NORFOLK, Va. - Ardon Wiener, the new president of the Norfolk Admirals, is just 27 years old. Owning a pro sports franchise at that age is a big move. However, Wiener says that's the only "big move" Admirals fans should expect.
In a press conference Monday, Wiener and his business partner Michael Gargy reaffirmed their commitment to Hampton Roads.
"We love the Norfolk market," Wiener said. "We're here, only committed to the Admirals, purely focused on them," Gargy added. "We're committed to keeping the team in Norfolk and working with the Norfolk community. Our energy is going to be here."
The pair of New Yorkers, as part of Mango Media Group, purchased the Admirals from the Oilers Entertainment Group last month. They've made their money in real estate finance. After several years of instability with Norfolk's hockey team, News 3 wanted to know how quick, and expensive, is the fix with the Admirals?
"We specialize in turning around mismanaged assets," Wiener said. "You have to be willing to invest time and money and recognize where the shortfalls are. Given the recent roller coaster past two years, there's been a decent amount of mismanagement. There's no quick and easy solution to the problems. We have long-term focuses. We will take a very methodical approach to the team and wherever we feel money needs to be invested, we will invest. This is a long-term thing. Nothing changes overnight."
Self-admittedly sports fans, but not experts in hockey coaching and strategy, Wiener and Gargy are here to execute their business model - just in the sports realm.
"We'd been looking to get into sports for a couple years now. When we saw the opportunity for the Admirals, we had very few questions. We love how this is the only professional winter sport in the market."
The Admirals, an affiliate of the NHL's Edmonton Oilers, play in the ECHL - the premier "AA" hockey league in the United States.