April 29, 2009
The tragic tale of the Phoenix Coyotes has finally reached the point of absurdity: Not only has the NHL loaned the franchise money above and beyond its advances on revenue sharing, but Glendale City Manager Ed Beasley claims the League has actually been running the team since February.
According to the Arizona Republic, the NHL has promised Glendale that "it would reimburse the city for parking fees and security costs owed by the team."
(UPDATE: Coyotes brass now on the record denying the claim: "We are not reporting to the league.")
From the paper:
Beasley said the NHL started running the team around the time the rent payment was made in late February. It remains unclear what role the NHL has in operating the franchise. The NHL and Coyotes declined to comment. Coyotes Owner Jerry Moyes could not be reached.
In August, the Coyotes stopped paying the city rent, parking fees and most of its security costs at Jobing.com Arena, according to Glendale city records. The city was paid nearly $351,000 for past-due rent on Feb. 25, the day after the NHL agreed to loan the team an unspecified amount.
As part of the loan agreement, the league had the right to take over the franchise if NHL loan was not paid. "We have been told from the NHL that they are responsible for the team," Beasley said.
Both of these quiet parties better start spinning soon, for one damn important reason: March 4.
That was the date of the trade deadline. Phoenix made no less than four deals, and three of them were rather significant: Olli Jokinen to the Calgary Flames; Daniel Carcillo to the Philadelphia Flyers for Scottie Upshall; and Derek Morris to the New York Rangers in a trade that saw plenty of dead weight salaries fly to the desert.
If the city manager is correct and the NHL has been running the team since "around the time the rent payment was made in late February," when exactly did they take over and what is their role in operating the franchise?
If it was before the trade deadline, how much autonomy did the Coyotes' hockey operations have in making these deals? Did the NHL have to sign off on shipping Olli Jokinen to the Flames or taking on the Rangers' cap casualties; and if so, was the rest of the League clued in about it?
(H/T to the National Post for the pointer.)