Columnist: Coyotes sale doesn’t mean they’ll be in the desert for long

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Long-suffering Phoenix Coyotes fans have two big reasons to be excited prior to tonight’s game at Jobing.com Arena.

First, their team is one victory over Nashville from reaching the conference finals.

Second, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is expected to announce that a tentative agreement to sell the club to Greg Jamison has been reached.

But one columnist, Ken Campbell of The Hockey News, has no problem raining on the parade.

If only it were that easy. In fact, the prospective sale of the Coyotes might be nothing more than a shell game, with the objective of the game to extract as much money out of the good people of Glendale as possible. For example, if former San Jose Sharks CEO Greg Jamison is to purchase the Coyotes, the new lease could cost Glendale a total of $92 million over the next five years. And that could be with no guarantee the team stays beyond that time period.

According to one source close to such matters, there are a couple of major caveats to this deal.

“It might kick the can down the street by a few years,” the source said, “but that’s about it.”

Like most deals, the devil will be in the details of this one.

Two things I’ll be curious to know are the length of the lease and the penalty for breaking it. Because if I were buying the Coyotes, I’d want to know I could relocate them in a few years if the business still hadn’t turned around by then.