NHL sorta kinda threatens to move Coyotes if Glendale doesn’t cough up $15m a year in subsidies

Notwithstanding that the Glendale city council is refusing to talk about it in public, debate over the future of the Phoenix Coyotes is heating up again:

  • NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said that the 2013-14 season schedule is being held up because of uncertainty over the Coyotes sale, saying, “We’re getting to the point where some decisions are going to have to be made.” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly was even more blunt, saying, “Yes, it’s certainly means it’s possible the team won’t play there next year. Look, we’re in the short strokes with Phoenix now.”
  • Four bidders have emerged to manage the Jobing.com Arena, including subsidiaries of the Phoenix Suns and Arizona Cardinals. None of which are likely to be approved, since the group that wants to buy the Coyotes is insisting on getting the management contract — and $15 million in annual payments from the city — as part of the deal, but the city said it put the contract out to bid to establish fair market value, i.e., so it can tell the Coyotes buyers to blow that $15 million out their ear.

The common theme here is that it’s getting into crunch time, with the Glendale city council about to adjourn on June 28 (though it can come back into special session if it wants), and the NHL trying to raise fears that if the city doesn’t approve this new group’s demands soon, it could lose the team — even if Bettman has never followed through on those threats before. It looks like we’re going to be in for lots of fun brinksmanship over the next couple of weeks, if nothing else, even if it ends up with the Glendale council caving and then the new buyers backing out like it always does.

11 comments on “NHL sorta kinda threatens to move Coyotes if Glendale doesn’t cough up $15m a year in subsidies

  1. I understand we don’t live in a Downton Abbey age anymore, but is anyone else finding it more than a little creepy that professional (Lawyer) and Deputy commissioner Daly is using a relatively classless sexual reference to describe the sale process in Glendale?

    Or was he referring to the severe screwing the NHL has (and intends to continue) inflicted on the taxpayers of Glendale themselves?

    If the latter, somehow the language chosen seems nearly perfect.

  2. “Short strokes” appears to be either a golf or painting reference, depending on which part of the interwebs you want to believe.

  3. Move the team to Yemen or Abu Dhabi. Doubt anyone in Phoenix is going to miss the Coyotes, anymore than they miss the Thrashers in Atlanta. “We’re getting to the point where decisions are going to have to be made.” Why don’t they just contract a few teams. The talent-pool is fine (all you have to be is a 5’10” Canadian that knows how to ice skate), but the lack of interest is clearly evident in several of the league’s markets. You think Seattle is going to build that arena if they are only guaranteed NHL? I don’t think so. Just let Canada have the team back, or contract. It gets cold where I live in Denver, but take my word for it, not very many people care about the Avalanche here, or if they leave, etc. We (Team America-World Police) do well at the Olympics and the World Championships, but that’s not because hockey is a major sport in most parts of the U.S. It just means that we are a huge country with lots of people, and that there is only a handful of other countries that even play hockey, much less care about it. We’ll always be at least in the top six or seven, just by default. Who’s going to beat us? Estonia?

  4. Well, not Estonia but the US has been bested by the Czech Republic more than a few times.

  5. Hey Mike,

    Contraction is not an option when you have a city like Quebec waiting in the wings (ownership group ready, temp arena ready, new arena under construction), possibly a few other cities are ready as well like SEA, KC, or LV. I don’t see the NHLPA going along with contraction either. If anything the league is poised to expand thanks to the new uneven alignment (14 teams in the west, 16 in the east).

    I’d say the team is relocated before anything.

  6. A Seattle NHL team will be more popular than the reborn Sonics if that happens. Though I do agree that a Seattle NHL team won’t happen without the Sonics because of I-91.

    And while we’re moving Phoenix, we should get those dead hockey towns like Boston, Chicago, St. Louis and Washington to good, Canadian cities. http://espn.go.com/nhl/attendance/_/year/2007

  7. Chicago gets an asterisk. That was the last season that universally reviled Bill Wirtz was alive for. The fan base had given up on the cheap bastard. He wouldn’t put games on TV because he thought that people wouldn’t come out to the arena if they could watch at home for free. But people didn’t want to pay to see a bad team play as he wasn’t really investing in it.

    Seems like within a week of his death there was an agreement to broadcast games locally (I’m sure there was a handshake agreement in place just waiting for the old man to die) and the team has been on an upward trajectory ever since. But Wirtz was hated. If he is buried somewhere, I imagine there are Blackhawks fans that literally go dance on his grave. It only took Chicago two seasons to go from last in attendance to first.


  8. Wasn’t there a time in the Wirtz era that the AHL Chicago Wolves outdrew the blackhawks?

  9. I agree, Dave. Quebec City should have never lost its team to begin with. While we’re at it, I like the Ottawa RedBlacks color-scheme and whatnot, and they need five teams in each conference in the CFL. Come on Schooners!!!

  10. Well the threats worked to an extent. Glendale has upped the amount they’d be willing to pay annually from $6 mil to $10 mil. Still short of the desired $15 mil, but it is the right direction as far as the NHl will br concerned. To Glendal’s credit however, they’re starting to ask some tougher questions as a condition of the increase.