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Scott Burden didn’t have to think twice when his good buddy Bruce Ryan asked him if he was interested in purchasing a hockey franchise in the Maritime Hockey League.
Burden and Ryan became friends while their sons were honing their skills in the Corner Brook minor hockey system a few years back and coached together for a number of years before Burden moved his family to Halifax in 2014.
Burden, a Corner Brook native, and Ryan, a native of Mulgrave, N.S. who lives in Corner Brook, are the new owners of the Weeks Crushers of the Maritime Hockey League and will officially take over the franchise at the end of the 2019 season.
“If a guy like Bruce calls you and says ‘Hey, I got a business idea’ then I’m all in because he’s successful,” Burden said. “Everything he touches turns out well."
Back in November, Ryan approached Burden about his plan to look for an MHL franchise to call his own.
Ryan didn't have a particular franchise in mind, but quickly learned the owners of the Crushers had been looking for a buyer for some time.
This was a cool revelation given Ryan’s son Brayden is a rookie on the team.
Coincidentally, while negotiations were going on with the team, Burden's connection to the club strengthened.
His son Andrew had been dealt to the Crushers from the Edmundston Blizzard.
This transaction Burden said was pure coincidence but a pleasant surprise to both him and his business partner.
Burden left Corner Brook in 2014 with a bad taste in his mouth when it came to his experience as a coach and former president of the association. He was tired of coaching and dealing with irate parents so he stayed away from an active role in the game, but deep down knew he would love to get back in the game if the right opportunity came along.
“What better thrill is it to build a hockey team? It’s going to be fun. Doesn’t everyone love hockey?” Burden said.
Ryan — who grew up a 90-minute drive away from the rink in New Glasgow so is familiar with the area — said he’s a hockey fan and always wanted to get directly involved with the game so he figured owning a hockey team was the best way to make it happen.
Ryan plans on running the hockey team like the other businesses he runs. He wants to be successful and plans on doing the things he feels will ensure he gets a good return on his investment.
“It’s a business and with any business you want to do the best you can. For us to be successful we got to have a winning product on the ice,” he said.
The new owners know some people are already wondering what impact the new ownership will have on the team with their sons playing for the Crushers, but both guys have sat down with the coach and general manager and made it clear how things will run regardless of who has a spot on the team.
“We talked to them and told them to treat them the same or worse than everybody else. The only thing they can’t do is treat them better,” Burden said.
Officially, Burden and Ryan won’t take over the team until the end of the regular season in April but, as part of the deal to purchase the team, the current owners allowed them to work with the organization after a deal was struck.
The decisions made at the trade deadline for the Crushers were made under the current ownership group, but Ryan and Burden were allowed to provide some input to protect their investment.
As for the place the Crushers call home, Burden found a lot of comparisons to Corner Brook where it was a small community where everybody knows each other and share a love for the game.
The fans also fill the stands and expect a winning team, so that also brought comparison to Corner Brook where the rink was usually full when the Corner Brook Royals played at home.
“If you can provide a winning team the rest will take care of itself I know it,” Burden said.