They Got Game

Canada's wealthiest are talented business people, but it doesn't seem to stop some of them from getting their feet wet in the uncertain world of sports ownership.

The rich 100: 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001

The rich list | What's in a name? | They got game | The other RIM guy | The burger king

Though inclusion in our Rich 100 is usually a testament to one's business acumen, it doesn't seem to stop some of Canada's wealthiest from getting their feet wet in the often uncertain world of sports ownership. Who knows? Maybe it's just another way to keep the competitive juices flowing.

Ted Rogers is well-known for his company's ownership of the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team. But it's not surprising that hockey is where Canada's rich really come to play. The Molson family has a long-standing involvement with the Montreal Canadiens hockey club, owning the team 37 of the past 48 years. And during the club's heyday, in the 1970s, the Bronfman family owned the franchise, guiding it to five Stanley Cups.

In Ontario, Larry Tanenbaum has a 13% stake in Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. Toronto's NHL team has had many clashes with Eugene Melnyk's Ottawa Senators for Ontario hockey supremacy during the past decade. (Melnyk also owns the OHL's St. Michael's Majors, right in the Leafs' backyard.)

All Winnipeggers no doubt lament the loss of their beloved Jets, but perhaps none more than cable king Randall Moffat, a minority owner in the franchise before it relocated to Phoenix ahead of the 1996 season. Alberta's hockey teams are likewise well-represented on our list. Though doughnut king Ron Joyce sold his 15% stake in the Calgary Flames, the team that came within one win of a Stanley Cup championship in 2004 counts two other Rich list members among its owners: oilmen Clay Riddell and Murray Edwards.

And Bill Comrie, who grew up in Edmonton, is certainly well connected to his hometown Oilers. Signed by the Chicago Blackhawks at age 16, he played for their farm team but gave up his NHL dream to run the family business. His son Mike lived out his dad's fantasy by making the big leagues. Drafted by the Oilers in 1999, Mike was a star player for several years before landing with the Phoenix Coyotes in 2003. The Coyotes are partly owned by Edmonton hero Wayne Gretzky, but before 1996, the franchise was located in Winnipeg, where one of the owners was — you guessed it — Randall Moffat.

It all goes to show: not only do many of Canada's wealthiest work together, but they can't seem to get enough of playing together, either.