New Admirals Owners Look to Spice up Local Hockey

The lines at Norfolk Scope used to reach around the outside of the building and into the street. During the Admirals glory days, it was hard to find a seat. “Friday and Saturday night used to be hockey night in Norfolk and we would love to bring that back,” says Norfolk Admirals new owner Ardon Wiener.

For the third time in three years, the Norfolk Admirals have new owners. Last month, the Mango Media Group based out of New York, led by Wiener, purchased the team from the Edmonton Oilers.

“We specialize in turning around mismanaged assets no matter what they may be,” Wiener says. “You have to be willing to invest time and money and recognize where the short falls are.”

At just 27-years-old Wiener has the energy and enthusiasm for his new venture and says youth has its advantages when it comes to returning a team like the Admirals to glory.

“Joe Gregory and the Norfolk Tides did a great job with the Admirals, but its difficult to multitask and manage two teams at the same time. Given that this will be the total focus for us, that is a major piece of the strategy. Age shouldn’t matter. What we do matters.”

Wiener, the Mango Media Group and his business partner Michael Gargy hit the ground running by holding instructive conversations with previous owners Blake Cullen and Ken Young.

“Given that we have very little sports experience, we are open to any suggestions. We will also be looking for fan generated feedback,” says Wiener.

After a long run in the American Hockey League, the Admirals played last season in the ECHL, and its attendance dropped to 3,700 fans a game. That’s something Wiener wants to fix. “We are going to try to emulate what Blake Cullen did,” says Wiener.