Loneys Sell Stake in Youngstown Phantoms

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Black Bear Sports Group Inc. has acquired the co-ownership position in the Youngstown Phantoms of the United States Hockey League owned by Troy and Aafke Loney, the team announced Friday.

The Zoldan family has retained co-ownership of the team and the Phantoms will remain in Youngstown, according to the announcement.

Black Bear is a privately held company formed in 2015 by CEO Murry Gunty. The Maryland-based sports and entertainment company owns and operates ice arenas, junior hockey franchises and youth sports events. Gunty is also the majority owner of SuperSeries AAA, an organizer of AAA youth hockey tournaments.

Terms of the sale of the Loney’s stake in the team were not disclosed.

Gunty will serve as chairman of the Phantoms and has named his SuperSeries partner, NHL veteran and longtime Philadelphia Flyers captain, Keith Primeau, to oversee all hockey operations 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,” Gunty said in a statement.

Outgoing owners Troy and Aafke Loney, who reside in the Pittsburgh area, said they are grateful for their experience in the Youngstown community, which “gave us the opportunity to give back to a sport that has been an integral part of our lives. It has come full circle. We started in pro hockey, became involved in youth hockey, junior hockey, college hockey, and finally became owners. We were fortunate enough to be a part of bringing the Anderson Cup to Youngstown in 2015, as well as enjoying this year’s Eastern Conference Championship and the Clark Cup finals.”

Troy and Aafke Loney

In his prepared statement, Zoldan, owner of Phantom Fireworks, thanked the Loneys for “their leadership and friendship.”

Black Bear Sports Group will work closely with the Zoldans to assume business and hockey operations, and fill key leadership and sales positions previously held by the Loneys. In addition to the Phantoms, Black Bear owns and operates two other junior hockey franchises: the Maryland Black Bears of the North American Hockey League and Team Maryland of the Eastern Hockey League — both based in the Washington, D.C., area.

The company also owns and operates nine arenas across the United States with a total of 17 sheets of indoor ice, two indoor turf fields and three junior hockey franchises.

SOURCE: Youngstown Phantoms

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