Tag: Matt Hulsizer

Brett Hull

Brett Hull wants to own a part of the Blues

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I cannot say that Brett Hull is definitively the best St. Louis Blues player ever. In fact, he might not even have been the best of his generation. Yet when I think of the ’90s-era Blues, his blistering one-timer is the first thing that pops into my head. Hull received the statue treatment recently to cement his impact on the past, but Jeremy Rutherford reports that he might make his own imprint on the future by becoming a partial owner.

Hull reportedly expressed interest to become part of Tim Stillman’s group, which hopes to buy the team from Dave Checketts. Stillman is currently a minority owner of the Blues.

Better yet, Hull wants to become involved with the team in a way that goes beyond “investor,” according to Rutherford. (Insert “Ambassador of Fun” joke here.)

Naturally, none of this is official; Rutherford received the usual round of “no comment” answers when he asked Hull & Co. It seemed like Matt Hulsizer was the frontrunner to become the majority owner of the Blues, but this development could throw an interesting bit of intrigue into the situation.

If it’s true, of course. Read more about it here.

City of Glendale is ‘cautiously optimistic’ about Coyotes being sold by end of 2011

Coyotes Sale Hockey

The Phoenix Coyotes and the City of Glendale’s ownership saga has been full of so many low moments and false beacons of hope that it’s understandable that many people might be jaded about the situation at this point. That being said, the two sides found a new light at the end of the tunnel in former San Jose Sharks executive Greg Jamison, whose offer reportedly wouldn’t even require the use of bonds – the main sticking point that drove Matt Hulsizer’s potential deal into the ground.

In fact, positivity is rising to the point that some Glendale officials brought up the seemingly far-flung idea of the Coyotes being sold to Jamison’s group or one other mystery ownership group before the end of 2011. Of course, the key phrase from Lisa Halverstadt’s report is that “they are cautiously optimistic.” If you’ve followed this situation during the last few years, you’re probably aware that the situation can turn on a dime – the hope here is that it makes a rare pivot toward the good side of things, though.

It’s important to note that there are still some significant area politicians who haven’t even seen Jamison’s offer and the exact terms (i.e. the amount offer) have not been disclosed yet either.

Council members, who returned last week after summer break, say they are heartened by the progress. Manny Martinez and Joyce Clark, who spoke with The Republic, are hopeful that a deal could close before the end of the year.

Vice Mayor Steve Frate said he was happy to hear about potential owners who see a promising future for the Coyotes.

“They are two entities that believe this business franchise, if run properly, is a good investment,” he said.

Council members Norma Alvarez and Phil Lieberman did not attend the latest closed-door briefing and said they needed to see proposals before they could support them.

So, again, it’s important to note that the team and city have a long way to go from “cautiously optimistic” to pouring champagne over each others’ heads after the ink dries on a new agreement. That being said, there have been many bleak moments in this situation, so you cannot fault Glendale officials for seeming a bit giddy with the idea of a legitimate suitor coming along.

As always, we’ll let you know the latest details as the next twists and turns take place.

Today marks the deadline for St. Louis Blues’ ownership bids

Los Angeles Kings v St. Louis Blues

There are a handful of NHL teams hoping to find a new owner in the near future, but the St. Louis Blues’ situation hasn’t received a whole lot of attention. That makes sense, too, because the perception is that the process could be much smoother than the headache-inducing struggles suffered by the Phoenix Coyotes of the world – at least relatively speaking. Of course, just because something should be simple doesn’t mean that everything will flow like smooth jazz.

With that always-lingering potential for chaos in mind, we’ll be keeping an eye on news about the Blues’ ownership situation. Today will be a good day to do so, because August 22 marks the deadline for hopeful new ownership groups to submit their bids to purchase the club from current owner Dave Checketts. The hope is that the Blues can get a prospective owner in place for approval by September 20 – the latest round of the NHL’s Board of Governors meetings – but that remains to be seen.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeremy Rutherford reports that former potential Coyotes owner Matt Hulsizer and current Blues minority owner Tom Stillman are among the most prominent candidates bidding for the Blues. Rutherford focused on noted (and deep-pocketed) hockey enthusiast Hulsizer in his story on the bidding.

Hulsizer, however, never lost his love for hockey, and two months after pulling out of a complicated deal to buy the Phoenix Coyotes, he could be joining “the club” in St. Louis. According to sources, Hulsizer has already made one offer to buy the club, and although it was unsuccessful, he remains interested.

A relative unknown in NHL circles two years ago, Hulsizer would be a slam-dunk to gain NHL approval. In December 2010, the league’s 10-member Board of Governors’ executive committee unanimously approved his application to buy the Coyotes.

