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.

Black Bear Sports Group Acquires 11th Ice Arena

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.

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.”

Murry Gunty’s Black Bear Sports Group keeps gobbling up hockey rinks

Crain’s Chicago Business
April 09, 2018

An East Coast investor that has been buying up skating rinks in the Chicago area has cut its fourth deal here, buying out the longtime owners of a facility in southwest suburban Crestwood.

Black Bear Sports Group said it has taken over the Southwest Ice Arena from the DiCristina family, which has owned the property since 1975. Chevy Chase, Md.-based Black Bear has been investing heavily in hockey rinks here, buying the Seven Bridges Ice Arena in Woodridge in 2016 and last year acquiring American Heartland Ice Arena in Lincolnwood and Center Ice of DuPage in Glen Ellyn.

With the rising popularity of youth hockey, skating rinks look like a growth sector. For the 2016-17 season, 31,574 Illinois players were registered with USA Hockey, the sport’s governing body, up from about 24,000 before the Blackhawks won the 2010 Stanley Cup.

But hockey rinks are expensive to operate, and several in the Chicago area have run into financial trouble the past several years. Black Bear’s predecessor, Blackstreet Capital Holdings, bought Seven Bridges out of foreclosure.

Black Bear often seeks out rinks that need additional investment, whether it involves overhauling refrigeration equipment or fixing up locker rooms. Owners of many privately held older rinks have either been unable or unwilling to spend the money needed to maintain the properties, creating an opportunity for an investor that can and will.

At Southwest, built in 1972, Black Bear plans to invest in new mechanical equipment and make some cosmetic improvements, ultimately spending $1 million over time, said founder and CEO Murry Gunty.

“This fits with our model of buying older facilities that need some money to bring them up to modern standards,” said Gunty, a former investment banker and private-equity executive who founded Black Bear in 2015.

He declined to say how much Black Bear paid for the arena at 5505 127th St., just west of the intersection of Interstate 294 and South Cicero Avenue. The property includes a full-sized hockey rink and a studio rink.

“Due to the age of (Southwest Ice Arena) I believe this was the best decision for the rink moving forward, knowing that major capital improvements will be addressed as they are needed,” rink owner Frank DiCristina wrote on the arena’s Facebook page. “Black Bear will embark on capital improvement projects which will extend the life of SIA for years to come.”

DiCristina will join Black Bear as a vice president in charge of the firm’s four Chicago-area rinks. DiCristina, who did not return a call, has worked in the rink business for more than three decades.

“One of the most attractive parts of the deal is we get Frank,” Gunty said.

Black Bear also aims to reach a long-term ice rental agreement with the St. Jude Knights, the youth hockey organization based at Southwest, he said.

Gunty’s entry into the rink business a few years ago was serendipitous. His private-equity firm, Blackstreet Capital, which specializes in buying and fixing distressed companies, was simply being opportunistic when it decided to pursue the opportunity to buy Seven Bridges out of foreclosure.

“We didn’t approach it as a plan to build a hockey business,” Gunty said. “We just thought we found a great deal.”

But Gunty, who played hockey as a boy and coaches his sons, decided that he could build something bigger. The firm owns nine rinks now, including five in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland, and Gunty said he aims to buy more.

But it has been a risky business, especially for groups that have built expensive new rinks in the past decade or so. Unable to cover their high debt costs, the Leafs Ice Center in West Dundee and International Ice Centre in Romeoville both wound up in foreclosure. The Romeoville property, which has three sheets of ice, was sold in 2011 for $3.7 million after being hit with an $18 million foreclosure suit.

“A brand-new facility is not able to charge any more than a dumpy old facility,” Gunty said. “The rink business is much like the luxury hotel business—you don’t want to be the first owner. You want to be the second or third owner.”

Murry Gunty’s Black Bear Sports Group Acquires Tenth Ice Arena

Business Wire
August 29, 2018

Black Bear Sports Group, Inc. (“BBSG” or the “Company”) has acquired the Milford Ice Pavilion in Milford, CT (the “Arena”). The Arena houses one NHL-size ice sheet and is home to the Southern Connecticut Stars Youth Hockey Association and various local high schools. BBSG was founded by Murry Gunty in 2015.

“We’re thrilled to expand our operations into the strong hockey and skating communities of southern Connecticut,” said Murry Gunty, CEO of BBSG. “We look forward to continuing the strong partnerships in place with the local users in Milford.”

The Arena is the tenth ice rink purchased by BBSG along with its three Junior Hockey teams. Other ice rink holdings include Seven Bridges Ice Arena in Woodridge, IL; American Heartland Ice Arena in Lincolnwood, IL; Center Ice of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, IL; Southwest Ice Arena in Crestwood, IL; Piney Orchard Ice Arena in Odenton, MD; Ice World in Abingdon, MD; Ice Land Skating Center in Hamilton Township, NJ; Jersey Shore Ice Arena in Wall Township, NJ; and Printscape Arena at Southpointe in Canonsburg, PA.

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 ten arenas across the United States with a total of 18 sheets of indoor ice, two indoor turf fields, two youth hockey clubs and three junior hockey franchises in the USHL, NAHL and EHL.

Black Bear Sports Group, Inc.
Murry Gunty, 240-223-1333

Total Domination: Black Bear Sports Group purchases fourth area ice rink

Business Wire
April 9, 2018

Black Bear Sports Group Inc. has acquired Southwest Ice Arena in Crestwood.

