Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hulsizer Out?

When the NHL bought the Phoenix Coyotes back in the fall of 2009, who would have thought it would still own the team almost two years later?

Believe it or not, after two full seasons, the league does still own the team and it appears there is still no end in sight to the Coyotes ownership saga. The Phoenix Business Journal reported on Monday night that another potential owner has pulled out, making it three unsuccessful bids since the NHL took over.

Sources say Chicago’s Matthew Hulsizer is no longer interested in becoming the owner of the franchise, joining Ice Edge holdings and Jerry Reinsdorf in the category of groups that showed interest, but were never able to come to a lease agreement with the city of Glendale.

At one point, the Hulsizer deal looked like a slam-dunk, with the city bending over backwards to “help” him buy the team. They put together an enticing package, which included a $197-million “bond and arena management deal,” but it was challenged by a local watchdog organization, which eventually led us to this point. The threats from the Goldwater Institute drove up the price of the bonds the city was going to purchase and saw both sides back off on certain aspects of the deal while they tried to renegotiate.

With Hulsizer out of the picture, the Coyotes are now back to square one after losing an estimated $37-million last season.

Are there any other potential owners out there? Will the NHL now start to consider buyers who might want to move the team out of Glendale? What about Jim Balsillie, wouldn’t that be ironic?

There were rumblings last month that the Research In Motion co-CEO could find himself back in the thick of things, but his company has taken a real turn for the worse in recent weeks. Because of that, his dream of becoming an NHL owner is probably the last thing on his mind at the moment!

What a disaster for the city of Glendale and the NHL – when a league takes over a team, it isn’t supposed to last for two-going-on-three years! It also isn’t supposed to be a situation where three different potential owners all end up pulling out after months of negotiating, and it certainly isn’t supposed to end up costing a municipality big money to keep the team afloat.

If the NHL still owns the Coyotes by this time next year, the city of Glendale will have dished out $50-million (which doesn’t even cover all of the team’s losses) to keep the club in business, and the NHL will have been hit with tens of millions of dollars in losses. That just doesn’t seem right!

What do you think: Is it finally time to admit that hockey isn’t going to work in the current setup they’ve got going over in Arizona?

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