PRESS RELEASE – The Lancaster JetHawks, class A affiliate of the Houston Astros, have intended to be sold by Peter A. Carfagna‘s ownership group to an ownership group headed by Jake Kerr and Jeff Mooney, both Vancouver, Canada residents and owners of the successful Vancouver Canadians, short-season affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays a member of the Northwest League.
Upon closing, Kerr and Mooney will become the third ownership group in the JetHawks’ 19-year history. The sale is expected to close by the end of the calendar year, after receiving approvals by the California League, Minor League Baseball and Major League Baseball.
“There is a strong foundation to build from here in Lancaster and with the experiences and success we’ve enjoyed in the Northwest, we hope to take the JetHawks brand and bring it to not only our longtime fans, but to a whole new generation,” says Jake Kerr.
“Our journey in baseball has shown us that you must put the community first. Fans of JetHawks baseball will notice an increased effort to make this organization something they can be proud of,” adds Jeff Mooney.
Jake Kerr and Jeff Mooney have also confirmed that, upon closing, Andy Dunn will be named as president of the Lancaster JetHawks while maintaining his position with the Vancouver Canadians Baseball Club in the same capacity.
Prior to the Canadians, Dunn was vice president with the Washington Nationals and the Florida Marlins. He has been instrumental to the success of the Vancouver Canadians, guiding the franchise to a John H. Johnson President’s Trophy in 2013 as the most ‘complete’ organization in Minor League Baseball.
During the Carfagna family’s nine-year ownership of the JetHawks, the last six years as an affiliate of the Houston Astros, the club has experienced tremendous revenue growth and the reputation for a unique, fun experience at The Hangar via popular promotions and experiences.
The Carfagna ownership group has invested in the facility during its time in the Antelope Valley as part of its partnership with the City of Lancaster including financing for the first major capital improvement made to The Hangar with the installation of a video board in left field prior to the 2006 season, and numerous projects in recent years including a new beer garden and picnic area. In 2013, the club entered into a multi-year Presenting Sponsorship with Loan Mart, a highlight of the growth in sponsorship revenues the club has enjoyed in recent years.
Since 2011, the club has experienced a 17% increase in attendance, including 170,532 fans in 2014, the largest attendance since 2002. The increased attendance and revenues earned the JetHawks back-to-back California League Executive of the Year Winners in 2013 and 2014 as General Manager Will Thornhill received this honor most recently.
The franchise underwent a successful team identity change prior to the 2008 season, the final year of a popular two-year affiliation with the Boston Red Sox. During the affiliation with the Red Sox, the team won four straight Southern Division half titles and Lancaster was part of its second World Championship when Boston won the 2007 World Series.
In 2012, the JetHawks reached the pinnacle of the California League when it won its first-ever championship with a club that featured several future Major League players who have gone on to play for the Astros. The JetHawks earned its second California League championship in September as it captured the crown for the second time in three years with a club that included many of the Astros top prospects.
“We have enjoyed our stewardship of the JetHawks franchise and, upon closing, are excited to hand the reins of the franchise to an experienced group of individuals who will build on the successes we have enjoyed in recent years,” explained Carfagna. “We remain committed to Minor League Baseball through our continuing ownership of the Lake County Captains, located in our home of suburban Cleveland.”
Jake Kerr Bio:
Jake is Co-Owner and Managing Partner of the Vancouver Professional Baseball LLP and along with his partner, Jeff Mooney, acquired the Vancouver Canadians Baseball Club in 2007. Upon closing, he expects to be the Managing Partner of the Lancaster JetHawks. Prior to 2005, Jake, for 35 years, was Chairman and CEO of Lignum Limited, one of Canada’s largest private forest products companies. Currently, Jake is Chancellor of the Emily Carr University of Art + Design, a Director of the Bank of Nova Scotia and Past Chair of the Vancouver Foundation. He is a proud recipient of the Order of Canada and the Order of British Columbia in recognition for his significant contributions to the province and to the country. In his spare time, Jake takes an interest in art collecting, fly fishing, tennis, golf and baseball. He has five grown children and five grand children.
Jeff Mooney Bio:
Jeff Mooney is Chairman and controlling shareholder of A&W Food Services of Canada Inc. He led the company as President and CEO for thirteen years from 1991 to 2004 and today, A&W is a strategy-driven organization which has grown to over 730 restaurants across Canada. A&W has been recognized as one of the 50 Best Managed Companies in Canada for the past seven consecutive years.
As well as being the past Chairman of the Business Council of British Columbia, Jeff is also past Chairman of the Young Presidents’ Organization, B.C. Chapter, a member of the Chief Executives’ Organization and World Presidents’ Organization. In 1994, Jeff was chosen Marketing Executive of the Year by the Sales and Marketing Executives of Vancouver, and in 2003, he was a recipient of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee Medal. In 2006, Jeff was inducted into the B.C. Restaurant Hall of Fame. Mr. Mooney is an alumnus of both the University of Saskatchewan and Harvard University Graduate School of Business.