The Anaheim Ducks announced today that Chief Executive Officer Michael Schulman has been named Club Governor. The announcement follows the National Hockey League’s suspension of Owner Henry Samueli. Co-Owner Susan Samueli has advised the League that she will abide by the terms of her husband’s suspension. The Ducks’ day-to-day operations will not change, with Executive Vice President/General Manager Brian Burke and Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer Tim Ryan both reporting to Schulman.
“I respect the decision made by Commissioner Bettman and will abide by the terms of the suspension,” said Henry Samueli. “I’m confident the team will be in great hands in my absence.”
“As an organization, we continue to support Henry 100 percent,” said Schulman. “Our goals and day-to-day operational structure remain the same. We expect to compete for another Stanley Cup championship this season and will continue to play an active role in our community.”
Henry and Susan Samueli purchased the club on June 20, 2005. The Ducks became the first California-based club to win the Stanley Cup (2007) and have qualified for the playoffs in three consecutive seasons. Spearheaded by ownership, the club has also created several new charitable initiatives benefiting Orange County, including educational programs, fundraisers and monetary donations.
“In support of my husband and to avoid any improper appearance, I’ve notified the league of my intention to abide by the terms of Henry’s suspension,” said Susan Samueli. “Although we will not be involved in decision-making, we will be cheering on our Ducks as loudly as ever.”
Schulman spoke Tuesday afternoon to reporters via conference call. Following are some excerpts:
On not being able to involve the Samuelis in hockey decisions:
“I have a very good understanding of what the Samuelis are looking for in the team and what their objectives are. I know them very well. We will be able to implement the objectives of the team the same way we have the past three years. I don’t expect there to be any change.”
On the $50 million payroll figure that was previously set for 2008-09:
“We’ve been working with that number and will continue to discuss the situation, but the feedback we’re getting from hockey operations, with where our budget is, we’ll be able to field a first-class team and compete for a Stanley Cup championship. “This decision will not impact that at all.”
"The Samuelis can attend games and be great fans. They will continue to be the owners but they won't be involved with the team."
"The team is not being sold and ownership is not changing . . . We know our path and will continue on that path."
On whether Henry Samueli will be forced to give up ownership of the Ducks:
"In our understanding of what the NHL is doing, it's only a suspension and that we do not expect that at all."
"It's been a trying time and it's not over yet. We're waiting for a judge to make a decision in August [on how long the suspension will be]. I think they'll be able to breather a little easier when that is over.
"All in all considering what they've been through, I think [Henry and Susan] are in good spirits."