If as expected the sale of the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks closes on Dec. 31, Michael Kramer, a 52-year-old native of Los Angeles who has been described by one of his former professors as “a rock star in the world of finance,” will be one of the new owners.
The Winterhawks are planning a news conference at which it will be announced that Kerry Preete, a native of Melfort, Sask., and Kramer have purchased the franchise out of receivership for US$5,850,000.
Preete, 60, spent more than 30 years with Monsanto, and was its executive vice-president and chief strategy officer when it was sold to Bayer A.G., in 2018.
Kramer, who has a bachelor’s degree in finance from California State U Northridge (CSUN), lives in New Canaan, Conn. He is the CEO and founding partner of Ducera Partners LLC, an investment bank. As such, he has been involved in some monster deals.
Ducera advised Monsanto in the US$70-billion deal in which it was purchased by Bayer. Yahoo!finance reported in 2016, two years before the deal was completed, that “approximately $100 to $110 million in fees are expected to be divvied up between lead adviser Ducera and Morgan Stanley for their sell-side advisory roles, according to estimates by consultant Freeman & Co.”
Ducera also was involved in the restructuring or sales of iHeart Radio ($20 billion) and Nieman Marcus ($5 billion), among others.
Kramer also has been described as having been “the architect” of the sales of such professional franchises as the Dallas Stars, New Jersey Devils and Texas Rangers.
If you’re wondering just what it is that Kramer does, he explained during a speaking engagement at CSUN in 2019 how he handled a project involving Hostess Brands in 2012.
As Olivia Herstein of CSUN Today reported, Kramer told his audience:
“It’s the great American icon, the Twinkie. We can’t live without our Twinkies. Seven years ago, I was called by the board of Hostess. They said, ‘We’re having a lot of financial trouble, we’re running out of money — we don’t know how we’re going to continue. Can you come in and help us think through this?’
“When I, or any investment banker, gets involved in these transactions, it is usually a multi-year process. It’s not two or three weeks. In that situation, we had to figure out how to restructure the company. They had approximately 42 different union contracts! Two of the primary unions were the International Teamsters and the Bakers (the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International). So, I got to spend six months of my life, going three or four days a week down to D.C., to the headquarters of the Teamsters, negotiating with their most senior leaders.
“We actually cut a deal. The Teamsters were an incredibly tough counterpart, but we cut a deal. Unfortunately we weren’t as successful with the Baker’s Union. We were forced to totally shut the company down — that was me, I’m the guy who took away Twinkies for a few months. About six months later, we sold the company for approximately $1 billion. In many ways, that’s what we deal with all the time. It was a success in the price we were able to receive for the assets, but a failure in some respects, because a lot of people lost their jobs.”
Meanwhile, thanks to Joshua Critzer’s reporting on Twitter (@jjcritzer), we know that Mike Johnston, the vice-president, general manager and head coach, and Kyle Gustafson, the assistant GM and associate, will remain with the Winterhawks. Critzer also reported that Doug Piper, the franchise’s president and governor, will be staying put.
Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, lives in the Washington, D.C., area. Of late, it seems that he has been trying to find some morning listening on the ol’ wireless. Here he is, trying to explain his adventure as only he can:
“I have tried for a couple of months to warm up to the current morning show on ESPN Radio. I decided about a week ago that was never going to happen. Jay Williams is the only one of the three hosts who ever says anything that is thought-provoking and among the three, he is generally the silent partner. As of now, I will only listen to these three guys in the morning if my alternatives are NPR’s Morning Edition and a televangelist preaching in some unknown language.
“This restricts my morning radio options in the DC area significantly. There are two other options. One is called The Sports Junkies — a show featuring 4 insufferably uninteresting people sharing inside jokes and ‘frat boy banter.’ The other option is the Kevin Sheehan Show which is now going to be my morning aural experience. I arrived at that position by selecting the least worst option available to me.”
