Former NFL Star Myles Jack Makes History As New ECHL Owner

Former NFL Star Myles Jack Makes History As New ECHL Owner

Former NFLer Myles Jack and mother LaSonjia Jack became the first African-American majority owners in ECHL history with the purchase of Allen Americans.

Oct 5, 2023 by Chris Peters
Former NFL Star Myles Jack Makes History As New ECHL Owner

A little more than six weeks ago, Myles Jack was preparing for his eighth season in the NFL in training camp with the Philadelphia Eagles. On Wednesday afternoon, however, the now former NFL linebacker was announced as the new majority owner of the Allen Americans along with his mother, LaSonjia Jack. Upon completion of their acquisition of the Americans, the Jacks became the first African-American majority owners in ECHL history.

Jack had been in training camp with the Eagles before notifying the team he intended to retire in August. The 27-year-old played six seasons with Jacksonville Jaguars and one with the Pittsburgh Steelers, finishing his career with 581 tackles, 6.5 sacks and two defensive touchdowns.

The ECHL approved the transfer of the controlling interest in the Americans Wednesday from the Allen Hockey. Team, LLC, led by Jack Gulati to ALA Hockey, LLC, controlled by the Jacks.

The Jacks are believed to be just the second African-American majority owners in the history of professional hockey. Herb Washington, a former Major League Baseball player, founded and owned the Youngstown SteelHounds which played three seasons in the Central Hockey League from 2005-2008.

“From the football field to the business world I have always brought passion and leadership to my teams. The opportunity to lead this franchise and serve our great fans is an incredible responsibility,” Myles Jack in a statement. “I’m excited to bring a first-class, family friendly entertainment option to this community alongside our great partners.”

Gulati had owned the Americans for more than six years. Now the franchise is set to celebrate its 15th season of professional hockey in Allen.

“On behalf of the ECHL Board of Governors, we are thankful for Jack Gulati’s ownership over the past six-plus years in Allen, helping to pave the way for this new opportunity in the market,” said ECHL commissioner Ryan Crelin in a statement. “We look forward to the excitement the Jack family, alongside Rev Entertainment and Zawyer Sports will bring to the Americans and the fan experience at the Credit Union of Texas Event Center.”

Zawyer Sports and Entertainment, which runs operations for the Jacksonville Icemen, Savannah Ghost Pirates, Atlanta Gladiators and the expansion franchise coming to the ECHL in 2024-25 in Lake Tahoe, will do the same for the Americans.

“It’s such an honor to lead such a great hockey team in Texas - which is a great place for families and businesses,” said co-owner LaSonjia Jack, in a statement. “We are looking forward to engaging all our fans, business partners, and community leaders. The Allen Americans are a pillar in this community and we will continue that tradition. We believe in bringing people together and sharing memories, and what better way to do that than to attend an ECHL hockey game.”

Myles Jack is just the latest former NFL player that is getting into the hockey business as Tim Tebow was announced as part of the ownership group of the ECHL expansion franchise in Lake Tahoe coming next season. Both players have deep ties to the state of Florida with Jack’s six-year run in Jacksonville and Tebow being a Florida Gators legend.

Allen, located near Dallas, Texas, has been part of the ECHL since 2014 after the Americans played their previous five seasons as members of the now-defunct Central Hockey League. The Americans made a quick debut in the ECHL, winning back-to-back Kelly Cup titles in 2015 and 2016.

The team is currently the ECHL affiliate of the NHL's Ottawa Senators and AHL's Belleville Senators.

Last season, the Americans boasted the league MVP in Hank Crone, who put up a league-best 105 points as a rookie last season. He has since signed an AHL contract with the Chicago Wolves.

The team is led by head coach and general manger Chad Costello who is the franchise’s all-time leading scorer who retired following the 2021-22 season.

The Americans open the 2023-24 campaign on the road against Kelly Cup runner-up Idaho Steelheads Oct. 20 and 21 before returning to Allen for their home opener Oct. 27 against the Atlanta Gladiators.

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