The Phoenix Coyotes officially became the Arizona Coyotes at last month's NHL draft, signalling the end of a long, legal ordeal that was kicked off by their plunge into bankruptcy all the way back in 2009. After years trying to find a new owner, then negotiating with the city of Glendale over the lease for Jobing.com arena, it finally all got done last August.
Less than a year later, the rise of the Arizona Coyotes (like a phoenix, but no longer officially from Phoenix) was a big moment for the League.
So imagine if they had to do it all over. According to Glendale mayor Jerry Weiers, the deal shouldn't count. On Monday, he asked the state attorney general to investigate a secret meeting that may have have violated state law. From the Arizona Republic:
Weiers, who voted against the deal that kept the hockey team in Glendale, said he believes the meeting violated the Arizona's Open Meeting Law and revealed key information to the Coyotes about the city's negotiating position.
"I think it's a clear violation," he said. "That meeting is wrong on so many levels. It's like playing poker and showing your opponents all your cards."
Violations of the Open Meeting Law can rescind actions taken by elected officials, which could potentially void Glendale's deal with the team, which was then called the Phoenix Coyotes.
Good. Lord. It never ends.
Needless to say, the accused are denying the existence of this meeting, although The Arizona Republic obtained an e-mail that sure has the look of a smoking gun.
In the e-mail, Council member Gary Sherwood tells fellow Councilman Manny Martinez that he "spent over an hour with Nick Woods last night". Woods is IceArizona's attorney.
Sherwood also mentions another councillor that was there, then tells Manny to delete the e-mail after he's read it, which seems suspicious for a correspondence that's on the level.
If found to be in violation of the law, the punishment for Sherwood, Martinez and anyone else at the meeting wouldn't be much: a $500 fine and some legal fees. But the punishment for the NHL and the Arizona Coyotes would be far, far greater. More time in court dealing with something that was supposed to have been put to bed; a return to last year's circus.
It probably won't happen, especially since pretty much everybody but the mayor wants this behind them, and it'll be tough to prove the suspect wrongdoing, but nevertheless, the Phoenix Coyotes' legacy of legal battles lives on long after the name is dead and gone.