Black Bear Sports Group Offer Letter to Robert Morris University

Murry Gunty’s letter to Dr. Chris Howard of RMU

Murry Gunty
3 min readJun 29, 2021

Dear Dr. Howard:

I am sending this letter to the entire leadership team at Robert Morris University with the hope that someone will respond to me.

I am the Founder and CEO of Black Bear Sports Group, the largest owner/operator of ice rinks in the United States with 27 rinks and over 50 sheets of ice. Of relevance, we are also the largest owner/operator in the Mid-Atlantic, in Pennsylvania and in the Pittsburgh metro region, with three owned rinks in Pittsburgh alone. We have a demonstrated track record of acquiring and revitalizing underperforming ice rinks throughout the Mid-Atlantic. We also own multiple junior hockey teams including the Youngstown Phantoms of the USHL in nearby Youngstown, Ohio. In addition, we own a number of boys and girls hockey tournament businesses and leagues that enable us to enhance programming in our owned and operated rinks.

I read with great dismay that you will be shutting down men’s and women’s hockey at Robert Morris University. Beyond the personal sadness of witnessing the cancellation of one of only 60 men’s and 40 women’s Division 1 hockey clubs, on a professional level I simply cannot stand by and allow it to happen without trying to step in and help support the great game of hockey.

I am incredibly impressed (but not surprised) by the outpouring of support from the RMU and overall hockey communities. However, I suspect that the cost of operating the existing ice rink is also contributing to your decision, particularly if you include historical and projected capital expenditures. Even if the rink is profitable right now, I believe that we can operate the rink more efficiently and funnel some of the savings back to the RMU hockey teams. Moreover, the proceeds from the sale to Black Bear could be “set-aside” and combined with some of the existing fundraising efforts currently happening to endow the hockey program so that a source of permanent funding could be established.

Therefore, I am offering to purchase the Robert Morris Island Sports Center from you. We need some very simple information about the rink (existing contracts, third party reports, current ice rates, utility bills, property tax bills, sample schedule, etc.). If we receive these materials in a timely fashion, we would be able to close an acquisition of your rink by July 31st so that the team would be well situated to practice and play in the fall. Moreover, we would commit to a condition of our purchase that would mandate heavily discounted ice for your teams during the day prior to youth groups using the ice in the late afternoon and evening. If a purchase is not feasible from your side, we would be willing to enter into a very long term, NNN lease that would remove any financial burden associated with the rink (including capital expenditures) and transfer any such burden to us. Finally, we require NO OUTSIDE financing — we will provide all of the capital for the purchase ourselves.

Pittsburgh cannot afford to lose its only Division I hockey programs. We operate in multiple NHL markets and in the Penguins, you have one of the best NHL teams in the country with one of the best ownership and management groups we have encountered. As a result, you have amazing hockey fans and support for the game through ice hockey, roller hockey and deck hockey. You have strong youth hockey programs (supported by private rink owners and the Penguins) and very strong rink ownership (outside of Black Bear) in your market. Most importantly, Robert Morris features some of the most passionate alums and supporters in both Pittsburgh and throughout the country. Overall, you have one of the most vibrant hockey markets in the United States, so there is simply no need for this to happen.

I would be happy to engage in a dialogue with your team to figure out a way for us to help save RMU hockey — it would be devastating for the students, your alumni, the City, the State and all of hockey to lose such a valued hockey program.


Murry N. Gunty

Founder and CEO

Black Bear Sports Group, Inc.



Murry Gunty

Murry Gunty is the founder and CEO of Black Bear Sports Group, Inc.