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Ice Edge, Hulsizer ‘exploring options’ to purchase Coyotes

Feb 12, 2013, 11:37 AM EDT

Shane Doan Getty Images

A couple of old characters have returned to the Phoenix Coyotes ownership soap opera.

Per the Arizona Republic, Anthony LeBlanc (Ice Edge Holdings) and Chicago businessman Matthew Hulsizer have teamed up and are “exploring options” with regards to purchasing the team from the NHL.

LeBlanc would serve as the front man for the investment group, which eventually could include five or six investors, he said.

Hulsizer confirmed his involvement in the venture but deferred further comment to LeBlanc.

Their intent would be to keep the team in Glendale, which would be a blow to possible suitors in Seattle, Quebec and elsewhere who hope to lure a National Hockey League team.

You may recall Hulsizer came close to buying the team a couple of years ago, only to have his efforts thwarted by the Goldwater Institute.

LeBlanc has been in touch with the City of Glendale and thinks there’s a new deal to be made that would keep the Coyotes playing at Arena, even if it’s not as sweet as the deal that Greg Jamison recently saw expire.

“We understand that there are some cash constraints, but at the same time, we can’t do a deal that wouldn’t be economically feasible for us,” LeBlanc told the paper. “It’s a verbose way of saying, ‘Look, we understand that it won’t be the same deal, but we’re trying to find a middle ground that would make sense for both sides.’”

  1. davebabychreturns - Feb 12, 2013 at 11:38 AM

    I hate when soap operas recycle old characters; feels lazy to me.

    Could we not get an evil twin, or a dream sequence or something?

    • thecheeman - Feb 12, 2013 at 12:22 PM

      Scene 1

      (Greg Jamison walks into his bedroom, sees Gary Bettman inflagrante with another man)

      Greg: Gary, what are doing????

      Gary: I’ve been having an affair with your twin Mateo Hulsizer, and we’re going to run off to start a hockey team in Puerto Vallarta together! It’s a new growth market! Now get out of my house!

      • steelpenbucs87 - Feb 12, 2013 at 3:32 PM

        I don’t know if NBC is looking at their sports-sites’ comment sections for programming ideas but if they’re not they should be.

  2. tyler4richardson - Feb 12, 2013 at 11:57 AM

    Most teams struggle with attendance because they aren’t winning. Phoenix struggles with attendance because no one cares about hockey there. The Yotes are coming off a Western Conference Finals appearance and are dead last in attendance. Coyotes supporters need to quit talking about growing the game because clearly that city is not helping with the games growth. The location of the arena really does suck, but so does their fan base in general. They don’t show up until the playoffs roll around. Apologies to the true Yotes fans, but it is the truth. No team coming off a Conference Finals appearance should be dead last in attendance and only averaging around 12,000 fans.

    • spydey629 - Feb 12, 2013 at 1:17 PM

      All valid points. But on the other hand, (and correct me if I’m wrong) the Yotes have been in this ownership limbo for almost the entire time they’ve been in Glendale…?

      I have to wonder if people are just more frugal with their investment in the team – both financial and emotional – just because of the soap opera. Why worry about a team that isn’t going to be here next year anyway? — Even if it is four years later.

      I’m just playing devil’s advocate here. I would just like to this be done. One way or the other. It would be horrible for the true fans in the Arizona to lose the team, but I’m sure they’d love to see this finally resolved too.

      • hockeydon10 - Feb 12, 2013 at 1:51 PM

        They were in Phoenix from 1996-2003 (7 years). They opened in Glendale in 2003 (8 years). (Lost season omitted.)

        The first few years in Phoenix saw 15k+, then it started to decline to a low of 13229. It jumped back up while Gretzky was associated with the franchise. As soon as the bankruptcy occurred, and Gretzky was dismissed, attendance took a dive again.

        The attendance has not be particularly strong while in Glendale, even when it wasn’t owned by the league, which is only the last three whole seasons, plus this season so far.