“The Gonzaga-Baylor men’s basketball game featuring the 1-2 teams in the country was scuttled by positive tests in the Bulldogs’ camp,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “In a related story, COVID-19 was just voted No. 1 in the latest AP poll.”
The Onion: Taylor Swift Fans Furious After Artist Excluded From ESPN’s List Of Best NBA Players Of 2020.
So . . . Michael Jordan has a new golf course — The Grove XXIII — in Hobe Sound, Fla., and it uses drones to deliver beverages. Why drones? Well, as Nick Piastowski of Golf.com, points out: “He was Michael ‘Air’ Jordan. Not Michael ‘Beer Cart’ Jordan. Not Michael ‘Hot Dog at the Turn’ Jordan.”
The 2021 Kamloops Kidney Walk will be held virtually, as it was in June. Yes, Dorothy will be taking part, as she has since 2014. . . . She already has registered and her granddaughters, Averi and Kara, have joined her team. If you are interested in making a donation — perhaps you are looking for a tax receipt for this year’s filing — you are able to do so right here.
COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .
Bartley Kives, CBC Manitoba: Manitoba announced 273 new cases of COVID-19 and 7 more deaths on Sunday. . . . Active cases: 5,728 (overstated due to backlog in calling patients to designate active cases as recovered). . . . Total caseload: 21,023. . . . Recovered: 14,805. . . . Deaths: 490. . . . In hospital: 304, and In ICU: 43 (Understated. Both these counts do not include long-term COVID patients who are no longer contagious but still require hospital care.) . . . Five-day test-positivity rate: 13.5 per cent. . . . Tests completed Saturday: 2,145.
CTV News: There have been 222 new cases of COVID-19 and three related deaths reported in Saskatchewan in the past 24 hours.
CBC News: Alberta reports 1,717 new COVID-19 cases as well as a record 22 deaths.
B.C.: More crickets.
CBC News: Ontario is reporting 1,677 cases of #COVID19 and nearly 58,200 tests completed. Locally, there are 456 new cases in Toronto, 356 in Peel and 143 in York Region. There are 1,678 more resolved cases.
CBC News: Quebec reported 1,994 new cases of COVID-19 and 33 more deaths.
CBC News: Nova Scotia is reporting 6 new cases of COVID-19. All of the new cases have been traced back to previously reported cases or travel outside Atlantic Canada.
CBC News: N.B. reports 2 new cases of COVID-19, both in Fredericton region.
BNO News: 16,987 COVID deaths were reported in the U.S. this week, making it the deadliest week on record.
Ryan Struyk, CNN: 299,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus.
Ryan Struyk, CNN: 16.2 million people in the United States have tested positive for coronavirus.
Pierre Lacroix, a former general manager of the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, died on Sunday in Las Vegas. According to Le Journal de Quebec, he died due to COVID-19 complications. He was 72. . . .
Offensive line coach John Benton of the San Francisco 49ers missed their Sunday game with Washington in Glendale, Ariz., after testing positive. This was the 49ers’ first positive test since they were forced to relocate to Glendale.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
Living Kidney Donor Program
St. Paul’s Hospital
6A Providence Building
1081 Burrard Street
Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6
Toll free: 1-877-922-9822
Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney
Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre
Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street
Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9
604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182
Or, for more information, visit right here.
JUST NOTES: F Štěpán Novotný, who played in the WHL with the Kelowna Rockets and Swift Current Broncos (2008-11), has retired due to concussions. The MacBeth Report tweeted that he “suffered his fourth concussion in 10 years in a game against Liberec on March 3.” . . . The BCHL’s Penticton Vees appear to have lost F Quinn Hutson to the USHL’s Muskegon Lumberjacks. His name now is on the Lumberjacks’ roster on their website. Hutson, who will turn 19 on Jan. 1, is from Chicago and has committed to Boston U. He was in his first BCHL season and led the Vees with 10 goals in 14 games during the extended exhibition season.