Skip to main content

A group which includes Calgary financier George Gosbee are in negotiations to take over the Phoenix Coyotes. (file photo)

Chris Bolin/The Globe and Mail

There is yet another conditional agreement in place for the NHL to sell the Phoenix Coyotes.

A group led by Calgary financier George Gosbee and Thunder Bay, Ont., native Anthony LeBlanc has been negotiating for months with the NHL for the financially moribund franchise. Indications are the conditional deal will be presented to city council of suburban Glendale on Tuesday. Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers told reporters he expects NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to explain the deal to council.

However, the principals are keeping quiet. Neither NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, Gosbee nor LeBlanc responded for requests for comment Saturday morning. TSN's Darren Dreger posted on Twitter the league confirmed a conditional deal is in place but a number of issues remain to be settled before it is "a done deal."

Story continues below advertisement

One sign the NHL may be optimistic to have finally settled its longest-running embarrassment is that the league signed Coyotes general manager Don Maloney to a new, long-term contract on Friday.

The biggest issue is the lease for Jobing.com Arena, which has scuttled a number of bids since the NHL was forced to buy the franchise out of bankruptcy in 2009. Would-be owners, the latest of whom was former San Jose Sharks president Greg Jamison, who pulled out in January, all say the purchase cannot work unless the team receives at least $15-million (all currency U.S.) per year over at least 20 years as a fee for managing the arena.

The fee is to help offset the Coyotes' chronic losses because of poor attendance, which have been as much as $40-million per year.

However, Glendale council now has four new members among its seven councillors and the group is no longer willing to pay that much money to manage the arena. Recently, several city officials and councillors have said they are looking at a fee of $6-million per year.

LeBlanc has said several times the only way a sale, which is expected to be for $170-million, can work is if the Coyotes can get a substantial amount of money in some fashion for running the arena.

Gosbee and the NHL are also working against the clock, as Glendale hired a consulting firm to solicit bids from any interested parties to manage the arena. The deadline for those bids is next Friday. A deal would also need to be in place by June, as Glendale council has to finalize its annual budget because its new fiscal year begins July 1.

Without a management deal for the arena, it is unlikely anyone would be willing to own the NHL team, which has been on the verge of moving to another city several times over the years.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies