February 19th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

donald levin's holdings range from cancer sticks to hockey sticks.

The Toronto Globe and Mail has confirmed the rumors (mentioned here a few weeks back) that Donald R. Levin, owner of a minor league hockey team in Chicago, is interested in owning a new or moved National Hockey League team in Seattle.

Levin’s interest in the Seattle sports world has been known for a while. Last July, KIRO-TV reported Levin was looking into potential Bellevue sites for a new NHL arena. But the Globe and Mail story says Levin’s willing to be roomies with Chris Hansen, who wants to build an NBA arena in Sodo.

Besides the American Hockey League’s Chicago Wolves, Levin is the principal owner of the privately held D.R.L. Enterprises.

It’s a mini conglomerate built around Republic Tobacco. Levin built that from a single smoke shop in the Chicago suburbs. From there he moved into wholesaling, and eventually into manufacturing.

Republic’s properties include JOB rolling papers* (bought from the original French owners), Drum and Top “roll-your-own” tobacco (bought from R.J. Reynolds), and assorted other brands in assorted countries.

Levin has funneled some of his cancer-puff profits into businesses with brighter futures; principally industrial leasing (including aircraft, though I don’t know if that includes Boeing aircraft) and licensed sports gear and merchandise.

And, according to the Chicago Wolves’ website, Levin has “made nearly 20 motion pictures distributed in the U.S. and overseas.”

The Wolves’ site doesn’t identify them, but the Internet Movie Database lists 12 films produced or executive-produced by Levin from 1983 to 1995. They include:

In other words, he sounds just like our kind of guy.

* (PS: Yes, I am aware that rolling papers are sometimes filled with a substance other than tobacco. If you can find a relevance from that fact to this story, go ahead.)

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