The Windsor Spitfires announced a major reshuffling of the team’s ownership group Thursday.
Minority owner Peter Dobrich sold his stake in the franchise while president and head coach Bob Boughner and vice-president and general manager Warren Rychel each sold a percentage of their holdings in the team to John Savage, Brian Schwab and Stephen Savage, of the Cypher Systems Group.
“It’s a substantial part,” said Boughner, who still holds a majority controlling stake in the franchise purchased back in 2006 although he would not reveal financial details of the sale.
John Savage will take on a vice-president’s role with the club, but said the new group will focus more on the business side of the franchise.
“We’re not the hockey guys,” said Savage, whose group also owns the junior B LaSalle Vipers and junior C Belle River Canadiens. “We’ll be engaged more on the business side.”
Boughner said since he bought the team with Rychel and Dobrich there have been inquiries every year from people looking to buy into the club.
“Since Day 1, before we won the championships, people have noticed we were a team on the rise and have talked about wanting to get a small percentage of the team,” Boughner said. “We weren’t just going to do it; it had to be the right situation.
“When you bring in people like this, they’ve built companies and have connections in the business community that we don’t.”
Discussions for the sale have been in the works for six-to-eight months and Dobrich said he always knew he would one day walk away.
“It was an investment and you always look at some point at getting out of your investment,” Dobrich said. “It’s been a baby for six-or-seven years and besides the championships, there’s also a legacy with the WFCU Centre.
“We have significantly increased the value of this team to one of the top in the CHL.”