YOUNGSTOWN, OH – Black Bear Sports Group, Inc. (“Black Bear”), owner of the Maryland Black Bears NAHL franchise, has acquired the co-ownership position in the Youngstown Phantoms of the United States Hockey League owned by Troy and Aafke Loney. The Zoldan family retained their existing co-ownership of the team and the Phantoms will remain in Youngstown. Black Bear, led by CEO and Founder Murry Gunty, is a Maryland-based sports and entertainment company that owns and operates ice arenas, junior hockey franchises and youth sports events. Mr. Gunty is also the majority owner of SuperSeries AAA, a leading organizer or AAA youth hockey tournaments and tournament travel teams in North America.
Black Bear worked closely with Phantoms Fireworks owner, Bruce Zoldan to complete the transaction. Mr. Gunty will serve as Chairman of the Phantoms and has named his SuperSeries partner, NHL veteran and longtime Philadelphia Flyers captain, Keith Primeau, as Vice Chairman. “We are thrilled to be part of the USHL family and to partner with Bruce Zoldan, his family, Bill Weimer and the rest of the Phantoms family” said Mr. Gunty. “The USHL is recognized across the globe as one of the world’s top junior hockey leagues. No league sends more players to college hockey than the USHL and that will continue to be our top priority in Youngstown. The addition of a USHL team to our family of NAHL, EHL and youth AAA programs is monumental for our players and ice rinks across the United States. ”
The NAHL Black Bears, Team Maryland EHL and its network of AAA youth teams including Team Maryland and the Mercer Chiefs, will operate in partnership with the Phantoms creating a ladder of development for our players. In addition to youth and junior teams, Black Bear Sports Group owns and operates nine ice rinks across the country.