SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Just when it seemed like the Phoenix Coyotes would get an owner after more than three years of waiting, the ongoing saga took another turn.
Former San Jose Sharks CEO Greg Jamison reached a preliminary deal to buy the team from the NHL last year and worked out a 20-year lease agreement with the city of Glendale worth more than $300 million. All Jamison had to do was complete his purchase by 11:59 p.m. Thursday.
As of Thursday afternoon, Jamison still hadn’t completed the deal, putting his agreement with Glendale in jeopardy.
New Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers has said he will not extend the lease deal.
Amid reports that possibly two other groups were interested in buying the team and another saying Jamison had asked for an extension on his agreement with the city, what once seemed like a done deal has become complicated and convoluted.
Having been through this before, the Coyotes just focus on what they can do on the ice, just as they always have.
“Obviously it’s a frustrating time, but we have no control over it,” goalie Mike Smith said.
The ownership dilemma started in 2009, when former owner Jerry Moyes took the team into bankruptcy in a bid to sell to Canadian Jim Balsillie, who would move the Coyotes to Hamilton, Ontario. The NHL vehemently opposed that plan and a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge later refused to allow the sale to go through.
With no one else stepping forward, the NHL bought the team and started running it with the intention of finding a buyer who would keep the team in Arizona. Doing that has been a drawn-out process filled with false starts and dashed hopes.