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.