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Here we go again: Matthew Hulsizer drops bid to buy the Phoenix Coyotes

Jun 27, 2011, 6:35 PM EDT

Matthew Hulsizer AP

Winnipeg might have a new team, but the ongoing saga in Arizona with the Phoenix Coyotes continues on into an embarrassing situation.

Phoenix Business Journal reports today that prospective buyer, Chicago businessman Matthew Hulsizer, is dropping his bid to buy the team from the NHL.

Mike Sunnucks has the report from the desert where the circus side show in how not to sell a team rolls onward.

The official, who asked not to be identified, said the Hulsizer ownership group did not want to go through another several-month process of Glendale trying to sell the Coyotes to their group or other potential owners.

Sources familiar with the deal said late last week that Glendale was talking to Hulsizer and two other potential owners: Chicago Bulls and White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf and another unnamed group.

Rewind back to two summers ago and you’ll remember when Jerry Reinsdorf was initially brought in to be the savior of hockey in the desert. Reinsdorf seemingly feigned interest in doing so just to help move the calendar along and open the door for Ice Edge Holdings to step in and try to do their part and buy the team. Of course, Ice Edge Holdings couldn’t come to a deal and while they spun their tires in the sand, that bought time for Matthew Hulsizer to move in.

Hulsizer’s actions made fans and members of the City of Glendale city council feel overjoyed and excited to have a guy that cared about the team and wanted to see them stay in Arizona… At a price. Hulsizer was willing to put up close to $100 million of his own money to buy the team, but with the cost of debt rising for the team being owned by the NHL, so did the price to purchase the foundering organization.

With the price of the team jumping up to more than $190 million Hulsizer sought help from the City of Glendale to buy the team in the form of $100 million in a parking plan for the Westgate City Center that would see that cost slowly paid out over the years. That plan, however, has been challenged endlessly by the Goldwater Institute as they viewed it a violation of the state’s gift clause. With that plan tabled and more hoops to jump through for Hulsizer, he’s on the way out and potentially looking at other buying opportunities. With the St. Louis Blues in need of new money and New Jersey Devils looking for a new minority investor in the team, Hulsizer will have better chances there.

With the Coyotes back at square one once again and their future in doubt, there’s one bit of solace Coyotes fans can take out of this: There isn’t an immediate outside buyer for the team that’s looking to grab the team and move them out of Arizona. With True North now owning the Winnipeg Jets, formerly the Atlanta Thrashers, there’s no immediate pressure to get something done. If there are no buyers, the pressure is on the NHL to find them be they interested in staying in Arizona or not. Right now, Glendale will go back to Reinsdorf to see if he can save them. The amount of stock you can put into believing the part about a “mystery buyer” with interest is about as believable as a fairy tale.

This situation in Phoenix is a disaster and the fact that Hulsizer is out after the City of Glendale opted to pony up $25 million for the second year in a row based upon their faith that Hulsizer would get a deal done is embarrassing all around. The Glendale City Council comes off looking like a band of fools, Hulsizer looks bad even though it’s more on the City of Glendale for running him around with nonsense, and once again Coyotes fans are left holding the bag and having to continue worrying about what’s going on with their team. While there’s no reason to fret about the team leaving this time, being in complete limbo about the future isn’t any fun either.

Things need to change here and unfortunately for Coyotes fans, the one way this madness ends could be if an outside buyer comes in and whisks the team away somewhere else. That’s a miserable end game for everyone involved.

  1. kenchambers - Jun 27, 2011 at 6:51 PM

    Maybe Jim Ballsille’s offer to buy the team is looking better now! Time for Bettman to swallow his pride and look to a deal with him.

  2. thegonz13 - Jun 27, 2011 at 7:17 PM

    What cracks me up was this stubborn attempt to keep a franchise in Phoenix in spite of the fact no less than four hockey teams folded in that city over decades past.

    Bettman will NEVER admit putting a team in Arizona was a mistake, much like he did when the Thrashers moved out of Georgia!

  3. donttouchthedirtypenny - Jun 27, 2011 at 7:47 PM

    Now the Coyotes can go back to Winnipeg and revive the Jets name! Oh, wait…

  4. Robert - Jun 27, 2011 at 9:15 PM

    The return of the Quebec Nordies………..

  5. thegonz13 - Jun 27, 2011 at 10:04 PM

    Dude, it’s NORDIQUES… and it’s starting to look that way!

  6. obsolete777 - Jun 28, 2011 at 5:04 AM

    What a mess-
    With the Thrashers now in Winnipeg, and the Canucks moving to Quebec City starting 2012-13 almost a done deal, the options to move the Coyotes is limited.
    Kansas City has a great arena. A second team in the Toronto area would be viable in the Maple Leafs would allow it.

    • donttouchthedirtypenny - Jun 28, 2011 at 5:57 AM

      Canucks to Quebec City?

  7. thegonz13 - Jun 28, 2011 at 8:51 AM

    @obsolete777… Dude, the Canucks aren’t going anywhere! The Coyotes will be next in line to move, not the Canucks!

  8. obsolete777 - Jun 29, 2011 at 7:52 PM

    Canucks are moving- you’ll see.

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