Apr. 3, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; Phoenix Coyotes fans hold signs during the third period against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Jobing.com Arena. The Coyotes beat the Blue Jackets 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE

Glendale and NHL At Odds

With less than a week remaining in the NHL regular season and the Phoenix Coyotes in the heat of a playoff race, the city it calls home is making news today by demanding the League return payments it has given as part of an agreement between the League and the city of Glendale to keep the team in Arizona.

Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs is petitioning for Gary Bettman to return approximately $20 million of the $25 million total it owes the League to keep the team in Glendale because the city cannot afford the escrow payments owed to the League to keep the Coyotes in town.Scruggs is asking the League to return the money by May 2 to help cover a $30 million budget deficit.

Scruggs now claims the money lost to keep the team in Glendale should be covered by the League and not the Glendale. “They have been in control of this process for the entire time,” Scruggs said. “They have led us to this terrible point we’re at today,” adding that the bill is “their problem, they misled us and they can’t do this to our city.”

According to The Globe and Mail, Scrugg did not know the city did not have access to the escrow account, which is a third-party that is in control of funds. She wanted to take the $20 million from that account, and is now demanding the city receive $15 million.

What does this mean? It could mean the Coyotes could be hi-tailing it out of the desert. Scruggs said she does not believe a buyer willing to keep the ‘Yotes in Glendale is out there, going as far as to say the League “want to take the team someplace else.”

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said recently that time is running out to find a buyer willing to keep the team in Glendale, as the League can no longer pick up the tab to cover expenses for the team, and the schedule for the 2012-13 must be completed soon.

Deals to sell the Coyotes to several potential buyers has fallen through over the past year. Suitors have come and gone, with no substance materializing.

The problem for the League, though, is that the two possible destinations to move the team to — Seattle and Quebec — both lack suitable arenas for the team to play in. An arena in Seattle is still in the works, and though an agreement was announced recently for a new building in Quebec, it’s still several years away.

The writing appears on the wall that the team is on the move. The NHL wants to wash its hand of owning the team, and now Glendale wants to get the fee off its hands, and rightful so. Unless an owner steps forward in the coming weeks, the Coyotes’ time in the desert appears to be dwindling.

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia

Tags: Phoenix Coyotes

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