NHL Officials Hoping To Keep Coyotes In Glendale, But New Arena Deal "Critical"
NHL officials say that they want to keep the Coyotes in Glendale, "even though terms of a new deal, or a buyer, have yet to emerge," according to Paul Giblin of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. Prospective Owner Greg Jamison said that he would "continue his efforts to buy the team, despite missing a deadline on a lucrative and exclusive agreement with the city." Ice Edge Holdings CEO Anthony LeBlanc, who previously headed another group interested in buying the Coyotes, said that a new deal with the city "would be critical for any potential buyer." LeBlanc: "The reality is that any potential owner, myself included, will require a deal with the city that is very, very similar to the one that was on the table over the last several months." LeBlanc declined to say if he "considered himself a potential owner." Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers said that he would "like to see the team stay at the city-owned Jobing.com Arena, and that he’s talked with two interested groups" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 2/5). Meanwhile, the Coyotes are "dead last" in NHL attendance. Last night's home game against the Wild saw an announced crowd of 9,508, the "third time this season they have had less than 10,000 fans attend a game and dipped their season average to 11,956 in the 17,125 capacity arena" (QMI AGENCY, 2/5).
THROW IN THE TOWEL? SPORTS ON EARTH's Joe DeLessio wrote, "There's one regular topic of conversation that I've always found totally depressing: the one about where the next relocated team is going to end up." The Coyotes have "been on the short list of teams that could relocate, be it to Seattle, or Quebec City, or maybe somewhere in Ontario." A solution for the Coyotes was "so close," but it is "maybe not so close anymore." Ultimately, it "may well be in the league's best interest to finally give up on Phoenix." If the team "can't turn a profit, and if the league can't find a buyer who believes the team can survive in Glendale under their watch, then relocating the team somewhere it can thrive is more important than maintaining a presence in a warm-weather city, no matter its market size" (SPORTSONEARTH.com, 2/4).