Ice Edge Holdings is ready to buy the Phoenix Coyotes once the NHL completes its side of the transaction, but everything is on hold until the league finishes sparring in court with Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes.
One interesting addition to the group of businessmen which makes up Ice Edge is John Breslow. He is a minority owner of the Coyotes and once expressed an interest in making his own bid for the team before dropping out.
In the meantime, Ice Edge has managed to reach an agreement in principle on an arena lease with the suburban city of Glendale, where the Coyotes play. Daryl Jones, one of the principals of the Ice Edge group, said yesterday the leased will not include any direct subsidies from the city of 250,000 people, but there will be ways for the team and the city to share revenue.
Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf wanted as much as $23-million (U.S.) a year in subsidies from the city. One proposal was to create a special tax district around the arena and the nearby football stadium for the Arizona Cardinals. A percentage of all retail sales was to go to the Coyotes, but when the idea became public, Glendale officials quickly distanced themselves from it.
"For us, it's more of … working with the city to create revenue opportunities, not a special tax district," Jones said.
He declined to go into detail because the group does not want to make its ideas public yet.
There are rumours Reinsdorf is negotiating again with city officials for an arena lease in order to buy the club, but sources familiar with the city say there is no sign he is back in the running.
Ice Edge still plans to play five regular-season games a year in Saskatoon if it buys the club. Jones said the NHL has not agreed to the plan, but it has not rejected it, either.
"They are intrigued, I think, by the concept of extending NHL hockey to grassroots regions of Canada," Jones said. "That's the basis of our idea. Maybe Saskatoon doesn't have the population to support 41 games a year, but it can do five games and that extends the reach of the NHL brand."
Jones also said Ice Edge is keeping a light in the window for Gretzky.
"We've been in touch with his business manager. What exactly his role might be has to be decided but we certainly would have a place for him."
Jones played down the notion that Toronto Argonauts owners Howard Sokolowski and David Cynamon, who have spoken to Ice Edge and other NHL owners about buying a team, have joined the group of eight businessmen.