Former NFL linebacker Myles Jack buys majority stake in pro hockey team

Myles Jack is setting new records after becoming a professional hockey team’s first Black majority owner.

According to The Messenger, the former NFL linebacker and his mother, LaSonjia Jack, acquired the Texas-based Allen Americans, the Ottawa Senators’ East Coast Hockey League affiliate, and will assume team control ahead of its 15th ECHL season.

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

Myles Jack is the first Black majority owner of a pro hockey team, alongside his mother, LaSonjia Jack. Above, the recently retired NFL player is shown in July 2021 during training camp in Jacksonville, Florida, when he was with the Jacksonville Jaguars. (Photo: James Gilbert/Getty Images)

The Jacksonville Jaguars chose Jack in the second round of the 2016 NFL draft. His last season in the NFL was with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2022, The Messenger reported.

Jack, 28, retired from pro football in August — precisely two weeks after signing with the Philadelphia Eagles.

His business transition, which will focus on life outside of football, comes a year after Matt Dumba, one of the few minority players in the NHL, addressed the need for more diversity and anti-racism efforts in professional hockey.

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“I’m the first one to say our generation, everything with the phones, social media, it’s not an easy world to live in,” Dumba previously told The Associated Press, ESPN reported.

Dumba, who has a Filipino mother and a white father, helped form the Hockey Diversity Alliance after the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers in 2020.

Comparing the past and present, he noted that “segregation and just how people of color were treated, it really gives you a different perspective on things, and just how much they did for us to even be in a position where we can make our impact felt in the present.”

At the time, the NHL was said to be grappling with issues of diversity and inclusion, with Dumba among many who believed the league had been reluctant to adapt and evolve. However, there have been signs of improvement, with Jacks’ team ownership being the latest.

Tennessee State will be the first HBCU to add ice hockey

Despite the East Coast Hockey League’s claim that Jack and his mother are the first Black owners of a professional hockey team, The Journal Gazette reported that former sprinter-turned-baseball player Herb Washington owned the Central Hockey League’s short-lived Youngstown SteelHounds, based in Youngstown, Ohio, in seasons from 2005-2006 through 2007-2008.

“The ECHL is thrilled to welcome Myles and LaSonjia Jack to the League and further the Allen Americans tradition,” said ECHL Commissioner Ryan Crelin, “as the team enters its 15th Anniversary Season of professional hockey.”

In June, Tennessee State University became the first historically Black college and university to introduce ice hockey to its athletic offerings. Officials announced the HBCU’s plans to have a men’s hockey team playing at the club level in 2024 and a goal of fielding Division I men’s and women’s squads “in the near future.”

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