Black Bear Sports Group Acquires 16th Ice Arena

Gunty's Black Bear Sports Group Adds First Facility in Delaware

“We are excited to add Patriot to our growing portfolio of east coast ice rinks,” said Murry Gunty, Founder and CEO of Black Bear. 

An affiliate of Black Bear Sports Group, Inc. (“Black Bear”) has acquired the Patriot Ice Center in Newark, DE (the “Arena”). The Arena features one NHL-size ice rink and one Olympic-size ice rink, an athletic training gym, café, pro shop and a martial arts studio. The Arena is home to many young skaters and players in the area and, like many of Black Bear’s arenas, frequently hosts youth and adult hockey tournaments throughout the year. Black Bear was founded by CEO Murry Gunty in 2015.

​“The Mid-Atlantic region is producing more and more talented skaters and youth players. Delaware is known for quality figure skating but many young players are passionate about hockey here as well,” said Murry Gunty, Founder and CEO of Black Bear. “We are excited to add Patriot to our growing portfolio of east coast ice rinks.”

The Patriot Ice Center is the first acquisition for Black Bear in Delaware and 12th investment on the East Coast. Patriot complements Black Bear’s adjacent rinks including Ice World in Northeastern Maryland and three facilities in the nearby suburban Philadelphia area: Revolution Ice Gardens, Bucks County Ice Sports Center and The Igloo at Mt. Laurel.

“We are excited to improve the facility and strengthen the skating and hockey programming at Patriot,” said Ryan Scott, Vice President of Black Bear. “Our immediate priority is to structurally improve the ice surfaces to ensure the community has quality ice for the upcoming season and to renovate the building to enhance the customer experience going forward.”

New Assistant GM hired by Maryland Black Bears

New Assistant GM Hired by Maryland Black Bears

The Maryland Black Bears Head Coach and General Manager, Clinton Mylymok has announced that Ryan Kosecki will be joining the team as the Assistant General Manager. Kosecki is coming to the Black Bears from the USHL, where he spent the past two seasons as an Assistant Coach with the Muskegon Lumberjacks. Kosecki is extremely familiar with the NAHL, having played in it from 1996-1998 as well as having scouted and coached in the NA3HL for several years. Ryan Kosecki had the following to say on his new position:

“I would first like to thank Maryland Head Coach/GM Clinton Mylymok, owner Murry Gunty, and the Maryland Black Bears organization for giving me this opportunity. I am excited to get to work for such a first-class program and help Maryland take that next step toward winning a Robertson Cup Championship.”

Murry Gunty’s Black Bear Sports Group Acquires 14th Ice Arena

Black Bear Sports Group Acquires 14th Ice Arena

 

The Igloo is a centrally-located hub for ice skating and hockey in southern New Jersey. With Revolution Ice Gardens to the west in Bucks County, PA, and Ice Land Skating Center to the north in Hamilton, NJ, we’re excited to add Igloo to our portfolio of ice rinks in the area,” said Murry Gunty, Founder and CEO of Black Bear. “The Jaguars are a very strong Tier-2 youth program and we look forward to finally providing Jaguars players the necessary pipeline to advance to their desired levels through our AAA Mercer Chiefs and Revolution Elite AAA youth programs along with our Junior Hockey teams in the Eastern Hockey League, North American Hockey League and USHL.”

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Penguin City Beer celebrates Phantoms

Murry Gunty’s Youngstown Phantoms honored with Penguin City Beer Can

Penguin City Beer, the official beer of the Youngstown Phantoms, will release a limited-edition can for the 2020 season.

The limited-edition can is a joint collaboration and will feature artwork by Youngstown Clothing Co. It will be available in select stores and at all home Phantoms games. The 12-ounce can won’t be available to purchase at Penguin City’s brewery. 

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Murry Gunty’s Black Bear Sports Group Acquires 12th Ice Arena

Murry Gunty's Black Bear Sports Group Acquires 12th Ice Arena

“Many talented hockey players and skaters call the Arena their home ice and we are excited for continued expansion in New Jersey”  – Murry Gunty

RANDOLPH, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)

An affiliate of Black Bear Sports Group, Inc. (“Black Bear” or the “Company”) has acquired Aspen Ice Arena in Randolph, NJ (the “Arena”). The Arena houses two NHL-size ice sheets, an exercise studio and is home to the New Jersey Freeze Youth Hockey Club, Delbarton School Green Wave, Randolph Rams High School and various other local high school and recreational hockey programs. Black Bear was founded by Murry Gunty in 2015.

