We interrupt the second round of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs to bring you an update on another potential buyer for the Phoenix Coyotes.
About an hour before the Coyotes hit the ice at Jobing.com Arena for Game 5 of their series against the Nashville Predators, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman held a press conference to announce that former San Jose Sharks CEO Greg Jamison has an understanding with the league to purchase the Coyotes.
You've heard this song before, and yes it has been known for a while now that Jamison had been working towards putting together the financing to buy the Coyotes as well as a lease agreement for the arena with the city of Glendale. But not many took the Jamison bid seriously.
His endeavour comes on the heels of futile attempts -- for various reasons -- to buy the club from Jim Basillie, the upstart Ice Edge group, Jerry Reinsdorf and Matthew Hulsizer. Why would Jamison's efforts be any different? He and his undisclosed partners probably have enough money to purchase this team, but do they have enough to keep the team afloat down the road?
"You may choose to be cynical on the points," Bettman said. "But you'll just have to wait and see just like everybody else to see how successful we are."
Oh, we're cynical all right. In fact, we're curious about the timing of this announcement. Was this simply an attempt to spread some positive news on a situation that could turn into a runaway train in the West final and if the Coyotes possibly advance further to the Stanley Cup final?
Quebec City has high hopes
The NHL has operated the Coyotes since former owner Jerry Moyes declared bankruptcy in May 2009. If the Coyotes were to push on and win the Stanley Cup with stories about a possible relocation as a backdrop, well, how embarrassing would that be for league?
We know of one city that wouldn't mind. Quebec City has high hopes that this would be the Coyotes' final season in the desert. Now Quebec's capital city, which wants to start building its new rink in September, will have to wait and see if this Jamison group is for real.
"We think things are on track and, as I said before, we see light at the end of the tunnel," Bettman said of the Jamison group. "This is a path, based on everything we know, we're comfortable of pursuing because we think it's the right result for a team that, as Greg said, has a terrific fan base, a good sports market, and [Jobing.com Arena] is a terrific building."
Bettman remarked that he hopes the Jamison deal will be finalized in "weeks, not months."
The prospective owner not only has to finalize the purchase of the NHL club with the league, but agree to a lease agreement with the city of Glendale. Then, there also is the appeasement of the Goldwater Institute, the non-profit taxpayer watchdog organization that helped scuttle the Hulsizer deal, which called for the sale of bonds by the city to pay Hulsizer more than $100 million for future arena parking revenues.
The threat of a lawsuit from Goldwater Institute over this matter destroyed any chance the city had of selling these bonds.
So here we go again. Will Jamison's efforts be any more successful than Balsillie, Reinsdorf, Ice Edge or Hulsizer? As Bettman said, only time will tell. But please, somebody wake us up when it's a done deal.
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