14 Apr 1996:  The Winnipeg Jets celebrate during a game against the Anaheim Mighty Ducks at Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, California.  The Ducks won the game, 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Glenn Cratty  /Allsport

The Canadian media was filled with reports earlier today that the bid by Chicago businessman Jerry Reinsdorf was dead, that the city of Glendale has turned back to Ice Edge Holdings and their proposal to buy the team, and that if this last minute change doesn’t work out the league has a fall-back deal in place: a deal that would see the Coyotes return to Winnipeg under the ownership of Canadian billionaire David Thomson (the 3rd Baron Thomson of Fleet).

 

ESPN’s coverage of the above scenario is perhaps the most complete, and includes a suggestion that the current professional hockey team in Winnipeg, the Manitoba Moose, might move to Thunder Bay, Ontario if the Coyotes were to return to Winnipeg.

 

However, the Arizona Republic newspaper is reporting that reports of the Reinsdorf deal collapsing are not true, but that Glendale will continue to negotiate with Reinsdorf in addition to negotiating with the Ice Edge partnership.  The newspaper did not comment on the possibility of a fall-back deal being in place to move the team to Winnipeg, except to pass on what ESPN had previously reported.

 

In short, things are up in the air right now.  It does seem likely that the possibility of the Coyotes remaining in Phoenix under the ownership of Reinsdorf remains alive, but that other scenarios are also plausible – either a sale to Ice Edge or a sale that would see the team return to Winnipeg.

 

Personally, I don’t have any inside information, but given what a mess the Coyotes’ ownership situation has become, I would be very surprised if reports that the league had negotiated a fall-back deal proved to be untrue.  Gary Bettman has made favourable noises about Winnipeg as a possible destination for an NHL franchise in the recent past (suggesting it as a more sensible location than Hamilton) and the league would be acting in its own interest to explore all the options.

Comments (7)

  1. The real question is, if they do move to Winnipeg, will they keep those sweet uniforms they had when they left? That was just about the only redesign of the 1990s that wasn’t demonstrably inferior to the one that came before.

  2. Glendale’s comments that Reinsdorf is still in the hunt are to be expected. That said, if he really was still in the running, why then did they go back to Ice Edge because the cat is now out of the bag.

    Also wouldn’t surprise me if the NHL is now the ones putting the screws to the city by saying – either you come to agreement with someone or we’ll make the decision for you.

    A very high profile game of chicken and I think Glendale just blinked because the league is finally running out of patience because they’re the ones on the hook.

    Just one more piece of the Bettman legacy.

  3. If something dosent happen soon I think the other owners are going to have Bettmans head on a plaque, I dont ever remember any other sport or company for that matter paying for the competition to stay alive for a whole year, its just crazy. Either somebody signs to keep in Glendale, or they move to the Peg simple as that. And Atlanta has to be looked at soon its not going to make it to much longer in its market place and they would be a smarter fit for Hamilton as they are already in the East. Where as the Coyotes are in the West and Winnipeg is closer to some of the other teams. Just makes sense.

  4. Rsmotors:

    I don’t spend much time following other leagues, but I believe that Major LEague Baseball owned the Montreal Expos for several seasons.

  5. I’ll believe that the NHL intends to permanently put a team back in Winnipeg when I see it.

  6. JW- you are correct about the Expos being owned by MLB for some time. MLB bought the Expos for 120M in 2002 and sold the team, as the Washington Nationals, for 450M in 2006. That’s on top of essentially having D.C. build a new ballpark for them to play in, in essence ensuring their future revenues would be higher than they were in Montreal.
    That’s major profit there that the league could use as a carrot to keep the other owners interested in funding ‘competition’ (though MLB put the screws on so tight for the Expos budget that they were absolutely unable to compete).

    Now for the Coyotes saga, there’s one thing I really don’t understand. Isn’t the team still under lease with the City of Glendale in regards to the arena? Wasn’t the whole point of putting the team through bankruptcy to get it out of the lease (which failed, as far as I understand)?
    I don’t get how the NHL has any leverage with the City – if they move the team, don’t they get slapped with huge financial penalties?

  7. This has been an on going saga for years. And I really hate to see Winnipeg get their hopes up once more only to be denied a franchise again. Ultimately the team will likely remain in Pheonix and the only way Winnipeg gets another hockey franchise is if they get it through expansion. It’s not worth it to the owners right now to move this team unless all other options are exhausted and they simply get fed up and agree to the move. And as for Bettman this guy has survived to work stoppages including the longest one ever. And multiple other failings including Atlanta and of course Phoenix and he’s still around. So I don’t think we’re getting rid of him any time soon. And with the way things are they’d bring in someone else even worse at it then Bettman is/has been.

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