​“Aspen Ice is a first-class facility and will be one of the premier rinks in our portfolio,” said Murry Gunty, CEO of Black Bear. “Many talented hockey players and skaters call the Arena their home ice and we are excited for continued expansion in New Jersey—one of the top hockey states in the country. Through our network of coaches and junior hockey teams, we offer players in our ice rinks a unique opportunity to advance from youth hockey to junior hockey and into college and beyond.”

Aspen Ice is the third acquisition for Black Bear in New Jersey. Black Bear also owns and operates Ice Land Skating Center in Hamilton, NJ, home of the Mercer Chiefs, and Jersey Shore Ice Arena in Wall, NJ, home of the Jersey Shore Wildcats.

“New Jersey is a hockey state,” said Ryan Scott, Vice President of Black Bear. “We are excited to bring our industry knowledge and hockey network to northern New Jersey. Youth hockey continues to expand in the area and the Arena is a proud partner of the New Jersey Devils’ Learn to Play program.”

About Black Bear Sports Group, Inc.
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 offerings. 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 has the ability to acquire healthy and stable arenas, but also to turn around under-managed or under-performing facilities. Black Bear currently owns and operates twelve arenas across the United States with a total of 22 sheets of indoor ice, two indoor turf fields, two youth hockey clubs and junior hockey franchises in the United States Hockey League, North American Hockey League and Eastern Hockey League.

Blackstreet Capital Holdings has acquired homebrewing supply retailer Northern Brewer from Anheuser-Busch InBev’s ZX Ventures

Blackstreet Capital Holdings has acquired homebrewing supply retailer Northern Brewer from Anheuser-Busch InBev’s ZX Ventures

Anheuser-Busch InBev’s innovation and growth division, ZX Ventures, has sold Minnesota-based homebrew supply retailer Northern Brewer to Blackstreet Capital Holdings LLC.

Financial terms of the transaction, which was announced in mid-July, were not disclosed.

“Since our investment in 2016 we’ve helped Northern Brewer make homebrewing easier and more accessible across the U.S.,” a ZX Ventures spokesperson told Brewbound via email. “We decided to sell Northern Brewer to Blackstreet Capital Holdings and wish them success in their new partnership to serve the homebrewing community for years to come.”

Blackstreet Capital Holdings, a Maryland-based holding company, is run by Murry Gunty, a self-described “investment professional” with 27 years of experience.

According to Gunty’s personal website, his Blackstreet Capital Holdings “rescues small- to mid-sized distressed companies.” The company’s website also states that it is not a private equity fund, but “a permanent holding company that seeks investments in debt and equity of lower middle market businesses or corporate orphans that are in out-of-favor industries or are undergoing some form of transition.”

In a press release announcing the sale, Gunty said the transaction returns Northern Brewer “to its roots as an independent supplier of high-quality kits, ingredients, and equipment.”

“We are excited to partner with Northern Brewer and to continue its tradition of serving the craft beer industry since 1993,” he added.

Northern Brewer operates brick-and-mortar stores in Minneapolis, St. Paul and Milwaukee. The company also runs a robust e-commerce business, selling ingredients and equipment homebrewers.

Kevin Kuby, Blackstreet Capital Holdings’ executive vice president, will serve as interim CEO of Northern Brewer.

Meeting the new boss

July 30, 2018 at 11:40p.m.
By GREG GULAS | The Vindicator

Youngstown Phantoms supporters met the junior hockey team’s new president Monday at the annual Sticks to Club golf outing at The Lake Club.

“The Phantoms, and the USHL in general, are all about providing young men the opportunity to play junior hockey while fulfilling their dreams of playing college hockey or being drafted by the NHL,” said Andrew Goldman, the new executive. “Events like this help to provide those components to the players.”

One-hundred-forty-four golfers participated and a banquet with a silent auction followed.

Bruce Zoldan remains co-owner of the team he created in 2009. Last month, Black Bear Sports Group purchased the 50 percent of the team that had been owned by Troy and Aafke Loney. Black Bear Sports Group is based in Maryland and was created in 2015.

Kevin Kuby, senior vice-president of operations, said, “We’re really excited about the opportunity to invest in the Youngstown Phantoms. We think it’s a great hockey club and we’re excited about partnering with Bruce as well.

“We feel that this club has a lot of opportunity for growth and it gives us an entree into the [USHL], which we’ve been looking for to augment our investment strategy.”

The Black Bear CEO is Murry Gunty.

“We’re honored to have this new group from the Washington, D.C. area,” Zoldan said. 

Murry Gunty has put together an outstanding group of former sports and business leaders as they are really connected and committed to hockey and ice arenas throughout the United States.”

“They own multiple rinks, a couple other hockey teams and have deep pockets.”

In March 2014, the Loneys purchased half of the Phantoms from Zoldan and ran the day-to-day operations.

