The Los Angeles Kings have agreed to sell the Manchester Monarchs to a New England-based ownership group, a development that the average local hockey fan won’t notice, team president Matt Welch said on Tuesday.
“In the short term, no,” Welch said. “In the long term, they (the new owners) will bring new, fresh ideas that maybe we haven’t thought of before.”
The Kings and their ownership group, AEG, on Tuesday announced an agreement to sell the Monarchs to PPI Sports LLC, a Boston-based group led by Marc Casper. Described by Welch as a “diehard hockey fan,” Casper is the CEO of Thermo Fisher Scientific.
The sale is subject to approval by the ECHL Board of Governors, which is expected later this week. Welch declined to reveal the sale price.
Under the deal, the Monarchs will remain affiliated with the Kings. Welch, a Manchester native, will remain the team president, he said, and the front office and coaching staff, led by head coach Rich Seeley, will stay intact.
“Despite the transition of ownership, the Kings look forward to maintaining our relationship with the new ownership group of the Monarchs and continuing the development of LA Kings prospects in Manchester,” said Kings president Luc Robitaille, in a news release.
Said Casper, “We are extremely excited about the purchase of the Monarchs. As long-time residents of New England, we are proud of and committed to building upon Manchester’s great hockey tradition. We look forward to meeting and interacting with fans, working with the business community, and helping the greater Manchester area through the Monarchs Care Foundation.”
The purchasing group, according to the release, also includes John Nies (vice chairman) and Brian Cheek (CEO).
The Monarchs, about to embark on their second season in the 28-team ECHL after 15 years as an AHL team, were one of only two teams in the league owned by NHL franchises. The other is Adirondack, owned by the Calgary Flames.
The deal was initiated by Casper, said Welch. “PPI came to us. We received a phone call in February asking if the Kings were interested in selling. We said, ‘With the right situation, we’d be willing to look at it.’”
Welch said the team’s overall philosophy will change a bit. Under Kings ownership, the Monarchs during their AHL years developed players who went on to NHL greatness with Los Angeles.
“For many years, Manchester was all about (the Kings) winning Stanley Cups,” he said. And Manchester did its job, he noted, considering that the Kings won Cups in 2012 and 2014.
“Now it’s about the Monarchs,” he said. “It’s 100 percent about the Manchester Monarchs — and that’s a positive.”