BUTTE, Mont. – The Butte Cobras are now under new management, just two days after finishing a historic postseason run.
Team owner and president Michael Burks, along with his wife and co-owner, Kiomi Burks, are retiring from junior hockey.
They were involved in a plane crash near Stevensville on Feb. 23 and walked away with minor injuries.
The Burks are recovering from the trauma by reducing some of the responsibilities in their lives, which includes owning the hockey team. They currently own 12 other corporations.
The Burks have donated 100 percent of all team assets to the Butte Amateur Hockey Association, which includes the $300,000 in rink improvements that were made recently.
Here is the owners’ statement regarding their retirement:
“Due to the trauma of the aftermath of the recent plane crash both were involved in, the owners of the Butte Cobras team are retiring completely from Junior hockey. The road to recovery for both includes simplifying some of the massive amount of responsibility in their lives. This is not a decision that either came to lightly, and is largely due to the advice of their PTSD therapists, as of their 12 corporations, much of their emotion and energy after hours is spent on the Cobras.
The last thing that either wants is to hurt the city of Butte and the incredible sport of hockey. Therefore, effective immediately, 100% of all assets including both mascots, all player gear, all game day computers and supplies, all video, audio, and special effect lighting as well as both team busses will be donated to the Butte Amateur Hockey Association. This also includes the $300,000. in rink improvements previously completed. The owners want nothing more than for the Butte Cobra legacy to be forever a staple of this amazing community. The owners want to send out tremendous gratitude to every coach, player, billet family, staff member, volunteer, and fan who worked so tirelessly together to bring Junior hockey back to Butte America. A special thanks goes to every fan worldwide who helped to raise $40,000. in the three seasons that the Cobras played for Mariah’s Challenge, St. James Cancer Center, Sorini Strong, and the Peck Children’s Fund.
The owners have met with the team and staff and have advised that any questions or advice needed will be given immediately with enthusiasm to make this transition as successful as possible.
Forever Cobras fans,
Michael and Kiomi Burks”
The Cobras are only a three-year old franchise, but they just wrapped up their most successful season yet.
Butte won its first two Western States Hockey League playoff series with two-game sweeps.
The Cobras got swept in the Northwest Divisional Finals by the Idaho Junior Steelheads this weekend.