Coyotes Deal Melts

A potential deal between a Canadian and American investor group and the city of Glendale, Ariz., over a lease agreement at the Arena has fallen through.

Ice Edge Holdings had thrown its hat into the ring to buy the Phoenix Coyotes from the NHL and secure the lease at the team’s home Arena earlier this year. The NHL purchased the team in a bankruptcy sale last year.

Last month, the group appeared to be out of the running when Glendale officials rejected Ice Edge’s proposal to keep the team in the city-owned venue for the remainder of its 24-year lease.

But things were on again following an announcement from NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, who said talks recently resumed with Ice Edge.

Maybe he spoke too soon.

“Talks have broken off,” Ice Edge’s Daryl Jones told the Winnipeg Free Press.

Apparently the group felt slighted by the fact that it wasn’t the only bidder negotiating with the city.

Chicago sports magnate Jerry Reinsdorf’s Glendale Hockey investor group also made a pitch for the Coyotes that would allow the team to be moved from the city after five years should certain conditions not be met. The proposal was preliminarily approved by city councilors last month.

“We were adamant about needing exclusivity in these negotiations and they haven’t provided it,” Jones said. “I’m not totally surprised. We’ve been dealing with this for a while. We thought they had agreed to certain things and expected them in writing. That didn’t materialize.”

The city of Glendale has moved to keep the team in the arena to help pay down a reported $180 million in debt used to construct the building. However, if no deal is secured by June 30, the NHL could seek an alternative market for the team.

The Glendale city council was set to meet at press time to vote on a resolution that could see the city on the hook financially for operating losses incurred by the NHL while the league continues negotiations with possible owners.