Earlier this year, Loney, a former Pittsburgh Penguin forward and two-time Stanley Cup winner, took a pharmaceutical sales job that includes plenty of travel.

“I enjoyed my partnership and affiliation with Troy and Aafke,” Zoldan said. “Troy had a job offer that he couldn’t refuse.

“Black Bear Sports Group wants to see hockey sustain itself here, they want to see it grow and they would like to see the team be profitable, which I am going to work very hard with them to turn this into a successful business entity in the Mahoning Valley.”

Zoldan remains passionate about helping his players and is pleased with how the Sticks to Clubs outing has been embraced.

“I’ve been in the business the past 15 years or so with different hockey teams and never have I made a profit,” Zoldan said. “It’s always been the contribution to our community to have high level, young hockey here in Youngstown.

“The only goal I have, the mission I have is to get scholarships for these young men to go and play at an NCAA Division I school and knowing that they started out in Youngstown, Ohio.”

The recent NHL Draft saw three Phantoms selected. Goaltender Ivan Prosvetov (Arizona Coyotes) and forward Curtis Hall (Boston Bruins) were taken in the fourth-round and defenseman Michael Callahan was taken by the Coyotes in the fifth round.

In the spring, the Phantoms advanced to the USHL’s final series, the Clark Cup Finals, where they fell to the Fargo Force, 3-1.

“We’re looking to build off last year’s success,” head coach Brad Patterson said. “You get two more wins and we’re talking about a championship and that’s what you want to do at the start of the year.

“You want to put yourself in a position that you’re going to compete for a championship,” said Patterson who begins his third season as head coach. “That’s what we strive for and I like the group we have coming in.”

Patterson said the new owners have “been a great addition. They’ve come in, are very upbeat and positive and have brought a new energy around the rink so we’re really looking forward to the season.”

He also appreciates the support received from the golf outing.

“There’s a ton of support that comes through here,” Patterson said. “You see so many people that are familiar faces and who support us in different fashions, whether it’s through sponsorship or coming to the rink via tickets and that pays off.”

Murry Gunty – Distressed Investor

murry_gunty

Murry Gunty

Murry Gunty, an investment professional with over 27 years of experience, is the CEO of Blackstreet Capital Holdings.  

Blackstreet Capital Holdings focuses on rescuing small to mid-sized distressed companies. Including predecessor companies, Mr. Gunty has led investments in approximately 40 businesses with aggregate of well over $1 billion in revenue.

Murry Gunty has invested in excess of $1.7 billion of equity and subordinated debt capital in over 50 transactions in his career. He was formerly a General Partner of Jacobson Partners, L.P., a middle-market private equity fund focused on control buyouts of business with up to $150 million in revenue. Mr. Gunty is a former partner in the real estate principal investment area of Lazard Freres & Co., LLC, where he co-managed $3 billion of capital in real estate-related private equity funds. He is a former associate of the Blackstone Group.

Mr. Gunty received an AB from Harvard College and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

Black Bear Sports Group Acquires 11th Ice Arena

BusinessWire
March 04, 2019

Black Bear Sports Group, Inc. (“BBSG” or the “Company”) has acquired the Revolution Ice Gardens in Warminster, PA (the “Arena”). The Arena houses two NHL-size ice sheets and is home to the Philadelphia Revolution Hockey Club, the Lady Patriots Hockey Club and various local high schools. BBSG was founded by Murry Gunty in 2015.

“The Revolution Ice Gardens is the hockey hub of North Philadelphia and Bucks County,” said Murry Gunty, CEO of BBSG. “Under the direction of Chris Kanaly, this rink has produced world-class hockey players like NHL draft pick Cayden Primeau. We are excited to help Chris grow the programs and in particular, to now be able to offer local youth players at the Revolution Ice Gardens a path to college hockey through our network of USHL, NAHL and EHL junior hockey teams.”

“The Arena is the 11th ice rink (20 sheets of ice) purchased by BBSG along with its three junior hockey teams,” said Ryan Scott, Vice President of BBSG. “Revolution is a great complement to our existing rinks in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and we look forward to expanding our operations into Eastern PA.”

“Black Bear Sports Group owns junior hockey teams in the nation’s top leagues scouted by the NCAA and NHL,” said Chris Kanaly, General Manager of the Revolution Elite Youth Hockey Club. “The new affiliation between Revolution Youth Elite Hockey and Black Bear Sports Group creates a unique opportunity for our players to climb the ladder of development through junior hockey into college and pro that no other club in the city can offer.”

We wish BBSG great success in continuing the growth of ice sports in Bucks County,” said Phil and Devra Pulley, previous owners of the Arena and founders of the Revolution Hockey Club.

