#25: Murry Gunty’s Black Bear Sports Group Acquires Howell Ice Arena

Image of Howell Ice Arena

#25: Murry Gunty's Black Bear Sports Group Acquires Howell Ice Arena

Black Bear's 2nd Jersey Shore ice rink, 9th in New Jersey

An affiliate of Black Bear Sports Group has acquired Howell Ice Arena in Howell, NJ. The Monmouth County-based ice skating rink features two ice sheets, a snack bar and a pro shop. Over 500 local youth and high school hockey players use the Arena as their home ice rink.

“We are excited to add another ice arena in the Jersey Shore region to our portfolio,” said Murry Gunty, Founder and CEO of Black Bear. “We now have the foundation to create one of the strongest Tier II clubs in the state as well as the ability to develop a first class organization that plays AAA level competition that finally serves the needs of our families in that part of New Jersey."

Black Bear, which is based in Maryland, also owns and operates the Jersey Shore Arena in Wall and the Jersey Shore Wildcats youth hockey club. The company also announced the formation of the Atlantic Hockey Federation, a Tier II hockey league in the mid-Atlantic region.

“With our Jersey Shore Arena three-rink facility just five miles away, we expect to accommodate all of our existing customers’ needs and deliver higher-quality programming to the community with the two rinks working together,” Ryan Scott, vice president, said in a statement. “We expect to build on the strong foundation of figure skating and hockey at Howell Ice Arena and bring more tournaments and competitions to the area, including AHF showcases next season.”

Murry Gunty, Founder of Black Bear, announces 23rd Arena acquisition

Murry Gunty Announces Acquisition of Twin Ponds East Arena


Twin Ponds East Arena in Harrisburg, PA is the latest acquisition by an affiliate of Black Bear Sports Group. Featuring two NHL ice sheets and one smaller training sheet, pro shop, a café, and athletic turf designed for baseball training, the Arena is home to many figure skaters and youth hockey players in the area. They are frequently hosts to youth hockey tournaments and central Pennsylvania middle school and high school games throughout the year.

Black Bear, founded by CEO Murry Gunty in 2015, is the largest owner/operator of ice rinks in the U.S.

“Twin Ponds fits perfectly in our network of ice rinks including York, PA, Northern Maryland, Delaware and the Philadelphia region and in particular this rink will be a great fit for our new league, the Atlantic Hockey Federation and for our tournament businesses.” – Murry Gunty, Founder & Managing Partner of Blackstreet Capital

Formed by Black Bear Sports Group Partners alongside Ice Arena Owners, the Atlantic Hockey Federation is an elite tier-II youth hockey league that facilitates games throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. The league has more than 225 teams.

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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


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, 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.