Brother Craig Leipold is the majority owner in Minnesota Sports and Entertainment, which includes the NHL’s Minnesota Wild, the AHL Houston Aeros, the Minnesota Swarm from the National Lacrosse League, Wildside Caterers, the Xcel Energy Center, and the Saint Paul RiverCentre. However, Leipold is most well-known for his NHL ownerships.
Leipold obtained his first NHL franchise in 1997 with the purchase of the Nashville Predators and continued with them for almost ten seasons. At the time an expansion franchise, he transformed the club into a winning franchise. In 2007, he sold the Predators due to low attendance and lack of interest, and purchased the Minnesota Wild a year later.
During his time in Nashville, he was an active member of the community and was named Sports Person of the Year for the Predators, the 1999 Father of the Year by the Nashville Father’s Day Council, and Nashvillian of the Year in 1999 by the Easter Seals.
As an NHL owner, Leipold has been known as an advocate for the professional ice hockey industry, especially promoting a more fan-accessible NHL. He also has served on the Executive committee and the Audit committee for the League. Leipold was recognized by The Hockey News in its annual ranking of “People of Power and Influence” in the 22nd spot in 2006.
Before Leipold entered the professional ice hockey business, he was already successful in the business sector. He was the founder of the telemarketing firm Ameritel Corporation, which specializes in business-to-business sales and he also purchased Rainfair Corporation, a protective clothing manufacturer, which he for sold for $10 million in 1996.
Craig and his wife Helen, Chairman and Chief Executive officer of Johnson Outdoors, Inc. and Chairman of Johnson Financial Bank Corporation, are currently living in Racine, Wis. They have five sons: Kyle, Connor, Curtis, Bradford and Chris.