      • tyler4richardson - Feb 12, 2013 at 2:19 PM

        Yeah, no doubt that I want this to end too. This lingering story is beyond annoying and should never happen in a professional league. They certainly have had bad ownership, no fan base deserves the problems Phoenix has had with ownership. I wouldn’t argue against bad ownership impacting attendance. That is probably the #1 reason. But I feel this is a golden opportunity for Coyotes fans to tough through all the BS and show up. Make a potential owner really want to purchase the team. I don’t see how not showing up is helping their chances of breaking away from league ownership and getting the great owner they hope for. They might get an owner, but it won’t be a savior who can magically make them want to attend ice hockey games and bump their attendance up. Like I said, this seems like a great opportunity to show up and support their team despite the BS and help ensure Phoenix’s future in the NHL. Great ownership doesn’t just pop up out of no where either. Any great owner needs great fans who actually care about the product. I just don’t see it in Phoenix. Good luck to them though.

  3. duckmcnuggets - Feb 12, 2013 at 1:17 PM

    Could anyone explain to me how a potential buyer could possibly think that keeping the team in Glendale is a good idea? It’s been over 15 years and all they do is hemorrhage money. There have been good teams in that span, but no fans spend money on the team. They just pulled the plug in Atlanta and have found a much more viable market elsewhere. What possible reason could a buyer have to keep the team in Phoenix besides the league’s bizarre approval? Would a new arena lease reduce costs enough to turn a profit?

  4. kitshky - Feb 12, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    So a new owner finally purchasing the team who’s “intent would be to keep the team in Glendale …would be a blow to possible suitors in Seattle, [and] Quebec …who hope to lure a National Hockey League team.” Hmmm…

    Well that is true, but so would the NHL expanding into Anchorage, Toledo, and Medicine Hat … and that’s not gonna happen either.

    • kitshky - Feb 12, 2013 at 1:41 PM

      Gad, I couldn’t have put that thought together any worse if I actually tried.


  5. kaptaanamerica - Feb 12, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    Gretzky was Such a useless coach and executive that this team and franchise have suffered and it’s not surprising there aren’t more fans. If they’d won in some of those years it’d be a different story.

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Feb 12, 2013 at 4:25 PM

      It’s Gretzky’s fault?…really? I would think its more a fault of it not being a very good location for hockey, especially since they were losing money the second they unloaded the moving trucks in 96 and didn’t just start when Gretzky came on board.

  6. steelers4385 - Feb 12, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    They are a boring team. I go to the games quite a bit just to have some beers and watch live sports. Truth be told tho…they suck at advertsing. And it doesnt help that the radio stations here give awY free tickets to everything but yotes games. Stuff like is why no one goes. Alot of ppl dont like hockey these days either. I mean compared to football and hockey.

  7. georgemuresanwasmygiant - Feb 12, 2013 at 6:51 PM

    Can anyone explain why the NHL is trying to sell the Coyotes for $170+ mil when the NHL bought the Coyotes out of bankruptcy for $130-140 mil?

  8. scionofflame - Feb 12, 2013 at 8:30 PM

    Why? Why purchase a team and keep it in a location where it isn’t and -hasn’t- been flourishing for years and years?

    Why not take the team to a new market where it could sell out night after night and become a fantastic product in a supportive city? Glendale government doesn’t want the Coyotes there. Fan support is there but not in enough numbers. I can imagine the players are concerned day to day about their personal livelihoods and those of their families especially, for guys with kids even more so.

    I’m sorry Coyotes fans, but I think the team really needs a change of scenery. You don’t throw money into a failing product, and I think it would be irresponsible of the NHL to let it happen.

  9. blakkjack21 - Feb 12, 2013 at 9:59 PM

    The team would be doing alright if they had good, stable ownership. They kinda caught lightning in a bottle last yr and got to conf finals, so their success last yr had little to do w/the product on the ice being real good. I want them to stay in the desert, but my biggest problem with this is the NHL did nothing to keep the Thrashers in ATL.

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