Coyotes Caught In Lease Talks

Officials for a bankrupt NHL team are wrangling over the lease at a city-owned arena in Glendale, Ariz., that they claim is holding up their ability to sell off the club.

At issue for the Phoenix Coyotes are the fees paid to the city to rent the Arena and the team’s inability to charge for parking and control game-day operations, the Phoenix Business Journal reported.

The Coyotes, which were acquired by the NHL after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, drew interest last December from Ice Edge Holdings, a group of Canadian and American investors.

But before Ice Edge will purchase the team, the investors want approval from the Glendale city council to allow the Coyotes to play several games in Canada each year, according to the Arizona Republic.

Ice Edge CEO Anthony LeBlanc told the paper the company would like to have the deal with the city completed by the end of the season. However, lease negotiations have taken longer than expected.

“We certainly expect that this will be closed by the time that the Stanley Cup is awarded this year,” he said. “That’s our plan, but it will require the city and us working together to get the lease ratified.”

Glendale officials have reportedly said they are willing to negotiate with Ice Edge on the lease as long as taxpayers don’t lose money in the deal.

If no deal is reached by June, the NHL may seek alternative markets for the team, the Republic said. The league is seeking between $140 million and $160 million for the Coyotes.