SBD/April 22, 2011/Franchises

Glendale, Goldwater Institute Conclude Meeting Without Reaching Resolution

Bryzgalov says he would rather go back to Russia than play in Winnipeg
A "lengthy meeting Thursday between Glendale and the Goldwater Institute to resolve differences over a new ownership deal for the Phoenix Coyotes ended without a resolution," according to Cecilia Chan of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. Goldwater, which "opposes the city's deal with Chicago investor Matthew Hulsizer to buy the hockey team," put a "number of suggestions on the table that would garner its approval on the deal, including having Hulsizer purchase the team with his own money or finding additional investors." However, Goldwater Litigation Dir Clint Bolick said, "The meeting was disappointing from our perspective. The mayor asked for our concerns and our ideas and we provided a number of concerns and ideas. The city did not seem to be open to the ideas we suggested and the city attorney repeatedly told us he would see us in court" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 4/22). Goldwater CEO Darcy Olsen said, "It was a cupcake summit and unfortunately the cupcakes were far tastier than the conversation" (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 4/22). Goldwater posted audio of the meeting on its website. The GLOBE & MAIL's Eric Duhatschek notes it "soon deteriorated into a back-and-forth discussion between" Olsen and Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs, neither of whom were "budging from previously entrenched positions." Hulsizer "turned up for the meeting, even though Coyotes officials said the previous night that he wasn't invited and wouldn't attend" (GLOBE & MAIL, 4/22).

FACING REALITY: In Phoenix, Bob Young writes, "Barring a last-minute deal, Glendale looks as if it may be stuck with an empty arena and mountain of debt" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 4/22). An ARIZONA REPUBLIC editorial states, "Between crushing lease deals and uncertain leadership, the business side of the Coyotes has proved its own worst enemy" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 4/22). Coyotes coach Dave Tippett, whose team was swept out of the playoffs Wednesday, said, "I think we can win more if we have stable ownership, and there's probably not one hockey player in the league or one coach or one general manager in the league that would disagree with that. ... There has to be some kind of a solution, and I think everybody sees that" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 4/22).

LEFT IN THE COLD: In Winnipeg, Paul Friesen noted the city "isn't even back in the NHL, yet, but it already has a potential free agent problem." Coyotes G Ilya Bryzgalov, a soon-to-be free agent, said that he would "rather go back to Russia than play in Winnipeg." Bryzgalov: "Not many people live there, not many Russian people there. Plus it's cold. There's no excitement except the hockey. No park, no entertaining for the families, for the kids. It's going to be tough life for your family." If the Coyotes move to Winnipeg, Bryzgalov said that "chances are he wouldn't listen to a contract offer from the new owners." Bryzgalov: "Probably not. I better go to somewhere in Russia, KHL, to be honest. Because KHL is Russian people, it's family, friends. Even as a cold place, I can speak to people in Russian language" (WINNIPEGSUN.com, 4/21). The GLOBE & MAIL's James Mirtle noted this is "likely an unfortunate preview of what having an NHL team back in Winnipeg could be like, with some high profile free agents uninterested in signing there" (THEGLOBEANDMAIL.com, 4/21).
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