The Phoenix Coyotes ownership soap opera has had more stops and starts than an NFL game, with nowhere near the entertainment or occasional catharsis. Yet there are more parties interested in its outcome than ever before: Coyotes fans, players, management, the NHL and folks in Quebec City, Seattle and Kansas City to name a few.
So it was big news on KING 5 in Seattle on Friday evening when a report claimed that Greg Jamison, the former CEO of the San Jose Sharks, had been approved by the NHL as the next owner of the Phoenix Coyotes:
So are the Coyotes saved? Not so fast, said the NHL.
Dave Zorn reports former San Jose Sharks CEO Greg Jamison has been approved by the NHL to purchase the Coyotes. Former Coyotes star, Jeremy Roenick, is reportedly part of Jamison's group.
Zorn made the report via Twitter last night here, writing: "Just to clarify..Jamison has been approved to by the NHL as an owner, and his money..still a little work to finish on it."
Alas, the NHL has denied the report, via Renaud P Lavoie of RDS.
Obviously, this is a big deal for Seattle, given that there are plans in place for an arena that could house both NBA and NHL teams. From the Seattle Times:
A prospective owner for an NHL franchise in Seattle has not been identified. Chris Hansen, the Bay Area money manager who proposed the new arena development, has said he is looking to acquire an NBA team but doesn't want to own the hockey team. He just wants to recruit an NHL team to play here.
Don Levin, a Chicago-area businessman who has expressed interest in bringing an NHL franchise to the Seattle area, was traveling Thursday and did not return messages.
Bill Daly, the NHL's deputy commissioner, said that none of the league's discussions with Levin involved the Phoenix Coyotes, a franchise the league hopes to sell to owners who will keep the team in Arizona.
Something seems to be happening on the Coyotes ownership front. Via Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic on Thursday:
For now, there are only whispers. But Jerry Colangelo hears potential buyers are "milling around." Former NHL star Jeremy Roenick said he's been approached by Greg Jamison, the former San Jose Sharks CEO who is trying to raise sufficient funds.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman recently said there's a third party involved, joining the Jamison Group and Chicago sports mogul Jerry Reinsdorf. One source said this third party is not only very real, but extremely wealthy and spending serious money on due diligence. That's a great sign.
Everything I've heard is that this is the last year in the desert for the Coyotes. But guarantees have really never had a home in this drama, which seems to take a new turn every week.