Max Winter

Max Winter

Max Winter (1903 – July 26, 1996) was a Minneapolis businessman and sport executive. Winter was born in Austria-Hungary and his family emigrated to the United States in 1913 and settled in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Winter graduated from high school in 1922. He attended Hamline University on a basketball scholarship.

In 1933, Winter opened The 620 Club with his brother Henry and boxing manager/promoter Ernie Fliegel as equal partners. Located at 620 Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis, the restaurant specialized in turkey and by the late 1950s was selling more of it than any other eatery in the United States. The club closed in 1965.

In 1947, Winter became part owner with Ben Berger, Sid Hartman, and Morris Chalfin and assumed the general manager duties of the new Minneapolis Lakers in the National Basketball League. By the mid 1950s, Winter was interested in attracting a pro football team to Minneapolis. He attempted to get an expansion team in the National Football League, when that failed Winter and his partners joined with the newly created American Football League in the fall of 1959. By 1960, with creation of the AFL, the NFL decided to expand to both Dallas and Minneapolis-St. Paul. Winter and his group pulled out of the AFL and received an NFL expansion team that began in the 1961 season. The team was named the Minnesota Vikings in September 1960.

Winter remained on the board of directors until 1989. He served as team president from 1965-87. In 1985, Winter shocked and angered his fellow Vikings owners when he attempted to sell his share of the team to Irwin L. Jacobs and Carl Pohlad. The case went to the Minnesota Supreme Court and finally was settled in Winter's favor. Winter died in 1996. The Minnesota Vikings headquarters and training facility in Eden Prairie, Minnesota is named Winter Park, in honor of Max Winter.

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