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Devils looking for business exec to let Lamoriello focus on hockey

Devils looking for business exec to let Lamoriello focus on hockey

By Tripp Mickle, Staff Writer

Published

The New Jersey Devils plan to hire their first executive of business operations, relieving longtime president, CEO and general manager Lou Lamoriello of business responsibilities and freeing him to focus exclusively on hockey operations.

The move marks a significant change for the club and is driven by owner Jeff Vanderbeek’s desire to increase club revenue in two-year-old Prudential Place in Newark. The team averaged 15,790 spectators in the building this season, 89 percent of capacity, despite having a team that qualified for the Stanley Cup playoffs for the 12th consecutive season, the NHL’s second-longest active streak behind Detroit.

The Devils have hired the executive search firm James & Co. to fill the position. The club is looking for someone with extensive experience managing a sports franchise’s business operations.

Most franchises across the NHL separate business and hockey operations and have them managed by two different executives. New Jersey, the Carolina Hurricanes and Minnesota Wild have been among the few that didn’t. The Devils have been managed by Lamoriello since 1987, when he was named president. He later named himself general manager. 

“This is absolutely necessary,” said Len Perna, president of Turnkey Sports & Entertainment, which does executive searches for sports franchises. “They have tremendous potential, the building is beautiful and there are a lot of assets to tap into once they get a person in there whose only focus is on driving revenue.”

Lamoriello will continue to represent the Devils at board of governors meetings and sit on the league’s executive committee.

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