Former NLL Commissioner and Union CEO Joining Arizona Coyotes
Let’s get it back to hockey with a random bit of Philly-related news:
Personnel News: Arizona Coyotes name former National Lacrosse League Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz as Chief Business Officer, the club announced. In the newly-created position, Sakiewicz will oversee sales and marketing for the Coyotes and report to team President Xavier Gutierrez.
— Mark J. Burns (@markjburns88) March 8, 2022
Sakiewicz was the Philadelphia Union CEO before taking the NLL Commissioner gig, where he oversaw the return of the Wings. He was with the Philadelphia-based NLL for about five seasons and grew the league’s broadcasting deal while adding a few expansion teams and navigating the pandemic at the same time. He did a solid job running that league.
Interestingly enough, Nick was key in getting two MLS stadiums built – Red Bull Arena up in Harrison and Subaru Park in Chester. That’s one thing he’s been really good at over the years. Coincidentally, the Coyotes are in an arena pickle out there in the desert, and recently announced they were moving to a new facility at Arizona State on a temporary basis, a facility that only holds 5,000 fans. We wrote about it in a recent story titled The Arizona Coyotes are an Embarrassment and the NHL Should be Embarrassed, citing ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski:
The Coyotes announced on Thursday that they’ve reached an agreement with Arizona State University to play at the Sun Devils’ new multipurpose arena beginning in the 2022-23 season. The team said it will play all its home games at the venue through the 2024-25 season, with an additional option for the 2025-26 season.
The team needed a new home. They’re in the last year of their lease at Gila River Arena, and the city of Glendale declared that the 2021-22 season will be the team’s last in the building, ending a contentious relationship.
The Coyotes targeted ASU as a temporary option that would keep the team in the Valley of the Sun as it negotiates a new arena in Tempe. Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo submitted a $1.7 billion arena and entertainment complex plan to the Tempe City Council in Sept. 2021, but it hasn’t been voted on yet.
This seems like a curious move for Nick, who is a New Jersey native and east coast guy. The tweet says he’ll oversee sales and marketing, but also notes that the job is newly-created, which makes me wonder. If the team needs help navigating a new arena deal, then Sakiewicz really has a lot of experience on that front. He could probably get the ball rolling on putting that franchise in a respectable barn.