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Report: New Coyotes ownership candidate could want an 'out clause'

Shane Doan of the Phoenix Coyotes walks off the ice after being defeated by the Detroit Red Wings.

Christian Petersen/2011 Getty Images

There's a sliver of news out there on the Phoenix Coyotes' ownership front, and in mid-August, that's enough to cause a little bit of interest in NHL circles.

The Phoenix Business Journal reported yesterday afternoon that "there is a serious bid by a new Canadian-led ownership group to buy the hockey franchise."

Few details are available, other than the fact there is again talk that there "could be a seven-year out clause that would allow the new owners to sell and/or move the team out of Arizona if market conditions do not improve."

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Given all that's gone on in Glendale the past two-plus years since the team went into bankruptcy in May, 2009, one would think some sort of "out" is a given.

The other tidbit of info in the report is that the new group would be willing to put up $100-million of the purchase price, which would seem to be a much better deal for the city than what Matthew Hulsizer had been offering before backing out to pursue the St. Louis Blues.

Optimism is in short supply when it comes to the Coyotes these days, as after losing $37-million last season and having Glendale put up another $25-million to keep the team there another year, mayor Elaine Scruggs has said publicly she doesn't "have a lot of confidence" the team will be staying beyond 2011-12.

"I have never supported having the team leave," Scruggs told NBC 12 News in July. "However now I believe that the only realistic thing to do, for all of us, is to take a look at what would like be like with no team in the arena.

"In many ways the city of Glendale has no control over our future. We have some but we don't have final control. The decision is with the NHL, the other, I think it is 29 other owners, who they want to be an owner of the team."

What's going to be interesting here over the coming weeks is if the identity of that Canadian bidder comes out, as if they want an out clause, presumably they have an idea of where they'd like to go. With Winnipeg getting its team back already, there are only two realistic options on that front, with Quebec City and Southern Ontario potential destinations in this country.

In the U.S.? Your guess is as good as mine, as there really don't seem to be any untapped markets that would guarantee success or where there are owners lining up to get a team.

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Greg Wyshynski has a few more thoughts on the situation today.

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About the Author
Hockey Reporter

James joined The Globe as an editor and reporter in the sports department in 2005 and now covers the NHL and the Toronto Maple Leafs. More

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