Today’s guests on the Mitlin Money Mindset™ are Jon Ledecky co-owner of the New York Islanders and Len Potter part of the ownership group for the Seattle Kraken. Jon and Len have known each other for over 30 years and now are in the unique position of owning franchises that are part of the National Hockey League. Len and his team at the Kraken are in the process of putting together a team that will experience great success in the 2021-2022 season. While Jon and the New York Islanders are looking to return a rich tradition of winning to their franchise. Both are in the process of constructing new arenas and are passionate about the game of hockey and their local communities. Their respective franchises and arenas are so much more than just that, they’re going to be pillars for the community. Listen in as Len and Jon share their passion for the game of hockey, the Peconic Hockey Foundation, their fans, and their communities.
You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in…
- Jon & Len’s paths to becoming owners of NHL Franchises? [2:12]
- What was it that drew them to hockey? [4:01]
- How these teams are helping expand and grow the game of hockey? [6:38]
- Why is Peconic Hockey Foundation and having a rink on the East End important [12:10]
- What are your respective arenas going to have to serve their fan base? [17:51]
- Their favorite parts of their new arenas [24:15]
- The next steps for Len & Jon’s organizations [33:19]
- What do they see for the future of hockey and the growth of the game [40:55]
- What Len did today that put him in the right mindset for success? [46:32]
- What Jon did today that put him in the right mindset for success? [47:05]
The road to NHL ownerships for Len Potter & Jon Ledecky
Jon says he’s been very blessed in life and had an opportunity to become an entrepreneur. Len helped him take his company public which brought him great success and that afforded him the ability to become part of the National Hockey League in the late ‘90s with Ted Leonsis. He and Jon were partners in the Washington Capitals. This led him to where he is today, a co-owner of the New York Islanders. Jon says he’s excited to be part of the Islanders with — a great roommate from college— Scott Malkin, his co-owner. They’re both enjoying being part of the community.
Len’s path was a little bit different. He runs a family investment office for a guy named David Bonderman and David’s got a passion for sports and has long wanted to be a more significant owner of a team. When the opportunity came for him to buy a hockey team he called Len and said, you run the office, this is what we’re going to do. Go make it happen! So Len has spent the better part of the last three years working towards this goal of having a new franchise in Seattle. They will launch in the upcoming 20-21 season and will get to play the Islanders a couple of times a year!
Playing favorites with new arena features
Len’s favorite thing about the Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle is the fact that it sits so beautifully in the park and how the light comes in. There’s glass that comes into the bowl, which will have to be blocked at certain daytime events. It’s spectacular to look at. To be fair, Len says, he hasn’t been there in a year due to pandemic restrictions, so it’s just been pictures of the progress. From the outside, it just looks like the 1962 World’s Fair KeyArena with this square slanted odd-shaped roof that’s been landmarked. It’s beautiful in its own right but you’d never imagine that underneath it is this 800,000 square foot arena that holds 18,100 people. It sounds like the best of old and new combined into one fantastic facility.
For Jon, his favorite thing about the new UBS Arena at Belmont Park is its homage to New York. The entrance will remind you of the magnificence of Grand Central Station’s terminal, there’s the brick on the outside matching up with the old brick at Madison square garden, and we’ve taken things like the best bar in New York at St. Regis and used that as an inspiration for our suites. We’ve also taken other aspects of New York and tried to integrate them into this building as well so that when people from around the metropolitan area come in they will say, “Wow, this is my home!”
Joining the Peconic Hockey Foundation for a covered rink on the East End
People are living on the East End year-round putting their kids in school and need the facilities. It’s great for the sport of hockey, but more so, Jon says, is the need for recreation, the need to funnel kids and focus kids on positive outcomes, and hockey teaches them S.T.E.M. skills. When you shoot a puck and it rebounds off a board you’re teaching a kid physics, score-keeping, math, there are so many different things that a sport can help a child learn. It’s great to lace up and go play but if you can’t lace up and go play, how do you learn about the sport and how do you become a participant in it? Jon says “We need that facility in the East End. We are supporting it and I’m personally supporting it because I believe in it.”
As a member of the Peconic Hockey Foundation Board, we appreciate all of the tremendous support they’ve provided us in building a covered rink in Riverhead. Please join them and support it too (there’s a link below to make it easy to donate). All of the information needed to support the Peconic Hockey Foundation and to learn more about the New York Islanders and the Seattle Kraken can be found below.
Resources & People Mentioned
Connect with Seattle Kraken and New York Islanders
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LEONARD “LEN” A. POTTER
Len Potter is the President and Chief Investment Officer of Wildcat Capital Management, LLC (“Wildcat”), a registered investment advisor which he founded in September 2011. Wildcat acts exclusively as the investment office for David Bonderman, the Chairman and Founding Partner of TPG Capital, and certain affiliates of Mr. Bonderman. Prior to forming Wildcat, Len was a Managing Director – Private Equity and co-head of the private equity business for Soros Fund Management.
Len has served and continues to serve on a number of boards of public and private companies, including Hilton Grand Vacations (HGV), where he serves as Chairman of the Board, SLR Investment Corp. (SLRC), SLR Senior Investment Corp. (SUNS) and SuRo Capital Corp. (SSSS). Len has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brandeis University (’83) and a law degree from Fordham University School of Law (’86).
Len lives in Scarsdale, NY with his wife and three children. Len and his wife were co-founders and serve on the Board of Directors of the Basser Center at the University of Pennsylvania, a translational research and treatment center focused on BRCA related cancers.
Jon Ledecky is co-owner of the New York Islanders in the National Hockey League.
Jon Ledecky is a private equity investor who has been the co-founder or initial investor in companies that have raised over $20 billion in financing. Jon founded U.S. Office Products in 1994 and by 1997 the Company had become the fastest entrant ever in the history of the Fortune 500 with annualized sales of nearly $4 billion. U.S. Office Products owned Mailboxes, Etc. (now the UPS Store) and several other brands that eventually became independent public and private companies. He has served on over 20 public company boards.
Jon Ledecky’s initial foray into professional sports ownership occurred in 1999 when with partner Ted Leonsis he bought the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League and an interest in the Washington Wizards of the National Basketball Association. Jon later sold his partnership interest and started a foundation that dedicated itself to the education of inner-city children in Boston, New York, and Washington.
Jon is an honors graduate of Harvard College and also graduated from Harvard Business School. Jon served on the National Commission on Entrepreneurship and at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He has also been honored as the Anti-Defamation League Man of the Year and was the International Franchise Association’s “Free Enterprise Award” winner.
His niece Katie Ledecky won the 800-meter freestyle swimming gold medal at the age of 15 at the 2012 London Olympic Games and won four gold medals and a silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Jon is a Trustee of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Foundation.
Guests on the Mitlin Money Mindset Show are not affiliated with CWM, LLC, and opinions expressed herein may not be representative of CWM, LLC. CWM, LLC is not responsible for the guest’s content linked on this site.
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