Early this morning, Greg Jamison confirmed he was unable to close on his purchase of the Phoenix Coyotes by yesterday’s deadline to buy the team from the NHL and still receive the crucial arena-management agreement he had previously negotiated with the City of Glendale.
“We will not be able to complete our purchase of the Phoenix Coyotes today in time to meet our deadline with the city of Glendale,” Jamison said in a statement. “However, our journey to purchase the Coyotes will continue. We realize this will require additional conversations with the city of Glendale and the NHL. We still believe we can reach an agreement that satisfies everyone. We hope negotiations with the city proceed as smoothly as possible, as everyone involved wants the Coyotes to remain in Arizona.”
The NHL has also said it will continue working to keep the Coyotes in Glendale.
“We remain hopeful the Coyotes sale process will be resolved successfully and we will continue to work with the City of Glendale to move the process forward,” said deputy commissioner Bill Daly in a statement Friday.
However, new mayor Jerry Weiers could prove a tough negotiating partner for any prospective owner. Upon being elected in November, Weiers sent a strong message to the Coyotes that “Glendale is not your cash register.”
The recently expired arena-management agreement that Jamison managed to negotiate with the previous administration — which Weiers did not support — was set to pay Coyotes ownership around $15 million a year to run Jobing.com Arena.
Not surprisingly, the news that Jamison was unable to meet the deadline has raised eyebrows in Seattle, a potential NHL relocation/expansion market.
But Don Levin, a Chicago businessman who’s expressed interest in moving a team to the city, says he’s had no discussions with the league about buying the Coyotes.
“They don’t like to abandon markets,” Levin told the Seattle Times. “I think the league wants to do everything it possibly can to keep the team there.”
Update (12:11 p.m. ET):
Coyotes President and COO Mike Nealy issued the following statement regarding the Coyotes ownership situation:
“Today, we were informed by the National Hockey League that Mr. Jamison was unable to close on his purchase of the Coyotes. Mr. Jamison will continue to work with the NHL and the City of Glendale to close a deal that will keep the Coyotes in the Valley. Although there is no set timetable, hopefully it will be soon. The Coyotes will continue to be owned by the NHL and nothing changes for our organization. We will work hard on and off the ice to provide our fans with a winning team that they can be proud of. We would like to thank all of our great fans and corporate partners for their incredible patience and loyalty throughout this process. We know it’s been difficult and we appreciate their support.”