SBD/Issue 179/Franchises

NHL Threatened To Move Coyotes Immediately Without $25M

Glendale "On Track" To Give
NHL Viable Coyotes Owner

The NHL demanded that Glendale "show its proof of funds" to cover the $25M pledge the city made in an effort to keep the Coyotes in town "by last Thursday or risk the team leaving Jobing.com Arena immediately," according to Cecilia Chan of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. Glendale Assistant Deputy City Manager Julie Frisoni said, "The NHL had a buyer on the table waiting to pay $170 million for the team." She noted that the prospective buyer "wanted to relocate the Coyotes to Canada" in time for the '10-11 NHL season. As a result, Glendale transferred $25M "earmarked for city services such as water and sewer" into an escrow account that the NHL "can begin to draw upon in September." City officials said that although Glendale "planned to set up a special taxing district or some other funding mechanism to meet the $25 million obligation, the NHL's deadline made that impossible." The NHL-Glendale agreement states that the city is "off the financial hook if the city finds a viable owner, approved by the NHL, by Dec. 31." City Manager Ed Beasley said that Glendale is "on track to submit a recommended buyer or buyers to the NHL by June 30." Chan noted "talks continue" between the city and two potential buyers: Ice Edge Holdings and Jerry Reinsdorf. Beasley said there also are "additional parties who have shown interest" (AZCENTRAL.com, 5/27).

LIGHTNING SPEED: The Lightning have reported a "spike" in season-ticket sales and renewals since naming Steve Yzerman GM earlier this week. Exact figures were not available, but Lightning Exec VP/Communications Bill Wickett "called the increase somewhere between moderate and substantial." He said that it is "more notable because ticket sales usually lag around a holiday weekend" (TAMPABAY.com, 5/27). Meanwhile, SI.com's Jim Kelley wrote NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman "gets a lot of criticism for the ownership mess that has been the Phoenix Coyotes these past few years, and much of it is deserved, but in the credit where credit is due department, he's done the job in Tampa Bay." Bettman has found a "creditable owner with real money" in Jeff Vinik, and it is "fair to assume that Bettman steered Vinik" to hire Yzerman. The addition of Yzerman is a "good move for Tampa and, arguably, a great move for Vinik and the NHL." Bettman will not "say a word about how it all came about, but he should at least take a silent bow" (SI.com, 5/27).

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