Sports Illustrated's site has a big feature about owners. The big men, women, and/or groups who provide the money for our favorite teams to function as they are and to perform with the resources provided. Important figures. Bad, incompetent owners lead to potential bankruptcy and seemingly endless futility for a team. Good owners make/keep the team profitable and successful. With all the talk going on about the Phoenix Coyotes, it's a timely feature for SI.com to get out.
In any case, SI.com went ahead and named the five best owners and five worst owners in each of the major sports. See that haters, hockey is a major sport. Statement aside, the Devils' Jeffrey Vanderbeek has been listed as the second best owner in the NHL. something that should put a spring in his step as well as the fans. We don't just have the most success in recent memory among teams not named the Detroit Red Wings; we have the best owner among owners not named Mike Ilitch (a model of ownership success if there ever was one).
Vanderbeek was a former season ticket holder for the Devils in the 1980s and parlayed his wild success in the business world when he became a minority owner of the Devils since 2000 through the YankeesNets affiliate Puck Holdings. Hence, SI considers his ownership to begin in 2000. In any case, Vanderbeek bought the team outright in 2004, pushed and successfully secured a new arena in Newark (the Prudential Center) - something Puck Holdings wanted to do, but couldn't for one reason or another. Since then, the Devils have been making money and the team remains an annual contender in the league. And the Rock has been pretty good to him as well. Vanderbeek said back in December (as reported by Chere) that he expected for the Devils to continue making profit; who knows if it held true or if it's more than the $1.06 million that the NJSEA reported making with the Izod Center in the 2008 Fiscal Year.
If so, it's another reason for Vanderbeek and the Devils organization to be pleased. Either way, the Devils have become more valuable under Vanderbeek and with a fantastic arena to play in. What more could you ask for? Other than, well, the success of the Red Wings? Either way, I'm glad he's the owner the Devils and I hope he remains the owner for a long time - perhaps as long as the late Dr. John McMullen. Anyway, check out the whole feature and be amazed that no one from Phoenix made the "worst" list.