SYDNEY, N.S. — A Glace Bay native and the multi-millionaire founder of an organic food company in the United States is hoping to become part of the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles ownership group.
Irwin Simon, founder and CEO of Hain Celestial, confirmed his intentions to be part of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team’s ownership in an email to the Cape Breton Post on Sunday.
“My intention is (to) build upon the 22 years of success, work with the current coach, management and the board of directors to bring a championship home as soon as possible,” said Simon, 60, who lives in New York. “I see tremendous opportunities for the team, the fans, and the community.
“Being from Glace Bay I look to give back to the Cape Breton community where I grew up and enjoyed a substantial part of my life. I look to invest back in the community.”
Screaming Eagles chair of the board Stuart MacLeod said letters have been sent to the team’s shareholders last week to ask if they would be interested in selling their shares to Simon, and if so, how many. He said that process could take a month to finalize.
“He says he wants to win the Memorial Cup, he wants to change things for the better and put more entertainment in the game,” said MacLeod.
“He’s saying the right things and I think it’s all positive.”
MacLeod said one stipulation in any proposed sale is that the team remains in Cape Breton. He said the shareholders weren’t looking to sell before Simon showed interest in the club.
“He was told from the get-go that absolutely under no circumstances would anybody consider selling their shares if they thought the team was going to be moved,” said MacLeod.
Hain Celestial, an organic and natural foods company, was founded by Simon in 1993 and has grown into a billion-dollar business. In June, it was announced Simon would be stepping down as CEO.
Simon is also a primary owner of the National Basketball League of Canada’s St. John’s Edge.
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