The NWHL announced Monday morning that the Minnesota Whitecaps and Buffalo Beauts have been sold to two of the league’s Board of Governors.
NLTT Ventures, LLC, headed by Andy Scurto and Neil Leibman, purchased the final two teams under the Women’s Hockey Partners umbrella, thus making all six teams owned by independent entities.
That doesn’t necessarily mean WHP’s influence won’t be at least partially felt. In fact, Scurto, who will be Governor of the Beauts, most recently served as the entity’s president, while Leibman (who will oversee the Whitecaps) is a longtime investor.
The fact that both have been involved with the NWHL for a number of years now is definitely a positive, as it shows their commitment to growing the league and expanding the platform and opportunities for each of these teams to flourish. Not to mention, private ownership means more capital for each team, leading to more potential for salaries, training facilities, and other resources that are a standard in men’s leagues — and with Leibman also having a stake in MLB’s Texas Rangers, it’s safe to say there’s some know-how as to what that entails.
Interestingly, as per the press release Monday, the ownership group will not be allowed to hold onto both teams forever. Instead, any owner who has stake in more than one team will have to divest until only one team is theirs, meaning we could see another press release like this down the line. However, it’s worth noting that there is no specified timeframe for that divestment, meaning it could be one year or five (or more) before we see any of these teams under new ownership.
This marks the second time the Beauts have been under private ownership after Pegula Sports & Entertainment owned the organization from 2017 to 2019. The Whitecaps, co-founded by current head coach Jack Brodt and Dwayne Schmidgall, were independent prior to their acquisition by the NWHL. Brodt remains general manager and also retains his coaching position alongside Ronda Curtin Engelhardt.