HARTFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--An affiliate of Black Bear Sports Group, Inc. (“Black Bear”) has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Champions Skating Center in Cromwell, CT and Bolton Ice Palace in Bolton, CT (the “Arenas”). The Agreement is subject to normal course closing conditions. The Arenas collectively feature two NHL ice sheets, one Olympic ice sheet, a full-service gym, and a pool. The transaction also includes the purchase of the Hartford Jr. Wolfpack, the elite Tier I and Tier II youth hockey program. The Arenas are also home to the Whalers Youth Hockey Association & Eastern Connecticut Stars along with many figure skaters and recreational skaters in the area. The Sellers were Alan Lazowski, Founder and CEO of Laz Parking and former NHL player, Bob Crawford. Mr. Crawford will assume a senior role with Black Bear including becoming a member of the Board of Directors. Black Bear, the largest owner/operator of ice rinks in the U.S., was founded by CEO Murry Gunty in 2015.
“It has been my great honor to partner with Bob Crawford over the past 30 years and watch his passion and love for the game and his commitment to teach young men and women the art of the game,” said Alan Lazowski. “I am thrilled that Bob will continue his life’s work and legacy with Black Bear, the best and most prolific rink owner and operator in the United States.”
“We are excited to expand our Connecticut presence with this transaction, as Connecticut is such a strong hockey market,” said Murry N. Gunty, Founder and CEO of Black Bear. “More importantly, I am thrilled to have Bob Crawford join our organization to help us continue to build out our hockey business. Bob brings deep hockey experience from both his distinguished NHL career and his extensive youth hockey experience including leading leagues, representing his district and serving in leadership capacities at the highest levels of hockey. It is an honor to have him on board.”
“I am excited to stay on board and continue to develop players in the Jr. Wolfpack program and support Black Bear’s overall hockey business,” said ex-NHLer Bob Crawford. “Over the years we have had numerous offers to sell the rinks, but both Alan and I believe that Black Bear will be the best home for our families and our buildings and a great place for my wife, Kathleen, and I to continue to make a large impact on both our community and the sport that we both love. Bolton Ice Palace and Champions Skating Center will continue to thrive under Black Bear’s ownership.”
“Our mission is to continue growing hockey and ice sports in Connecticut and are thrilled to add another Tier I franchise that we can support through our numerous junior team franchises such as the Youngstown Phantoms of the USHL,” said Ryan Scott, Vice President of Black Bear. “Under Bob’s leadership, we also look forward to growing our league and tournament businesses in Connecticut and the rest of the Northeast and expect to host numerous boys and girls events in our rinks.”
About Black Bear Sports Group, Inc.
Black Bear Sports Group, Inc. is a privately held company formed by Murry Gunty and Blackstreet Capital Holdings, LLC in 2015 that seeks investments in sports and entertainment facilities, teams, and youth sports events. Black Bear arenas are clean, 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 not only features the ability to acquire healthy and stable arenas, but also the expertise required to turn around mismanaged or under-performing facilities. The largest owner/operator of ice rinks in the U.S., Black Bear’s footprint totals 27 facilities across the United States with 50 sheets of indoor ice, four indoor turf fields, 16 youth hockey clubs, two youth hockey leagues (Atlantic Hockey Federation and National Girls Hockey League) and three Junior “A” hockey franchises with membership in the United States Hockey League, North American Hockey League and Eastern Hockey League.