Finally, it’s over.
After four years of up-in-the-air status, bankruptcy court, and numerous failed bids — the Phoenix Coyotes have been sold.
The NHL announced the Board of Governors approval of the sale of the team to the IceArizona group (aka: Renaissance Sports & Entertainment). Commissioner Gary Bettman released this statement about the sale.
“The National Hockey League believes in Arizona as an NHL market and that these new owners can provide the Coyotes the opportunity to secure a stable, long-term future in Glendale,” Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “We thank Mike Nealy, Don Maloney, Dave Tippett, team captain Shane Doan and all the players and staff for consistently going ‘above and beyond’ on behalf of the franchise during this long and complex process. We thank the Coyotes’ devoted fans for their patient, perseverant support. We are extremely pleased that a positive resolution has been achieved for the fans, the city, the Coyotes and the League.”
With the Board of Governors approval, the deal the City of Glendale made with IceArizona goes into effect to help manage Jobing.com Arena and ease the financial stress of purchasing the team.
Of course, that city-approved deal also has a five-year out-clause that allows IceArizona to sell the team if they lose $50 million over that time.
While that might be a story further down the road, for now the Coyotes saga is at an end and for the first time since Jerry Moyes declared bankruptcy and attempted to sell the team to Jim Balsillie, they have a real ownership group in place.
The rumors about the NHL moving to Seattle are about to be reignited.
Mitch Levy, a sports-talk radio host in Seattle, shared a rumor saying NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is pushing the Board of Governors to make an expansion team available to Seattle. Levy says it would cost $275 million to start the team and that the new team would begin playing in the 2014-15 season.
The same issues that came up when the rumors over the Phoenix Coyotes relocating to Seattle are in play here. There would have to be local ownership and the proposed arena in downtown Seattle would need to be built. The latter part would require some political paperwork to be adjusted to make it happen.
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly recently spoke about the Pacific Northwest getting “serious consideration” for expansion or relocation so perhaps this is where Levy’s rumors are stemming from. Daly did not wish to comment on this latest development when contacted by PHT.
With Seattle expansion rumors about one city comes speculation about who else would join them as an expansion partner.
If only a team was added to Seattle, that would leave the league with an odd number of teams (31) and for balance sake there’d have to be a second. Quebec City, Toronto, Portland, Kansas City, and Las Vegas make up the group of usual suspects there.
The NHL Board of Governors meeting wrapped this afternoon with nothing coming from it concerning the state of the Phoenix Coyotes.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman spoke with reporters following the meeting and spelled things out rather clearly.
“No board action is required at this point,” Bettman said. “We’re anticipating, or hoping, the Glendale City Council passes the deal with the Renaissance Group. If the council doesn’t approve it… I don’t think the Coyotes will be playing there anymore.”
Bettman set the target date for July 2 for a decision, the same day the City of Glendale is set to vote on their latest proposal.
That proposal is the whopper of one the city presented this afternoon that sees the Renaissance Sports and Entertainment group get $15 million a year from the city to run Jobing.com Arena and a five-year out-clause to leave the city if the losses amount to $50 million or more in that time.
If things fall apart with Glendale, is there time to move the team elsewhere? Bettman is confident there is.
To add to this, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly says the league has no issues with Key Arena in Seattle if the Coyotes are to move there.
This is it though. The Coyotes saga is going to end one way or another next week.