Found January 30, 2013 on
Fox Sports Arizona:
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Two league sources have told FOX Sports Arizona that it is unlikely prospective Coyotes owner Greg Jamison will be able to assemble the money and investors in time to meet a Jan. 31 deadline to purchase the club. If that deadline passes, Jamisons bid to end the team could be over.
If that happens, the league could open the bidding process again to other potential suitors. ESPN reported that a separate, unnamed group of investors is prepared to step in if Jamison is unable to close the deal by Thursday.
What is unclear is if the City of Glendale will agree to an extension on the 308 million lease agreement with a new group. New Mayor Jerry Weiers, who took office after the lease agreement was approved by the previous council, could push for a reworked agreement that is more beneficial to the city, and he made it clear to the Arizona Republic that he would not honor the current deal after Jan. 31.
As late as late week, Jamison remained optimistic that he could close the deal, but with a Jan. 31 deadline looming, Jamison admitted that it was a close call securing all the investors. Contrary to widespread reports, Jamison made it clear that he did not yet have all the money or investors necessary to purchase the team.
The Coyotes annual losses of between 20 million and 30 million, opposition by citizen groups and the Goldwater Institute, and the 113-day lockout all have hindered his efforts, as has the NHLs reported asking price of 170 million.
If the Jamison chapter does end, the most bizarre and lengthy ownership saga in NHL history would continue. Previous owner Jerry Moyes attempted to put the team into bankruptcy nearly four years ago and then attempted to sell the team to Canadian billionaire and Blackberry founder Jim Balsillie, but Balsillie's purchase was contingent on moving the franchise to Hamilton, Ontario, a move strongly opposed by the NHL. A bankruptcy judge rejected Balsillie's bid, leaving the NHL as the only bidder, buyer and hopeful seller.
The team thought it had an owner in Matthew Hulsizer, co-founder and chief executive officer of PEAK6 Investments, but that deal fell through amid opposition from the local watchdog Goldwater Institute and questions about Hulsizers available funding.
Jamisons name first surfaced about a year ago, and after a pair of failed citizen challenges, the Glendale City Council eventually approved a lease agreement with Jamison and set a Jan. 31 deadline for him to complete the purchase of the club.
In the meantime, the low-payroll Coyotes made the playoffs the past two seasons and advanced all the way to the Western Conference final last season, marking the best finish in franchise history.
Jamison had made it clear that his top priorities from a hockey operations standpoint would be to get general manager Don Maloney, coach Dave Tippett and goalie Mike Smith signed to new contracts. All three are in the final year of their deals. Clearly, those deals would be on hold if Jamison is out.
If Jamison fails and the new group can not broker a lease agreement with Glendale, it could mean the end of the Coyotes tenure in Arizona -- one that began in 1996 when the franchise relocated from Winnipeg. Quebec City and Seattle have been mentioned as possibilities, as has Markham, Ontario, a town north of Toronto that recently approved funds to build an NHL-style arena.
The league is not expected to issue a statement regarding the sale of the club until the Jan. 31 deadline has passed.
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