About Black Bear Sports Group, Inc.
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. Our arenas are clean and professionally managed and offer world-class recreational offerings. We focus on ice arenas in metropolitan areas with compelling demographics, markets with a National Hockey League club presence and arenas with existing youth hockey clubs. We have the ability to acquire healthy and stable arenas, but also to turn around under-managed or under-performing facilities. Black Bear currently owns and operates eleven arenas across the United States with a total of 20 sheets of indoor ice, two indoor turf fields, two youth hockey clubs and junior hockey franchises in the USHL, NAHL and EHL.

Contacts
Black Bear Sports Group, Inc.
Ryan Scott, 240-223-1338
[email protected]

Murry Gunty: “How do we keep making it better. How do you keep moving forward?”

In the 90-minute round trip between her home outside Baltimore where she was born and raised and Piney Orchard Ice Arena in Odenton, Robyn Remick has time to think.

She weighs the responsibility of turning the Maryland Black Bears hockey team into central Maryland’s “hometown” team.

“The beauty of a long commute is that it allows you to really reflect on, ‘What did I do well today?’ I'm beyond the point in my career where I need accolades,” said Remick, 57, who lives in Reisterstown with her husband, Allan, and daughter Emily.

After a 35-year career in sales and marketing in which she lived all across the country working for the likes of Disney and ESPN, Remick was hired in October as president of the Tier II junior hockey team, becoming the first female president in the North American Hockey League’s 24-year history.

“She could have taken much bigger jobs,” said Murry Gunty, the Maryland Black Bears owner, who saw a kindred spirit in Remick — an innovator willing to consider any idea (within reason) and sell a vision to a hockey fan base that already exists in Maryland. “She is qualified to run a professional team.”

On game nights, Remick can be found at the front door of the arena, greeting the roughly 300 fans who attend each home contest.

“I welcome every single fan who comes in, and I tell them ‘Thank you for coming’ when they leave,” she said. “That is part of the Disney culture, which is, ‘Welcome, we are happy you here.’ You can't ever take that for granted and I never will.”

Remick often hands out her business card and answers late-night texts from the billet families who host hockey players at their homes. “The mission statement of ESPN is to take care of the fan,” she said.

Remick has been “passionate” communicating with and sharing her appreciation for those families, who are scattered across the area, said billet coordinator Amanda Hafler.

“It makes it a lot easier being a billet when you have that support,” said Hafler, who hosts Luke Mountain, a forward from Minnesota.

“She goes above and beyond when it comes to the players,” said head coach Clint Mylymok. “She’s highly available for all of us (and) very aware of what we’re trying to do here.”

These are the details Gunty marveled at when he first met Remick last year and invited her to a home game. She immediately began walking around the rink taking notes.

“Those are the best leaders,” Gunty said. “Whatever we accomplished today is old news. How do we keep making it better. How do you keep moving forward?”

Remick’s sharp eye for entrepreneurial opportunities was honed at ESPN, where she served in four different executive positions for 12 years before leaving in 2016.

“You could say, ‘You know what would be cool — if we did this?’ and two weeks later it would be on the air. That does not happen pretty much anywhere,” she said.

Working at the popular sports network came with its share of struggles, though. “It is a testosterone-filled environment that makes it twice as hard for a woman to be heard and to be accepted,” she said of ESPN. “It's not like you have to act like a guy, but you have to know your stuff.”

Since joining the Black Bears, Remick has faced similar challenges — like being mistaken for Gunty’s wife, something she brushed off as being “part of what happens when you are a female president of the company.”

These kinds of interactions seem to not bother her and have never hindered her “need to succeed” as she put it. Whether it was working three jobs to graduate with a degree in journalism from the University of Maryland in 1983 or selling MTV packages to pious Mississippians who called the channel a “force of evil,” she never took no for an answer. Remick sees herself as an example for the next generation of sports executives, regardless of their gender.

Gunty, who owns more than 20 companies, many of which have female executives, said, “I just go for the best person, whoever that is. I hope that there comes a time in our country when everybody looks at it like that.”

Remick says she has had to recalibrate her expectations somewhat. She had a staff of 30 or more at ESPN — now she oversees three people. Before a recent game, Remick and an intern ventured out into several inches of snow to post yard signs.

“It had to be done,” she said. “I can’t call in my people to do that.”

Though she may not have the same budget, Remick still has grand plans, like installing a center-ice scoreboard and hosting a military appreciation night to both keep fans coming back and represent the community that sits in the shadow of Fort Meade.

“We want the team to reflect this area and that's service to country, service to each other,” she said. That includes the Black Bears players. “We want every player who comes into this organization to leave here better than we got them. And that's more than on the ice. I want them to be better men.”