NHL and Coyotes await key vote tonight on future in Glendale

TSN.ca Staff
7/2/2013 2:00:21 PM
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The latest chapter of the ongoing saga between the Coyotes and the City of Glendale is set to unfold tonight.

And like many before it, there's a possibility it could also be the final chapter.

On the voting agenda tonight is a proposed lease on Jobing.com Arena with Renaissance Sports & Entertainment, which has an agreement in place to buy the NHL team.

Watch the vote proceedings on TSN.ca NOW.

The lease is worth a total of $225 million over 15 years, but what appears to be the contentious issue for Glendale are potential costs to the City, which already fronted $25 million to keep the Coyotes in town over the past two years.

According to TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly will attend the meeting.

Dreger added that the NHL is hopeful that the deal will get approved, perhaps moreso than it was just two days ago.

But if the deal isn't approved, the NHL will almost certainly relocate the franchise.

"I don't want to be more specific than I'm going to be, but if the council doesn't approve it so this transaction can close, I don't think the Coyotes will be playing there anymore," Bettman said at the NHL's recent Board of Governors meeting.

A relocation announcement could take some time. According to Dreger, a list of possible new homes for the franchise including Seattle, Quebec City and Kansas City.

Unresolved concerns about the deal were outlined in a memo released by the City of Glendale last week, including issues over the city bearing all the risk in the deal if Renaissance's plan fails and a $15 million management fee to RSE that could end up costing the city more than the projected annual cost of $6 million (should other projections not be met).

Included in the deal are a pair of out-clauses for Renaissance, including one that kicks in at the five-year mark and one if their cumulative losses should hit the $50 million mark. The deal does not include an out-clause for the City of Glendale.

For the Coyotes, tonight's meeting is just the latest hurdle in a long and drawn out fight to stay in Arizona. The team filed for bankruptcy in 2009, setting off a wave of potential ownership scenarios. The league took control of the franchise from former owner Jerry Moyes and the first potential owner to come forward was former Research in Motion CEO Jim Balsillie.

While he had the funds to back an ownership bid, his offer hinged on his ability to relocate the team to Southern Ontario. With the league reluctant to meet his demands, the Coyotes soldiered on in the desert.

Next up was Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf and a rival bid from the Ice Edge Holdings group, but a consensus could not be reached between the league and the city on which deal to back and both eventually fell through.

A push to repatriate the franchise to its prior home in Winnipeg emerged in 2011 while the NHL attempted to sell the team to Matthew Hulsizer. The league backed that deal, but the Goldwater Institute – a local advocacy group – quashed a potential deal due to concerns over cost to the city.

Winnipeg's hunger for hockey was rewarded with the relocation of the Atlanta Thrashers two summers ago.

A bid to sell the team to former San Jose Sharks CEO Greg Jamison fell through in January after almost two years of negotiations and tentative agreements, which opened the door for Renaissance, who reached an agreement with the NHL in late May.

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