It wouldn’t be summer until we’ve had a buyer approved for the Phoenix Coyotes.
TSN’s Darren Dreger reports the NHL has confirmed they have an agreement with George Gosbee’s Renaissance Sports & Entertainment group to purchase the ownerless franchise.
Does that mean the now four-year old struggle to sell the formerly bankrupt franchise is at an end? No.
There are still many issues left to be figured out yet including a lease agreement for Jobing.com Arena with the City of Glendale. That part of the arrangement has been the major sticking point for previous buyers including Jerry Reinsdorf, Ice Edge Holdings, and Matthew Hulsizer. Greg Jamison had a deal worked out with the city only to fall short of coming up with the money to purchase the team.
We told you here last night the NHL was sharing an ownership plan with the city on Tuesday and Gosbee’s group will be the ones to likely take part in that. The cost of what it takes to run the arena figures to be a huge issue as the city is strapped for cash and cannot afford to pay out in a big way to do that. If there’s traction there, the sale may actually happen.
While the Phoenix Coyotes remain owner-free in the desert, a former Coyotes star might be helping them stay in the desert for the foreseeable future.
According to Lisa Halverstadt of the Arizona Republic, Jeremy Roenick has been approached by prospective Coyotes buyer Greg Jamison to be part of his team to purchase the league-owned franchise. Halverstadt reports that Roenick wants what just about everyone else interested in buying the team has wanted in the past.
Roenick, a Scottsdale resident, said he aims for deal that includes the struggling Westgate City Center, which developers built a decade ago in hopes of drawing crowds with sports, shopping and entertainment.
Nothing is easy with how things have gone with the Coyotes and those that have wanted to buy them.
Jim Balsillie went about it the wrong way trying to sweep them out of the desert like they were the Baltimore Colts of hockey. Jerry Reinsdorf dawdled never got an agreement worked out. Ice Edge Holdings were never able to get something completed, and Matthew Hulsizer was blocked by the Goldwater Institute from completing his purchase agreement.
A team of Jamison and Roenick could be enough to get things worked out if the particulars are right, but Roenick tells the Arizona Republic that there’s no time frame on a deal.
If Roenick can help keep the team in Arizona he’ll be as big of a hero to fans in Glendale and Phoenix as Mario Lemieux was for keeping the Penguins in Pittsburgh by buying them. As we know all too well with the Coyotes, getting it done might take a long time if it ever gets done at all. They may have to work fast, however, as time isn’t on their side to keep the team in the desert.
Not breaking news: The Phoenix Coyotes are still up for sale. Also not breaking news? There doesn’t appear to be anyone eager to buy the team to keep them in Glendale. That isn’t stopping NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly from holding out hope that the situation will change.
Daly tells Dan Rosen of NHL.com that he’s still hopeful that the Coyotes will bring about someone with deep pockets to both buy the team and keep them locked in at Jobing.com Arena. Daly says they’ve got a couple people interested in doing just that.
From the sound of that, it looks like the NHL just wants to have someone that can take the team off the NHL’s hands and get the Coyotes out of the canyon-sized financial hole they’re in.
As it is, Chicago Bulls and White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf and former Sharks vice president Greg Jamison have been mentioned as potentially interested parties.
The Coyotes situation is one that’s not going to get any easier as the league can start looking around at other bids after the start of the new year. That’s not to say that they will, just that the option is there. If this is the Coyotes’ final season in Arizona, expect that things will move lightning fast to sell and relocate the team just the way the league did with the Thrashers over the summer.