The saga involving the Phoenix Coyotes looks like it is drawing to a close.
According to the Phoenix Business Journal, there is only one more obstacle that former San Jose Sharks CEO Greg Jamison has to overcome to complete his purchase of the much-maligned franchise.
A group called Save Glendale Now, which is being led by the Sanderson Ford car dealership and the Home Builders Association of Central Arizona, has decided to appeal a lower-court ruling to the Arizona Court of Appeals in regards to a sales tax measure ballot case.
The group hopes to place on the ballot a proposed sales tax increase which would go towards paying Jamison and his group to help manage the arena. Save Glendale Now hopes to defeat the sales tax measure on the ballot which could effectively kill the deal with the Jamison group. The case will appear for the first time in front of the Court of Appeals on August 23rd.
Jamison is said to have secured these investors over the past two weeks as it was reported by numerous sources that he appeared to be $20 million short of the NHL’s asking price. Jamison will also have to prove to the NHL that he has the financial capital to run the team after the purchase.
Many feel that this deal will be wrapped up in a couple of weeks. But, if history is any indication of how this deal will be finalized, I would not hold your breath. Numerous times investors have been close to completing a deal with the City of Glendale only to see those deals collapse before coming to fruition.
When the Coyotes first went bankrupt under previous owner Jerry Moyes, two different groups stepped up to buy the team.
One was lead by Chicago Bulls and White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf and the other led by a consortium of east coast businessmen known as Ice Edge Holdings, Inc.
Reinsdorf was able to gain the support of the City of Glendale while Ice Edge Holdings, Inc. gained the support of the NHL. Bottom line, both deals collapsed and the NHL took over the team.
Remember Chicago businessman Matthew Hulsizer?
Hulsizer attended the October 16, 2010 Coyotes' home game versus the Detroit Red Wings and received a standing ovation when introduced to the crowd.
He spoke publicly for the first time about the purchase that night, stating that he had verbally agreed with the NHL on the purchase price.
"Buying a hockey team is like buying a piece of art”, Hulsizer stated. “You don't do it to make a lot of money. You do it because you love it.”
Hulsizer’s deal with the City of Glendale was closely scrutinized by the conservative watchdog group the Goldwater Institute. When Goldwater threatened to sue Hulsizer after looking at the bond provisions of the agreement he signed with Glendale, Hulsizer backed out of the deal and refused to renegotiate with Glendale.
Glendale Holdings LLC, a group lead by Reinsdorf and Phoenix attorney John Kaites entered the picture at the same time as the group lead by current prospective buyer Greg Jamison. The NHL eventually went with the Jamison group leading us to where we are today.
Although this may be the closest any prospective buyer has gotten to finalizing a deal to buy the Coyotes, I refuse to believe that the deal will be completed until every single piece of paper is signed by all sides involved. Too many times, Coyotes fans have been burned by false hope in regards to the NHL and the City of Glendale.
As for Shane Doan, he is the heart and soul of the franchise and he has not been told what the future holds for the Coyotes in absolute certainty.
In my opinion, if Jamison told Doan that he had secured the funding to keep the franchise in the desert, Doan would already be signed.
There has been speculation that Doan wants to leave Phoenix and explore his options in the free agent market. While Doan has made visits, he has insisted since the beginning that he doesn’t want to go anywhere else unless he absolutely needs to.
There has also been speculation that his agent, Terry Bross, is taking Doan to teams that are interested, in order to jack up the value of Doan’s contract. While Doan is not expected to give Phoenix a hometown discount, he again has insisted that he is not out to break the bank with Phoenix.
This makes me question if Jamison has the capital to close the deal. If I were Jamison, the first person I would be on the phone with would be Shane Doan, to try to get him resigned as quickly as possible. This would be for a number of reasons, including season ticket sales and the potential re-ignition of the success that the squad had last season.
Being a life-long Coyotes fan has caused me to pause whenever good news comes forth regarding a sale of the franchise. For all Coyotes fans, the hope is that Jamison will close before the end of August and Doan will sign during the month of August as well.