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Arizona Coyotes Officially Announce New Owner

The Arizona Coyotes are now officially under new ownership, and the new boss says he’s committed to keeping NHL hockey in Arizona.

The closing of the transaction gives billionaire businessman Alex Meruelo controlling interest in the franchise from Andrew Barroway, who will keep a minority stake.

The 55-year-old Meruelo is the owner of Meruelo Group, a Los Angeles-based construction and real estate firm whose portfolio also includes TV, radio stations and Las Vegas casinos.

Meruelo, whose parents came from Cuba, becomes the only National Hockey League majority owner of Hispanic descent.

The Coyotes, who have tried unsuccessfully to move the team from Gila River Arena, have had an uncomfortable relationship with Glendale. But in a team statement, Meruelo said he looked forward to quote “helping hockey continue to thrive in the desert” and is committed to "providing our passionate fans, loyal partners and the entire State of Arizona with a team they can be proud of for years to come."

On Thursday, Meruelo dispelled rumors that he might want to move the Arizona Coyotes out of the state.

Meruelo said he wants to secure a new arena for his team here in Phoenix.

He hopes his story inspires others.

“Listen, I’m just a regular kid from Brooklyn, an Hispanic kid from Brooklyn, New York," he said. "So, if I can do it, anybody can do it. And, I really mean that. When people think this guy might want to move the team, no it’s a perfect fit for me. I believe that I have that I have to earn their trust and loyalty. That’s on me.”

The Coyotes have had numerous owners since moving to Arizona from Winnipeg in 1996.

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Phil Latzman is an award-winning digital journalist and broadcast professional with over 25 years of experience covering news and sports on a multitude of platforms.