The Arena houses one NHL-size ice sheet, one smaller practice rink and the Pal’s Corner Cafe. Black Bear also said the seller, Frank DiCristina, will join its operations team. He has joined the company as vice president of operations and will oversee all four BBSG ice rinks in the Chicago area.

“We’re thrilled to be investing in the strong hockey and skating community of southwest Chicago,” said Murry Gunty, CEO of BBSG. “The addition of Mr. DiCristina to our team is extremely valuable. He brings tremendous experience and knowledge backed by his family’s 43-year ownership of the Arena.”

“I am excited to be a part of the BBSG team and will use my 30+ years of ice rink management experience to oversee the Chicago arenas,” DiCristina said.

The Arena is the ninth ice rink purchased by BBSG. Other ice rink holdings include Seven Bridges Ice Arena in Woodridge, American Heartland Ice Arena in Lincolnwood, Center Ice of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Piney Orchard Ice Arena in Odenton, Maryland; Ice World in Abingdon, Maryland; Ice Land Skating Center in Hamilton Township, New Jersey; Jersey Shore Ice Arena in Wall Township, New Jersey and Printscape Arena at Southpointe in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania.

Black Bear Sports Group Inc. is a privately held company formed by Murry Gunty in 2015 that seeks investments in sports and entertainment facilities and youth sports events.

Murry Gunty’s Black Bear Sports Group buys into Youngstown Phantoms

By Tom Williams
The Vindicator
June 9, 2018


One day after the team’s first alumnus raised the Stanley Cup in celebration, the Youngstown Phantoms have new co-owners.

After overseeing the Phantoms for the past four USHL seasons, Troy and Aafke Loney announced on Friday that they have sold their half of the franchise. Running the team day-to-day will be Keith Primeau, who, like Troy Loney, played 15 seasons in the NHL.

Primeau is the vice chairman of Black Bear Sports Group, Inc., which purchased the Loneys’ stake in the nine-year-old franchise. Bruce Zoldan, Phantoms Fireworks CEO, owns the other half of the team.

Black Bear is a Maryland-based sports and entertainment company that owns and operates ice arenas, junior hockey franchises and youth sports events. Its CEO, Murry Gunty, is the majority owner of SuperSeries AAA, a leading organizer or AAA youth hockey tournaments and tournament travel teams.

“I am excited to join the Phantoms and look forward to building on the team’s successes from last season,” Primeau said. “Having had two of my boys play in the USHL, I have a strong appreciation for just how competitive the league is and how it prepares players for NCAA and pro hockey.”

The announcement comes a day after the Washington Capitals won the Stanley Cup. Nathan Walker, a Phantom for four months in 2013, was on the Capitals roster and was given the Stanley Cup to raise over his head during the postgame on-ice celebration.

“We will always cherish the relationships we have built here in Youngstown, both personal and business,” said the Loneys, adding that they “are confident Youngstown will welcome the new ownership team just as we were welcomed into this awesome city.”

Zoldan created the Youngstown Phantoms in 2009 after folding the Mahoning Valley Phantoms of the North American Hockey League. The team became the primary sports tenant of the then-Chevrolet Centre (now Covelli Centre). The arena’s first two sports tenants — the Youngstown SteelHounds of the Central Hockey League and the Mahoning Valley Thunder of af2 — closed up shop in 2008 and 2009, respectively.

“We are thrilled to be part of the USHL family and to partner with Bruce Zoldan,” Gunty said. “No league sends more players to college hockey than the USHL and that will continue to be our top priority in Youngstown.”

In March 2014, Zoldan announced that the Loneys had purchased half of his franchise and would take over running the day-to-day operations of the junior hockey league team.

In their four seasons as co-owners, the Phantoms made the Clark Cup Playoffs three time. In the 2014-15 season, the Phantoms won the Anderson Cup for producing the best record in the regular season.

In 2015, Phantoms head coach Anthony Noreen left for the ECHL’s Orlando Solar Bears. The Loneys replaced him with John Wroblewski who coached for one season, then left for the U.S. National Development Program.

Jason Koehler, the Phantoms’ assistant general manager, was promoted to GM when Noreen left.

In June 2016, Brad Patterson, a Phantoms assistant coach since 2010, replaced Wroblewski as head coach.

Last month, the Phantoms won the Eastern Conference and qualified for the Clark Cup Final for the first time. The Phantoms lost to the Fargo Force, 3-1.

“Our new partners bring experience and expertise to this organization that we expect will have a positive impact on the team and the community,” Zoldan said.

Murry Gunty and Printscape Imaging and Graphics Overhaul the Arena at Southpointe

Murry Gunty

March 9, 2018 – Murry Gunty and Printscape Imaging and Graphics are going all out to make sure the renovated Printscape Arena at Southpointe has a revitalized aesthetic for the family-focused facility.

Working with Murry and Black Bear Sports Group, Inc., Printscape was given a unique opportunity that they we’re not entirely familiar with. Printscape Imaging and Graphics in Pittsburgh typically outputs graphics and signage for other brands, but this new opportunity required massive prints of the shop’s own logo. Printscape obtained naming rights to the local ice and sports arena and used a plethora of their wide-format printers to create exterior and interior signage that would rebrand the entire facility with its new aesthetic. The installation took two weeks and included 3500 square feet of printed signage.