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'Potential buyer' bails City of Glendale out of paying $25M to NHL

Sep 17, 2010, 7:50 PM EDT

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The City of Glendale had its first “opportunity” to pay part of the $25 million it owes the NHL this week, but the Arizona Republic reports that someone else is footing the bill. While it hasn’t been confirmed that potential buyer Matt Hulsizer paid the money into escrow, chances seem pretty good that his group did indeed put up the money for the city.

Rebekah Sanders and Cecilia Chan broke the news.

The city announced Friday that a potential buyer has agreed to fund the $25 million that the National Hockey League demanded from Glendale in order to cover the team’s operating losses this season.

“As the city and the prospective buyer work toward finalizing documents, in a show of good faith, the prospective buyer has deposited $25 million dollars into escrow,” Glendale’s statement read.

Glendale officials would not name the potential buyer, but the city has been negotiating for weeks with Matthew Hulsizer, a Chicago investor.

“This shows the city has met the NHL deadline for finding a qualified buyer, who will keep the team here, a requirement to release the City’s $25 million currently in escrow,” the statement said. “Glendale and the NHL will continue to move forward to work with the prospective buyer to facilitate a purchase of the team that will keep the Coyotes in Glendale for the long term.”

If the deal isn’t completed, Glendale would have to resort to its own $25 million again.

Sometimes it seems like the Phoenix Coyotes are a death row inmate who keeps cheating death thanks to endless appeals, but you wonder when the inevitable will happen. Hopefully this gesture indicates that Hulsizer (if his potential ownership group are the ones who put up the money, that is) is making genuine progress toward becoming the new owner.

We’ll keep you posted on this story as it develops. Sounds like it won’t end any time soon.

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