The never-ending soap opera in the desert concerning the sale of the Phoenix Coyotes continues to take awful turns for fans of hockey in Arizona. Rebekah Sanders of the Arizona Republic breaks news tonight that the City of Glendale, where the Coyotes currently reside at Jobing.com Arena, says that negotiations to sell the team to Ice Edge Holdings is in trouble.
A group seeking to buy the Phoenix Coyotes has not complied with terms that Glendale officials believe are required to pursue the purchase, city leaders confirm.
But Ice Edge Holdings and the National Hockey League say the deal is moving forward.
The dust-up is the latest in a series of negotiations between Glendale and at least two team bidders that have collapsed and resurfaced over a tortuous year for local hockey fans.
The group of Canadian and American investors was required to show Glendale proof of its financing last month in order to negotiate exclusively with the city and work on a detailed lease for the Coyotes to play at city-owned Jobing.com Arena.
At the deadline, Glendale said Ice Edge had submitted “some of the required financial information.” City officials declined public records requests for more detail.
But on Monday, city spokeswoman Julie Frisoni revealed that Ice Edge has failed to submit some of the required documents, five weeks past the deadline. She would not elaborate on the missing files.
Though the deadline for exclusivity is gone, Frisoni said, the city can still negotiate with Ice Edge.
But the clock is ticking. The tentative agreement between Glendale and Ice Edge aimed to conclude negotiations Aug. 6.
“We have a very tight timeline to make the deal,” Frisoni said.
While the deal that gave Ice Edge exclusivity in the rights to buy the team was hailed as a success, there’s been a lot of ill wind blowing around this situation all along. Think back to Jerry Reinsdorf being brought in at the NHL’s urging to help show that there was an interest by a proven owner to purchase the team. Reinsdorf was granted the same exclusivity that Ice Edge has but Reinsdorf got out of the mix to buy the team when Ice Edge stepped up.
When Ice Edge was granted the right of exclusivity, the NHL and the City of Glendale worked out an agreement to ensure that the team would stay there by ponying up $25 million if the NHL didn’t have a buyer for the team worked out by June 30th. Whoops, good bye money for the city, but hey they’ve still got a team and they’ve got a definitive future buyer in Ice Edge, right? Not so fast.
In all truth, this is just yet another apparent failing on behalf of all parties to sell this team. First it was Jerry Moyes trying to sneak out in the dark of night and hand the team over to Jim Balsillie and now it’s on the NHL to act as the kindly benefactor for the fans in Arizona and all that’s happened to this point, aside from a great season out of the Coyotes last year, is having the home town lose a ton of money and to have the future of the team staying in Glendale once again remain very much up in the air.
Ice Edge’s response to this news as well as the NHL’s likely “no comment” on the matter will follow this up soon. Ice Edge has been very honest and up front about everything all along as they’re the “people’s choice” for buying the team. Any kind of wavering in their words when discussing matters will be crushing for the fans in Glendale and Phoenix, and may once again spark hope in Winnipeg that they might soon get their team back. At the very least, there’s one guy that will be excited about that.