Calling the Phoenix Coyotes ownership scenario “messy” is about as much of an understatement as it would be to call their inspiring playoff run unexpected. The saga has seen all kinds of twists and turns, from the mess that was the Jim Ballsillie court case to the odd lawsuits between the NHL and Jerry Moyes all the way to the discouraging situation the team is in with potential owner Ice Edge.
Questions of Ice Edge’s financial viability sprouted up once again today. Dave Shoalts wrote this of Ice Edge’s chances.
At this point, it looks as if Anthony LeBlanc, Daryl Jones and the rest of the Ice Edge group will not even get off the runway. Too many problems are coming up, almost all of them because no one in the group appears to have the substantial personal fortune needed to convince a banker or bankers to lend Ice Edge enough money to pull it off.
Such critiques – and even critiques of those critiques – must be a beating for Coyotes fans. It certainly seems like the Ice Edge group is aware of their pain, which prompted them to send an “open letter” to ‘Yotes fans. The letter was printed in Coyotes blog Five for Howling today. Here’s an excerpt.
We are happy to report that regardless of reports to the contrary, there have been no material changes in the process to date. As we stated from the outset, we fully expected the transaction to take upwards of six months, similar to other recent transactions for other NHL franchises. Ice Edge Holdings continues to work very closely with the City of Glendale and the NHL towards finalizing a lease that will be appropriate for all parties.
The execution of a revised lease is the key outstanding issue, and once completed will allow the transaction to move towards closing. We are neither behind nor ahead of our expected timelines.
Admittedly, I initially thought that the league should consider going with Balsillie. The Blackberry mastermind obviously has deep pockets and – one might assume – more business savvy than most of the league’s owners. Making it seven seems like a fairly noble goal.
That being said, Coyotes fans have been through a lot of unnecessary suffering. Fans in nontraditional markets deserve just as much respect as those who root for Original Six franchises. Hopefully this will all work out for them.
(For further reading on the Ice Edge group, check out this post.)