NHL Sets Deadline For Coyotes Sale, Threatens Move
The financially troubled Phoenix Coyotes may still be on the run.
The National Hockey League has set a Dec. 31 deadline for the city of Glendale, Ariz., landlord of the Coyotes’ home rink, to reach an agreement with new owners for the team, the Arizona Republic reported. Otherwise, the NHL may authorize the franchise to move to another market.
The league said it has a “bona-fide offer from a viable purchaser who would relocate the hockey team to another market,” the paper reported, referring to a legal agreement between the NHL and the city.
The threat comes nearly a year after the league thwarted former Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes’s attempt to sell the team through bankruptcy to a buyer that would have moved the Coyotes to Canada. The NHL ultimately purchased the team out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy and ran it during the 2009-2010 season. The league has said it will not be a long-term owner and intends to sell the franchise, preferably to a group that will keep the team in Arizona.
Reaching a deal with Glendale’s Jobing.com Arena appears to be the major sticking point in negotiations. Moyes had partially blamed his deal with the arena for the Coyotes’ continued losses. For several months, the league and the city have been in on-again, off-again talks with Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf and a group of investors called Ice Edge Holdings.
If the Coyotes were to scamper out of town, their former home, Winnipeg, Manitoba, appears to be the most likely destination. A local ownership group in that city has already presented the league with a relocation deal. The team, then known as the Jets, left Winnipeg after the 1995-1996 season.