Despite the deadline coming and going for potential new owner, Greg Jamison to purchase the Phoenix Coyotes, the NHL and the city of Glendale are still trying to settle on an agreement.
Jamison failed to come up with the finances or the investors prior to Thursday night’s deadline of midnight and now the club is essentially “open for business” meaning a new owner could come into play. Jamison is said to still be in discussions with the NHL but the Glendale mayor said Wednesday that the offer on the table would disappear after the deadline. Sounds like a page out of Gary Bettman’s book of negotiations.
Wednesday night the Coyotes played host to the Edmonton Oilers. Not exactly a marketing dream for a club in the southern United States, but a crowd of just over 8,000 is a far cry from respectable.
The Coyotes did sell out their home opener when the defending champion Los Angeles Kings were in town and an original six club, the Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Blackhawks, Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers and Boston Bruins is good for a close to capacity crowd if not a sellout. The problem here lies that four of those teams won’t be in Phoenix this year and even when a full 82-game schedule is played, the Eastern Conference foes only make a trip to the desert once every two years (based on the old schedule).
Multiple attempts have been made to try and market this Coyotes club and still hockey remains the ugly sister among pro sports in the Phoenix area. A beautiful facility surrounded by an entertaining atmosphere that features a shopping mall and countless restaurants and pubs provides hockey fans with a full days worth of activities.
Throw in the fact that this club has made the playoffs for three straight seasons, won the division and made it to the Western Conference finals last season and it’s still not enough to draw a decent regular crowd.
As much as Gary Bettman hates to admit it, his protege of hockey in Phoenix appears to be all but dead. It appears that the time has come to pack up and move on out of Glendale, AZ and put this franchise in it’s third home.
The latest offer had Jamison collecting $308 million from the city of Glendale or $15 million annually over 20 years. This is the type of deal any investor would love to have and it’s surprising that the outgoing city council voted in favor of signing off on it. Or maybe this sweet, lucrative offer isn’t so pretty. Maybe the investors that Jamison was courting saw past the pretty dress and recognized the ugly, lipstick wearing pig that is this abysmal hockey franchise. Why else would no one want to get in on that action?
Because this club is a money pit and not even the greatest need for a tax write off would be enough to soak away your money.
So what’s the answer? It’s been going on four years that the league has ran the Coyotes and while a deal could still get done, Bettman needs to see the forest through the trees and call a spade a shovel. Relocation is the only viable solution here. Even if Jamison can round up the resources and come to terms on a new agreement, how long will he survive in this hopeless battle that is hockey in Phoenix.
Bettman saw first hand what the cities of Minneapolis and Winnipeg have done since the re-birth of their franchises so why is he so love struck with the idea of hockey in the desert? It hasn’t worked and it’s time to move on.
Part three of our Phoenix Coyotes Saga looks at the U.S destinations that could a possibility for the Coyotes to relocate too, including Seattle, Kansas City and Las Vegas.
Until then, thanks for reading and enjoy the hockey.
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