Another confusing turn for the fans in Phoenix tonight, as Ice Edge Holdings has reportedly backed out of their talks with the city of Glendale to keep the Coyotes:
Talks have broken down between the Ice Edge Holdings group and the City of Glendale over a potential arena lease agreement for the, CBC Sports' Jeff Marek has learned.
Ice Edge, a consortium of Canadian and American business people that failed in a previous attempt to purchase the Coyotes, recently re-entered the picture after Chicago sports mogul Jerry Reinsdorf backed away from discussions to buy the financially struggling club from the NHL.
Ever since last offseason's circus with Jim Ballsillie there have been rumblings about the viability of keeping the franchise in the desert-- as some will remember, Kevin Compton, who serves on the five member SVSE decision making committee and is a current co-owner, called the Coyotes fiasco a "joke" and stated that the owners weren't the ones keeping Balsillie out of the league.
That of course is water under the bridge now. Jim Ballsillie and Hamilton are both non-factors in the current discussions surrounding Phoenix, with Canadian billionaire David Thomson and Winnipeg the new faces entering the fray.
Ice Edge, who confirmed the breakdown via Twitter earlier tonight, is currently looking for an exclusivity agreement with the city during their negotiations. Glendale had previously rejected their bid in favor of Jerry Reinsdorf's a month ago, but after negotiations with Reinsdorf failed to produce a solid agreement, Glendale turned to Ice Edge once again. Reinsdorf, who owns the Chicago Bulls and Chicago White Sox, has not officially stated whether he has given up on obtaining the team.
All in all it's an unfortunate situation for Coyotes fans-- despite having a league-worst in attendance this season, they managed to sell out their last eight home games of the year and took theto seven games in a thrilling playoff series. Inept ownership that leads to a poor on-ice product are enough to keep fans away from the gates in just about every NHL city, and the current off-ice theatrics that have surrounded the organization during the last year are doing nothing to help in this regard.
Tomorrow evening is when it all comes to a head according to AZ Central, as the City Council will vote on whether or not to cover the franchise's operating deficits. This is potentially a dealbreaker for the NHL and could determine whether or not the Coyotes remain in Phoenix next season, especially if either Reinsdorf or Ice Edge cannot come to an agreement with the city.
Until then it's just a game of wait and see.
Or, in other words, just the same old story with a different twist.
Visit Five For Howling for more information on the Phoenix Coyotes and their current ownership situation.