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Jul 06th
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Stanley Cup's real winner is neither Kings nor the Devils

The National Hockey League was once jokingly known as the Norris House League. During the days of the six team league between 1942 and 1967, the Norris family owned the Detroit Red Wings and the Detroit Olympia arena and had controlling interest in the Chicago Stadium and Madison Square Garden. Jim Norris wasn't the majority owner of the Chicago Blackhawks or the New York Rangers but he had significant control over the franchises. Norris made more money with the circus at the Garden than New York Rangers playoff games and forced the team to play "home" games on the road in places like Toronto.

Anschutz hasn't pushed the Devils out of the building for a concert or the circus.

Jim Norris was considered the most power man in the NHL. Phil Anschutz is probably the most powerful man in today's NHL. There is a tale which has never been confirmed that Anschutz told Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider during the 2004-05 National Hockey League lockout when Snider wanted to end the lockout and play that Snider should shut up and that Anschutz would not only buy out Snider's Flyers but the other 28 NHL owners.

Anschutz has experience running multiple teams in a league. He and his AEG company have been involved with six different Major League Soccer franchises including the one that now plays in Harrison, N.J.

Anschutz has a number of minor league hockey teams in the United States, two hockey teams in Sweden and two in Germany. Anschutz's AEG has taken over the Tour of California bike race from Shelly Saltman and David Salzman although they are still involved with the race.

Anschutz also has a piece of the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association. Anschutz's London arena hosted a pair of NBA regular season games in 2011 when the New Jersey Nets played the Toronto Raptors at the AEG venue.

Anschutz's AEG is attempting to build a football stadium around his LA Live property to house a National Football League team. His planned stadium has not passed muster with the NFL because of the way a potential lease has been presented.

Anschutz and AEG would build a facility and basically take most of the revenues from the team to pay off the debt on the stadium or take an equity position with the franchise such as the deal that is structured between the Lakers and AEG’s LA arena.

No matter, Anschutz is involved with the NHL, MLS, the NBA, the 2012 London Olympics, arenas in Los Angeles, Newark, Kansas City, Brooklyn and others around the world. There are concerts as well. Whether the Los Angeles Kings win or lose, Phil Anschutz has had the best year in the NHL and Anschutz probably will be a major force in the upcoming National Hockey League and National Hockey League Players Association collective bargaining negotiations. When Anschutz, who doesn’t say much publicly, talks sports, people stop and listen.

Therefore, Phil Anschutz is the winner of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Evan Weiner, the winner of the United States Sports Academy's 2010 Ronald Reagan Media Award, is an author, radio-TV commentator and speaker on "The Politics of Sports Business." His book, "The Business and Politics of Sports, Second Edition" is available at and Amazon.


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