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More trouble for Coyotes sale, as interest rates and legal issues might force a move to Winnipeg

Mar 2, 2011, 2:47 PM EDT

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It’s unclear if the NHL’s patience for the Phoenix Coyotes will remain as constant – and stubborn – as it has been so far, but potential owner Matt Hulsizer might just need to look elsewhere soon.

In fact, one report by Mike Sunnucks of the Phoenix Business Journal indicates that it could be a matter of days before the clock strikes midnight on the deal Hulsizer agreed upon (in principle) with the City of Glendale. If you haven’t been keeping up with the news much lately, the biggest issue (lately at least) has been the possibility that the Goldwater Institute might sue the city as it tries to sell millions worth of bonds to help make the deal go through.

Keep in mind that this is speculation rather than facts – and it’s coming from a biased party in Hulsizer – but the deal would be even bigger trouble if interest rates on the bonds drive the price higher. Here’s the lowdown from Sunnucks.

Now, the bond sale faces questions about higher interest rates that could cost Glendale as much as $100 million in extra interest over 30 years, according to Hulsizer in an interview with Fox Sports Arizona this weekend.

That’s because the Goldwater Institute’s threat of a lawsuit challenging the legality of the $197 million proposal is driving up the risk and interest rates on the bonds.

That leaves Hulsizer, the NHL, Glendale and bond investors having to decide whether they will bite the bullet and take out or buy bonds with higher interest rates. There’s also the question of whether investors will purchase the bonds with the Goldwater suit lingering over hockey in the desert.

Hulsizer said Monday he just wants Goldwater to decide on whether to sue, and not leave the deal hanging in the balance.

Sunnucks writes that if the deal falls through, the league is likely to go to Plan B: selling the team to a Winnipeg ownership group. On the flip side, Hulsizer might also look into buying a different fledgling NHL franchise, such as the Dallas Stars or Atlanta Thrashers.

Obviously, this situation is far from settled, but you have to wonder how the Coyotes are going to stay in Phoenix after this season. We’ll keep you updated as details emerge.

  1. horndoggey - Mar 2, 2011 at 4:50 PM

    No one gives a rat’s behind about hockey in Phoenix. Let the team go back to their home in Winnipeg where they will be loved and cherished. The Jets shall rise again!!!

    • johnhisc3 - Mar 2, 2011 at 5:12 PM

      There are ALOT of people who care about Hockey in Phoenix……This team would not have succeeded anywhere. It already Failed in the PEG once. What you have to realize is this team has never won ANYTHING. There is not 1 Banner hanging from our rafters…. Phoenix has a Huge Population in the millions..That has lost half their net worth with the houseing bubble.. We Average about 8000 Fans in Fall to Selling out in Spring…. Last 2 Games over 15K each, Next Game Standing Room Only, and the Following Game almost Sold out. Given the RIGHT ownership…. Some banners to be proud of…. This team can work in the Desert…I hope they can get this deal done so we can prove all you fellow canucks wrong….Those that dont think its a good deal for Glendale look at it like this… I Live 45 Minutes across the Valley from the Arena… I Spend On Average $20 – $40 PER game on food/Concessions/dinner/Movies. Example Yesterday Hit up AMC, then Dinner at Saddle Ranch, Followed by some beers at the game. Thats alot of money when you factor in 500,000+ People a year who would not be there…. Hockey is NOT Dead here…. ITs never been given the chance to be alive….. They have begun signing up for 2011 – 2012 Season Tickets this week…. Thats a DAMN Good Sign….. I’ve Commited to a 2 year Renewel….. Fingers Crossed and God Speed to the City of Glendale and Matty Hulsizer!

      • chobes68 - Mar 2, 2011 at 11:48 PM

        You’re delusional. The only time they sell out is when they play teams from cities such as Detroit and Chicago.

        The NHL needs to start contraction with Phoenix and Atlanta, however the union would never allow it.

        Here’s your attendance numbers for you. Rather pathetic considering how competitive their team is:

        http://espn.go.com/nhl/attendance

  2. buckcharmer - Mar 2, 2011 at 7:50 PM

    How can hockey be dead in AZ. All the snowbirds spend most of their time down there. And where to snowbirds come from, the northern states where hockey is more popular.

  3. jcawesome23 - Mar 2, 2011 at 8:41 PM

    As a stars fan I think hockey is the best down south. They should not be moved

    • jpelle82 - Mar 4, 2011 at 2:47 PM

      yeah like in miami, atlanta, and nashville? you were kidding right? i’m glad you are from the south and like hockey but its not the best down there. tampa is the exception.

  4. whatagreatfootballmind - Mar 2, 2011 at 9:30 PM

    @johnhisc3, Sure, the Jets/Coyotes may have failed in Winnipeg before, however, look no further than Minnesota losing the North Stars at the end of the 1992-93 season and finally getting the Wild in 2000-01 season. This year is the first year ANY hockey game at Xcel Energy Center wasn’t sold out, including pre-season and high school hockey. The Wild still average over 17,000 a night. No reason why Winnpeg can’t do the same with the Coyotes. It takes a few seasons to realize what you had after it was gone.

    • chobes68 - Mar 2, 2011 at 11:51 PM

      The Stars weren’t moved due to lack of attendance, it was mostly a greed decision by ownership. Damn shame the North Stars were moved, as the rivalry with Chicago and Detroit just isn’t the same.

      • whatagreatfootballmind - Mar 3, 2011 at 9:20 PM

        Attendance numbers were down prior to the 1991 Cup Finals appareance. But yes, the greedy jackass Norm Green moved the team because he was facing a sexual harassment law suit from an employee.

  5. johnhisc3 - Mar 3, 2011 at 12:01 AM

    @ Chobes….. I haven’t missed a game in 3 years. I can look at the arena and guess pretty damn close as to how many fans we have at each game. Last year before playoffs we sold out our last 5 games. Including Edmonton, Nashville, Colorado and of Course Chicago. I look at the ESPN numbers once a week to see where we rank. Alot of those numbers are false though. Phoenix Played Dallas a few weeks back during an Ice Storm and the announced attendance was 15000. However there could not have been more then 3000 people in the building. Its all here say though. It all comes down to Television. If the Yotes Can Catch on and become the team to Watch in Phoenix there is 2 million TV’s. NO matter what happens the 750K people in Winnipeg will be watching. Theres not much else to do when its – 45C outside. Keeping this team here seems unrealistic to someone whos not at the games. But for someone who is on the front lines and sees the possibilities here. The NHL, City of Glendale and, Matt Hullsizer if they can make it work within the next 15 years will have a great investment on their hands. (It all comes down to product). Last night we had close to 16,000 Fans at the game albeit not a sell out…. But I would say 98% of them were 100% Yotes fans!

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