategy to strengthen the financial foundation of the franchise. We know Brett shares our passion for both the franchise and community, and is as committed as we are to making sure the team remains in Nashville."
"Since the fall of 2007, I have owned a home in Nashville's Werthan Mills' Lofts and have been travelling there regularly for business and pleasure," Wilson said. "Joining the Preds ownership group has been contemplated and studied for quite some time. The local owners and I are totally committed to keeping the NHL in Nashville. The business model, both on and off the ice, continues to evolve and improve, and I have been captivated by the market's enthusiasm for our team. Now is the right time for me to join and contribute in my way in helping the organization continue growing from a contender into a Stanley Cup champion."
The Predators' local ownership group retains more than 90 percent of the ownership stake. Wilson joins the ownership group as one of two members from outside Middle Tennessee.
The Nashville Predators began play in the National Hockey League in 1998 and played their 1,000th NHL regular season game last Saturday, Nov. 12 against the Montreal Canadiens. The Predators have qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs in six of the last seven seasons, are one of only four teams to have won 40 or more games in each of the last six seasons and have the third most wins in the NHL since 2005-06. Last season, the Predators averaged 16,143 fans per game, selling out 16 regular season games, more than the previous two seasons combined. Additionally, within the last two years, the team has added significant corporate partners such as Bridgestone, AT&T, Nissan and Fifth Third Bank.