Wednesday, April 13, 2011


According to Don McLean and Nick Kypreos of Sportnet Radio, the Fan 590, the deal to save the Phoenix Coyotes is now dead, and the Coyotes will be announced to be moving to Winnipeg at the end of the Coyotes playoff run.



About frickin' time.


4:20PM Newfoundland Standard Time

TSN Link

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly has told TSN that there is no truth to a Toronto radio report that the NHL is preparing to move the Phoenix Coyotes to Winnipeg in the coming weeks.

The report on Wednesday suggested that a move would be announced by the league once the Coyotes are eliminated from the playoffs.

"The report has no basis in fact. No decisions have been made at this point one way or the other. And we continue to be active in our efforts to effectuate a sale of the franchise in Glendale," Daly told TSN.

Winnipeg sources also say they have no such information of an imminent move and contend the NHL hasn't even remotely suggested such a move is in the works.

Winnipeg continues to wait patiently, but can't wait much longer before having to commit to existing AHL partners.


Another rumor mill cut down. I'm sure there is more to come.


UPDATE: 7:01pm Newfoundland Standard Time

Bob McKenzie, one of the most respected hockey writers in the country, weighs in, and believes they are more likely to play in Winnipeg rather than Phoenix next year. Read on:

Where will the Phoenix Coyotes be playing next season?

Well, since you asked, I will say it's more likely to be Winnipeg than Phoenix. That's my opinion.

I say probably, and qualify it as my "opinion," because all the factual information I can find says to me very clearly that no final or irrevocable decision on the future home of the Coyotes has yet been made by any of the three vested parties - the NHL, the City of Glendale and would-be (under the right circumstances) owner Matthew Hulsizer.

And if we have learned anything in this long and winding Coyotes' saga in Phoenix it is that it ain't over until one of three parties pulls out and says it's dead.

Could that happen? Sure, it could.

When might it happen? I don't know, it could be days or maybe a week or two or three. Months is certainly not a viable answer because if the Coyotes are going to relocate to Winnipeg or anywhere else, there is much that needs to be done to facilitate it both within the league and the new market as well.

So whether it's days or weeks, we should get an answer to our question soon enough.

Now, here's another question: Is there a chance the Coyotes stay put in Phoenix for next season and beyond?

My opinion on that is a qualified yes, it's not entirely out of the question, it could still happen. I think it's probably a longshot at this point and perhaps getting to be a longer shot with each passing day that the NHL, City of Glendale and Hulsizer don't announce they have a deal.

But we must also allow for the possibility of a rabbit to be pulled out of the hat, that as long as the Hulsizer deal hasn't been declared dead it could still be resurrected in some form to keep the Coyotes in the desert.
For weeks now, a lot of people in the NHL community at large have been whispering that the Hulsizer deal is dead or on life support with little or no chance of being revived, but, as of this particular moment in time, none of the three vested parties have communicated that in any meaningful way.

Maybe that changes tomorrow or next week or whenever.

In the meantime, the good news is we have the Stanley Cup playoffs to keep us busy.

I said more than a month or so ago that, for the first time ever, I felt like Winnipeg was a legitimate landing spot for the Coyotes and the return of the NHL to Manitoba could become reality.

For every day that has gone by since then that there hasn't been an announcement the Coyotes are staying Phoenix, I've been getting a stronger feeling that they may actually end up in Winnipeg. With each day that continues to pass without a resolution in Phoenix, that feeling will only intensify.

But for me to suggest it's fait accompli, a done deal, that there is no chance of them staying in Phoenix and that Winnipeg is guaranteed of getting back the NHL?

I can't make that leap. Not at this point and I wouldn't even venture a guess when, or if, we do get to that point.


There you have it.


UPDATE: 2:00pm April 14, 2011

Daren Dreger, also one of the most respected voices in hockey reporting in the country weighs in on the case. As quoted from "The Dreger Report":

1) Desert Stalemate: Sources close to businessman Matt Hulsizer say he has done nothing to alter his proposal to buy the Phoenix Coyotes, nor has he changed his intention to sit patiently while the NHL, the City of Glendale and the city's bankers continue to try and solidify bond buyers.

The fact the league has long since surpassed the point where it hoped a resolution would be found is the reason speculation persists the Coyotes may soon call Winnipeg home.

If a deal can't be reached between the NHL, Hulsizer and the city of Glendale, then the league may have no choice other than to put a stop to this endless saga and embrace relocation. But that decision hasn't been made yet.

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly supplied public denials yesterday amid reports the Coyotes are headed to Manitoba after their playoff run, while True North sources also refuted the claims, followed by those close to Hulsizer who insist his position hasn't changed.

So what we have is a stalemate that only the NHL can rectify.

If Hulsizer isn't willing to sweeten the pot and there is no tangible interest among bond buyers, then the deal - while not completely dead - is on life support with Gary Bettman deciding when to pull the plug.

As of this morning, there are no meetings or conference calls between the NHL, Hulsizer and Glendale planned to further the process along one way or another.


As you can see, yesterday's news, while likely telling, wasn't the actual case. No movement has been made on any fronts. As a betting man, after round 1 and the Coyotes are eliminated, you'll see a whirlwind of activity on this story.


UPDATE: 4:15PM April 14 2011

From the Winnipeg Free Press


The Bettman ultimatum

NHL commissioner will tell Glendale, Hulsizer to do deal now -- or else

The NHL is preparing to put a gun to the City of Glendale's head and will again use Winnipeg as the bullet.
Reports that Matthew Hulsizer's $170-million bid to purchase the Phoenix Coyotes is dead may be premature but it appears there is only one chapter left to be played out in this saga.

