PHILADELPHIA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Comcast Spectacor has reached an agreement with Black Bear Sports Group, Inc. for the sale of three of its Skate Zone ice rink locations in Northeast, Phila., Pennsauken, NJ, and Atlantic City, NJ. Full transfer of ownership and operation is planned to go into effect within 30 days pending receipt of the necessary approvals and completion of the sale.
“We are thrilled to expand our portfolio of rinks with the addition of these three Skate Zone locations,” said Murry Gunty, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Black Bear Sports Group, Inc. “We look forward to applying our expertise to help elevate these facilities and to make an impact in the communities they serve.”
Former Philadelphia Flyers captain Keith Primeau, who initiated the talks with Comcast Spectacor, will be a minority owner in the acquisition and will spearhead the strategic vision of the three facilities. The two-time NHL All Star transitioned to the business side of the sport after his playing career and is also currently President of Hockey Operations for the Youngstown Phantoms of the USHL. Primeau, a long-time South Jersey resident, has had decades of first-hand experience with the youth hockey market in the region and raised four children in the area including three sons who competed at every level and in these rinks.
“I have seen up close the rich tradition of youth hockey in this region and have experienced it from every angle including coaching, parenting and operations,” said Primeau. “Our goal is to foster local talent and provide them the facilities and programming to pursue their hockey dreams, whatever that level may be. My passion right now is improving the accessibility to the sport of hockey for young players and their families.”
At the conclusion of this deal, Black Bear Sports Group, a national community ice rink operator, will own and manage 22 rinks nationally including 15 in the Tri-State area. The organization also owns a number of junior and youth hockey clubs and will acquire all hockey programming at the three Skate Zone locations. At the junior level, Black Bear currently co-owns and manages the Youngstown Phantoms of the USHL, and owns the Maryland Black Bears of the NAHL and Team Maryland of the EHL. Last year 28 players from the Phantoms received Division I scholarships while two were drafted in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. The Maryland Black Bears sent 15 players to college hockey and seven Team Maryland players earned college commitments.
Comcast Spectacor will continue to own and operate Virtua Center Flyers Skate Zone at Voorhees and will continue to focus on managing this location as the world-class training facility for the Philadelphia Flyers. A new multi-year marketing arrangement will allow Comcast Spectacor to continue to identify with these rinks and allow both the Flyers and Black Bear to promote their goods and services to each other’s respective fans and customers.
“Black Bear Sports is a proven force in elevating community ice rinks and youth hockey programming,” said Valerie Camillo, President of Business Operations, Philadelphia Flyers & Wells Fargo Center. “We look forward to working with Black Bear to inspire and shape the next generation of hockey players and fans in the region.”
About Comcast Spectacor
Comcast Spectacor is a professional sports and live entertainment company that is part of Comcast Corporation, a global media and technology leader that operates Comcast Cable, NBCUniversal and Sky. Headquartered in Philadelphia, Comcast Spectacor owns and operates the Wells Fargo Center arena and complex, as well as a portfolio of professional sports teams that includes the National Hockey League’s Philadelphia Flyers, the Overwatch League’s Philadelphia Fusion, the National Lacrosse League’s Philadelphia Wings and the Maine Mariners of the ECHL. Comcast Spectacor also holds strategic interest in several partner companies spanning the sports and entertainment landscape, including Spectra, T1 Entertainment & Sports, Learfield IMG College, Xfinity Live! Philadelphia and Nerd Street Gamers. Visit us at ComcastSpectacor.com for more information.
About Black Bear Sports Group
Black Bear Sports Group, Inc. is a privately held company formed by Murry Gunty in 2015 that seeks investments in sports and entertainment facilities, teams and youth sports events. Black Bear arenas are clean and professionally managed and offer world-class recreational programs. Black Bear focuses on ice arenas in metropolitan areas with compelling demographics, markets with a National Hockey League club presence and arenas with existing youth hockey clubs. Black Bear currently owns and operates 19 arenas across the United States with a total of 35 sheets of indoor ice, two indoor turf fields, 10 youth hockey clubs and three Junior hockey franchises in the United States Hockey League, North American Hockey League and Eastern Hockey League.