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Greg Jamison says pursuit of Phoenix Coyotes isn’t over; Seattle not ready for NHL relocation?

Greg Wyshynski
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In the latest episode of “As The Coyote Howls”…

Greg Jamison announced on Thursday night that his ownership group – which may in fact include only Jamison, an Ice Edge guy, a child with a lemonade stand and a Nigerian prince they all met over email – would not be able to complete their purchase of the Phoenix Coyotes to meet Glendale’s lease deadline.

From Craig Morgan of Fox Sports Arizona, a statement from Jamison:

"We will not be able to complete our purchase of the Phoenix Coyotes today in time to meet our deadline with the city of Glendale. However, our journey to purchase the Coyotes will continue. We realize this will require additional conversations with the city of Glendale and the NHL. We still believe we can reach an agreement that satisfies everyone. We hope negotiations with the city proceed as smoothly as possible, as everyone involved wants the Coyotes to remain in Arizona.

"To the Arizona's sports and hockey fans, and the City of Glendale, we appreciate your patience and diligence. We wish everything was completed today as we worked extremely hard on the deal. However, we have taken significant steps to keep the Coyotes in Glendale for the long-term. I've seen first-hand the wonderful support Arizona hockey fans have provided the Coyotes and we will continue our efforts to keep the NHL in Arizona."

“We hope negotiations with the city proceed as smoothly as possible” … what negotiations?

What else does the city have to do? At one point the lease deal had the city paying between $13 million and $18 million per year through the 20-year lease. Concessions were made in every facet of the agreement. What does Jamison need to sweeten the pot? Ownership of the Cardinals’ stadium, too?

From Mike Sunnucks of Phoenix Business Journal:

There is no indication of how close or far Jamison was to actually bringing together the $170 million needed to buy the team from the National Hockey League.

There were some private indications, however, that Jamison may have lost investment money and investors late in the process perhaps over squabbling for decision making and team management going forward.

Others question who close he actually was to raising the money with several sources familiar with the deal pegging it at about two-thirds of the capital needed. The NHL could try yet again to find a local owner or the Coyotes sale could be opened up to bidders from other markets such as Seattle and Quebec City.

Yeah, about Seattle ….

Josh Kerns of KIRO-AM radio in Seattle doesn’t believe the timing is right for the Coyotes, or any NHL team, to move to Seattle:

"They could play in Key Arena with a smaller capacity if the NHL were willing to make an exemption there," said Kerns. "It's where the Seattle SuperSonics basketball team used to play (before moving to Oklahoma City). After it was renovated several years ago, it can only hold between 10,000 and 11,000 fans for hockey.

"The other possibility is the Tacoma Dome, a larger facility that has hosted minor-league hockey in past years."

Sure, but a 2012 study found that the necessary renovations for the Tacoma Dome would be rather costly. From the News Tribune:

Modernizing the Dome still wouldn’t come cheaply. A full-scale renovation would cost an estimated $184 million – about $111 million less than what the price tag would be for completely gutting the arena and upgrading it to NBA or NHL standards.

But the more realistic option could be divvied up into phases over time, with officials for the financially-strapped city picking and choosing enhancements as fiscal reality dictates.

“Would it be great to have a sweeping renovation from top to bottom? Sure,” Kim Bedier, the city’s new facilities director, said Thursday. “But would it be realistic? No. There’s just not the cash to do that right now.”

Yeah, cash is short all over, apparently. Join us next time for another installment of “As The Coyotes Howls” …

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