As the plot thickens in Arizona, the Phoenix Coyotes are left to ponder their future. Although that’s nothing unusual for a team that has been in ownership netherworld for years, there is poignancy today.
A Monday count of signatures will determine whether a key portion of the team’s sale agreement to Greg Jamison will be on the November ballot. If the initiative succeeds, there is real chance Jamison, et al, will bail on the sale.
All hell could then break loose.
The National Hockey League has owned the Coyotes since buying them out of bankruptcy. Now, according to media reports, the notion surfaces that the league could fold the team. Given the power Gary Bettman has wielded to keep the franchise in business, it seems farfetched he would poison the Coyotes now.
Another option, mentioned by Mike Sunnucks of the Phoenix Business Journal, is to end a long dance with sports mogul Jerry Reinsdorf and complete a sale to him at a rock-bottom price.
Reinsdorf has been in and out of the Coyotes picture, but is seen as a favorite of Bettman. His Chicago sports empire includes the NBA’s Bulls and American League’s White Sox. He has ties to Phoenix
Shutting down the Coyotes is the least likely option, especially with the 2012-13 schedule out and collective bargaining agreement talks heating up. More likely, Sunnucks noted, is this scenario: If the Jamison sale collapses and a Reinsdorf sale can’t be done, the league could keep the team in the Phoenix market one more season while seeking a buyer who could then move the Coyotes.
That can of worms opens and brings thoughts of Quebec City, Kansas City and other possible destinations, real or imagined.
— Shane Doan’s free-agent talks tangled in sale conundrum
— Brett McLean cardiac emergency update
— What’s the story on Glendale ballot petition
— Coyotes details: news archive | 2012-13 schedule
SI.com – NHL