October 27, 2009
With the ugly end of Jerry Moyes's ownership of the Phoenix Coyotes apparently in sight, after his decision to sell the franchise to the NHL yesterday (pending Judge Baum's approval), the focus is shifting to the Coyotes' future and their future owners.
The AP reported that Gary Bettman and other NHL officials met with Ice Edge Holdings on Monday, the group that was involved in the auction for the team before dropping out to leave the NHL and Jim Balsillie as the last bids standing.
The Arizona Republic's Westside Insider got reaction from Coyotes minority owner John Breslow, who is part of the Ice Edge group, regarding its interest in the team and commitment to Glendale. "Everyone realizes the team is on life support," he said. "It still could leave if we, or someone else, doesn't finalize this deal."
From Westside Insider, some reassurance that the Ice Edge bid for the team won't have the escape hatch that Jerry Reinsdorf was negotiating to have in his offer:
Q: How do you protect yourself against the possibility you can't turn the franchise around? Do you negotiate a time frame for success in Glendale?
A: " No we're not going to do that. I know other parties have tried to do that. We quite frankly don't have a backup plan. Our plan is to make it work in Phoenix. In our opinion, it's the wrong way to approach the partnership with Glendale - a "we'll try it but if it doesn't work out we're going to leave."
Ice Edge is approaching this mess with a mix of realism and optimism that might not necessarily sync up, given the huge debts and incredible apathy in the market they're battling against. This is why some are approaching Ice Edge and the Coyotes with very, very cautious optimism.
I don't say that anyone has an obligation to lose money, be it Karmanos, Moyes or someone else, but don't give fans a cruddy product, then spit in their faces when they call you on it. In my view, that's exactly what playing a single Coyotes game out of the state of Arizona would be like. They'll couch it by calling it a way to inject quick cash into the team coffers. Sure it is.
For the most part, Coyotes fans have been staying away from the arena so far this season, and I can't blame them for sitting out awhile and being cautious. Whalers fans thought packing their arena would prove the team deserved to stay in Hartford, and where did that get them?
On the other hand, let's see how this road trip progresses, and if the team bounces back from last night's loss and plays well the rest of the way, maybe showing up and giving Dave Tippett and the boys a little encouraging support wouldn't be a bad thing.
Well, winning solves everything, doesn't it? The Coyotes are 6-4, and playing better hockey than expected while sitting in the No. 8 seed. But they've lost two in a row before facing the Columbus Blue Jackets and St. Louis Blues to end this road trip. After that, it's six of the next eight at home -- and we'll learn plenty about this team during that stretch.
For die-hard Coyotes fans like Odin Mercer of Five For Howling, the chance to focus on such hockey-related matters is quite a welcome development:
By November 2, the NHL could have control of the team. Ice Edge already has a deal in place with Glendale. They've met with the NHL a few times now, been at several of the games so far this year and are almost ready to close. According to Bill Daly there are other group interested too, but we have no idea who they are at the moment. Reinsdorf isn't likely in my opinion, so now that the team looks to FINALLY be out of the courts with this maybe we can get some real ownership and everyone CAN GET OFF OUR BACKS! THough they'll probably still whine and complain about us having a team, but too damn bad.
Like their team has shown through 10 games, defiance is one heck of a motivation.