Apparently a minority ownership stake in one NHL franchise wasn’t enough for Fort Lauderdale advertising executive Jordan Zimmerman and St. Louis orthopedic surgeon Rick Lehman.
Zimmerman and Lehman, who are both investors in the Panthers, bought into the Southeast division rival Tampa Bay Lightning last month. They are part of an eight-person ownership group led by Hollywood producer Oren Koules and former Panthers player Len Barrie. And as odd as it sounds, the league says: “multiple minority ownership interests are permitted by the NHL Constitution.”
“It hasn’t been done,” said Zimmerman, founder of Zimmerman & Partners advertising in Fort Lauderdale. “We’re the first.”
The partners say they’re just improving their odds of winning.
“If I make enough investments, I’ve got a better chance of winning a cup and a ring,” Zimmerman said. “Why be typical? I built a whole ad agency of being untypical.”
Zimmerman said he was approached by Koules and Barrie about investing in the team: “I thought this was an opportunity to get involved in another team, help them build some of their ancillary revenue streams … my skill set is truly on the business side.”
He approached Lehman about joining the group.
“The first one was such a good idea, I figured I’d invest in another one,” said Lehman, who specializes in sports medicine. “They called and were looking for people to look after their medical in Tampa. I did it for the Panthers for a while.”
What will they do when the two teams play each other a half dozen times next year?
“In my arena, whoever wins," Zimmerman said, "that’s the team I’m rooting for."