Deputy commissioner Bill Daly labeled the group’s conversations with Hulsizer as “a very good interview.”

Not many details about other potential owners have surfaced at this time, but the Blues are a team in a respectable market and with a lengthy history in the NHL. From an outsider’s perspective, it seems like the Blues are one of the healthiest teams that have gone up for a sale in quite some time, with strengths that make them comparable to the recently sold Buffalo Sabres.

Rutherford points out that it’s possible that the team will receive offers after today’s deadline anyway, so it’s a fluid situation. We’ll keep an eye out for details on this still-developing story, whether a frontrunner emerges today, later this week or some other time in the near future.

Hope in the desert? Phoenix Coyotes’ season ticket sales, renewals show promise

Detroit Red Wings v Phoenix Coyotes

As much as ownership situations are often plagued by misdirection, misinformation and mystery, there aren’t many that have dragged on as long as the Phoenix Coyotes fiasco. Joe accurately pegged it at four years, but when you consider the effects of the modern Internet-prompted news cycle, it feels like this story has been around for a generation.

Most of the recent news/scuttlebutt related to the Coyotes’ ownership woes hasn’t been particularly promising. Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs recently discussed what life would be like if the city was saddled with Jobing.com Arena but no major professional sports teams. Matt Hulsizer – far and away the franchise’s brightest hope for a possible new owner – finally got fed up with all the red tape and dropped his bid to own the Coyotes in late June, possibly focusing on buying the St. Louis Blues instead. After making the playoffs for the past two seasons, the Coyotes might have some worries on the ice as well given the departure of much-leaned-upon netminder Ilya Bryzgalov.

Despite all this negativity, the Coyotes have some reason to keep their heads held high. The cash-strapped franchise might have allowed Bryzgalov to flee, but they managed the underrated task of retaining their underrated star defenseman Keith Yandle. The best news might be at the box office, though: the Arizona Republic passes along a report that the Coyotes sold 1,000 new season ticket packages as of July 1, a boost that ranks them fifth overall in the NHL.

Naturally, there might be a few caveats to that announcement. For one thing, the top five accolade is a little misleading since many of the league’s most successful teams don’t need to sell that many extra season tickets. In addition to that asterisk, there are probably some snarky types who will say that the Coyotes’ 2010-11 sales were so close to the bottom of the barrel that 1,000 more season ticket packages isn’t as impressive as it might sound.

With those “Yeah, but … ” statements in mind, there was another promising improvement: that Arizona Republic story also reveals that the renewal rate for season tickets is at 90 percent, a Coyotes franchise record. Even if you say that 90 percent of a mediocre amount of tickets is a small victory, it’s still a promising development for a franchise that has been browbeaten by bad news for years now.

If nothing else, this development might help the team drum up some interest from a potential owner once again. The Coyotes have been a fairly successful squad the last two years, but they still haven’t won a playoff series in a long time. One can imagine them developing a solidly reinvigorated fan base if they manage more substantial playoff runs … especially if fans know that the team will still be there the following season.

Coyotes, Thrashers and Winnipeg fans await City of Glendale’s vote tonight


The fate of the Phoenix Coyotes, Atlanta Thrashers and city of Winnipeg’s NHL hopes could be altered tonight. TSN reports that the City of Glendale’s mayor Elaine Scruggs and six councilors will vote to determine if they will pay the NHL $25 million to keep the Coyotes from relocating for at least one more season tonight.

Even if the City of Glendale’s representatives votes “Yes,” it’s far from a perfect solution. The Coyotes reportedly lost about $37 million in the 2010-11 season, so the league would still lose a significant amount of money if the same happens next season. Even if reports of potential owner Matt Hulsizer getting cold feet were exaggerated, the Goldwater Institute probably won’t be swayed by the simple passage of time, either.

The City of Glendale would likely lose a lot more money if the Coyotes left town, though, so you cannot totally fault them for holding on for dear life here. Time will tell if this solution works out in the long term or is just another band-aid plan.

Chances are high that the council will vote “Yes,” but Winnipeg wouldn’t necessarily need to give up on finding an NHL team anyway. As we’ve discussed before, the Thrashers could end up being the team that relocates to the hockey-hungry city. It would be quite the scramble to get all the paperwork done and for the league to get everything squared away by the beginning of the 2011-12 season, but it wouldn’t be completely out of the realm of reason for something to happen.

Anyone familiar with this situation will admit that the Coyotes sale saga has been full of twists and turns, so it isn’t safe to assume much. We’ll keep you up to date whichever way it zigs or zags next.