Expect the next move to be the NHL's. It will involve positioning the city of Winnipeg against Phoenix in a manner reminiscent of last spring's leverage play by commissioner Gary Bettman.

Sports radio talk in Toronto on Wednesday had the deal in the desert near or at the end of the line and the Free Press has a Glendale source stating Hulsizer has pulled any concessions he's made off the table and reverted to his original proposal to the NHL and City of Glendale.

The next move will be Bettman's and it will likely come in the next five to 10 days. He'll need Winnipeg's help again and it's quite possible that talks between the league and True North have begun anew.

The NHL has painted itself into a bit of a corner by waiting this long to resolve the sale and now runs the risk of having to announce relocation of the franchise during a playoff run. It would be bad enough to make such an announcement in the first round but even worse to make it in the Stanley Cup final.

It's unlikely Bettman will wait that long to pull the trigger. Expect the commissioner to get in front of this one in the latter stages of the opening round. Bettman will give Hulsizer and the City of Glendale one final crack at closing a deal.

Mark Chipman and his partner David Thomson are still interested in an NHL franchise they would bring to Winnipeg and operate out of the MTS Centre.

Playing stalking horse for the NHL a second time will, however, come with some strings says a U.S.-based attorney with experience in sports franchise transfer-of-ownership deals.

The lawyer, who has been involved in NBA and NHL relocations deals, demanded anonymity but said the next few steps will be common practice in terms of the league's arrangement with True North.

According to the source, True North will require financial and contractual guarantees to sign a purchase offer that Bettman can then take to Arizona and use to prod Glendale and Hulsizer.

Before True North signs a deal, they'll want exclusivity, a firm timeline, board of governor approval and likely a seven-figure compensation -- called a breakup fee -- should the deal sour at the last moment.

True North will insist Bettman only shop their deal to Hulsizer and that no other party be allowed in at the last minute. The NHL will have the opportunity to use this leverage with Hulsizer alone. If he can't or won't buy the team -- then it's Winnipeg's.

The NHL made its choice to relocate to Winnipeg a long time ago, if needed. Any talk of other markets has been silliness. The league is once again working with Winnipeg and no one else. That won't change.

The deal will have a small window. Once True North signs off, the NHL will have a firm deadline which it will need to work within. Bettman will tell Glendale and Hulsizer they have a certain number of days -- certainly less than seven -- to conclude their deal. If it's not consummated within the agreed term -- the agreement in principle between the NHL and True North will come into effect.

Board of Governor approval, required for any relocation, will need to be signed off on before this agreement is signed. Should Bettman's leverage play in Glendale work a second time and prompt the city and Hulsizer to act, True North will be compensated for its role and efforts. Our source says a sum in the neighbourhood of $5 million would be the norm for a deal of this size.


An interesting piece of information to say the least. Perhaps the league is realizing that this has taken too long and are starting to get nervous. Anyway, more food for thought.



UPDATE: 11:30pm, April 14



From TSN

Five weeks after NHL commissioner Gary Bettman visited Glendale to declare "time is running out", there is still no deal apparent to keep the Coyotes in Arizona.

Now a report in the Winnipeg Free Press states True North, the potential ownership group in Winnipeg, will soon unveil a season ticket campaign to gauge support for an NHL franchise.

A resounding response could boost the city's chances of getting the Coyotes to move back to Winnipeg. However, a poor response could damage True North's chances of bringing the Jets home.

"There is nothing in the constitution on this," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told the Free Press in an e-mail on Thursday. "Certainly, one of the things the board has to have satisfied is that the market is capable of supporting an NHL team at NHL prices. But that can be done in a variety of ways, depending on the market. There is no one 'cookie cutter' approach here."

The NHL bought the Coyotes out of bankruptcy in 2009 and has been trying to sell it ever since.


All you Jets fans, even if you aren't in Winnipeg, BUY A DARNED TICKET. Not many places are given that "second chance" like this. Buy your ticket, prove you want this team back. I, myself am not a Jets fan. The team was a mediocre mess back in the day, the Coyotes aren't much better since. But still... BRING HOCKEY HOME. Bring it to where it belongs.



UPDATE:  April 28th, 1PM


Report: City of Glendale must pay NHL $25M by Monday; Coyotes allegedly lost $36.6M

Apr 28, 2011, 11:25 AM EDT
The 2010-11 season might have left the City of Glendale feeling a bit bloated, but Rebekah L. Sanders of the Arizona Republic reports that they have until Monday to pay the bill. That means they’ll need to pay the NHL the $25 million they promised, although Sanders reports that the Phoenix Coyotes’ actual losses amounted to a whopping $36.6 million in the last eight months dating up to March.

I’ll just let you marinate in that figure for a moment: $36.6 million.

Sanders reports that the city promised taxpayers that they wouldn’t need to foot that $25 million bill since a new owner would take care of it, but the sale is obviously still in limbo.

Some people will jump to the conclusion that the “deadline” is now Monday, but if this twisted saga proves anything, it’s that there aren’t many clear answers to its many questions. The NHL might cut the City of Glendale a break (it is coming off a season of record-breaking projected revenues, after all) by giving them an extension, perhaps.

Who knows at this point, though. Yesterday’s big story was that the Winnipeg city mayor Sam Katz openly doubts that the Coyotes will move to his city because of the threat of a lawsuit. The potential sale of the Atlanta Thrashers also hangs in the balance of this mess, so there are two NHL franchises greatly affected by what shall occur in the next weeks/months.

Every time there seems to be a moment of clarity in this situation, the odds-on favorite scenario flips on its head. For that reason, we won’t forecast a winner; instead, we’ll just keep you up to date as the situation continues to change. Eventually we might even be able to discuss a resolution to the matter.


Just a little more evidence that the team needs to move, be it Winnipeg or anywhere else.

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