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Is this the end for the Phoenix Coyotes?

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Coyotes fans may have seen the last of their NHL team.

With an NHL deadline fast approaching, fans in Phoenix may finally wave goodbye to their team. (Getty Images)

By Allan Muir

Yeah, we’ve heard it all before, so no one’s blaming you for rolling your eyes and refusing to glance up from your cereal until you can feel the rumble of the moving trucks pulling up in front of Jobing.com Arena.

That hasn’t happened. Not yet. But those trucks might be gassing up right about now.

Some early morning tweets from Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos, combined with word out of Phoenix, paint a picture of the NHL’s last-gasp ownership option running up against an insurmountable financial roadblock set up by local government.

This story from the Arizona Republic suggests that while there has been some ground covered in negotiations between the Glendale City Council and prospective buyers Renaissance Sports and Entertainment, there are still serious differences. And given the NHL’s absolute deadline of July 2 (a date set to ensure that the league schedule can be released by July 17), “the nuts-and-bolts negotiating must be done by the end of an electronic session scheduled for Friday.”

There are still so many balls in the air that it’s impossible to say where they’ll land. Kypreos suggests that the lack of a proper facility rules out Seattle as an immediate relocation option. I’d tend to agree. I also think Quebec City is out because the market is too valuable as an expansion option (possibly $350 million) to let a team — even one owned by the league — slide in there for less than half that.

The signs are pointing to one final lame duck season in Phoenix, where there’s at least some quantifiable level of fan engagement, but they still could pull up stakes and find another home. We could know which way the wind is blowing today.

Or not. We’ve all been through this so many times that it’s easy to be cynical of deadlines. But this one feels…different. We’ll let you know when we know more.

  • Published On Jun 21, 2013
  • 21 comments
    DavidRichter
    DavidRichter

    The people of Seattle are just aching for a tenant, any tenant, for Chris Hansen's new proposed arena. Bringing the NHL to Seattle will open the door to negotiations about building that arena sooner and bringing an NBA franchise which is what they really want.

    Swampdragon
    Swampdragon

    Hey Nick do you store your ego in the overhead compartment when flying or is it considered over-sized and has to go in bulk cargo just asking

    Swampdragon
    Swampdragon

    The only franchises going into Quebec City and Southern Ontario will be the 2 expansion teams they will bring in in a couple years

    Thrasher561
    Thrasher561

    ATLANTA has a rink ready for a team to move into!

    Swampdragon
    Swampdragon

    The Canucks were told by the NHL they couldn't move their AHL franchise there (Seattle) hence the speculation

    BeastQuake
    BeastQuake

    For what it's worth, the mayor of Seattle just tweeted Nick disputing the Key Arena wouldn't be ready claim

    SchiffleyPhillip
    SchiffleyPhillip

    East Coast Liars spreading mis-information They don't want Seattle to have a team, & also calling Bettman a liar. It was already publicly stated that "stuff was gonna happen" at the Board of Governors meeting. There is a 220 million dollar offer to move the team to a combination of one or more of the following facilities, Key Arena, Tacoma Dome, Rose Garden in Portland, and there are a few modern 8,500 seat facilities in Kent and Everett. The team can travel around the area playing games and building their fan base! If Seattle had a modern 18,000 seat arena they would sell-out every night and be within the Top 10 in NHL attendance every single year. Everyone knows that, what other state in the USA has five CHL Junior teams ??? Only one state does, that's Washington State!

    FredPoulin98
    FredPoulin98

    The #NHL would lose around $50M with a lame-duck season in #Phoenix only to sell an expansion team to Quebec City in a few years... Makes total sense Allan... No it doesn't! 

    flfantasymaker
    flfantasymaker

    This has been a TOTAL boondoggle for the taxpayers of Glendale. If you are wealthy enough to own the team then you can own/operate the venue. Enough public money has been flushed down the drain to support PRIVATE business. 

    If it cannot drawn enough fans or be profitable on it's own then it should relocate- case closed!

    DavidWattebled
    DavidWattebled

    @DavidRichter The problem is the NHL has relocated for the last 15 years in places (Raleigh, Atlanta, Columbus, St Paul, Nashville and more recently Winnipeg) where there were new arenas or arenas being built. Seattle hasn't started to break ground for an arena, Markham hasn't neither, and Quebec City broke ground 9 months ago. Among those three only Quebec City (Old Colisée) and Markham (by putting their team in Hamilton) would have an NHL-ready arena by the start of next season.

    DavidWattebled
    DavidWattebled

    @Swampdragon Be logical, NHL is about hockey and in Seattle and Markham don't have an arena that is fit for hockey. Seattle and Markham haven't broken ground for a new arena or even signed an agreement about the financing of this arena. All we heard about that is plans. And the mayor of Seattle speaks too much, which NHL executives absolutely hate.

    Quebec City has updated its 15,000 Old Colisée to new NHL standards, and they have been building a new 18,000 seat arena since last September. It will be ready for the beginning of the season 2015-2016.

    NHL has set standards for expansion or relocation. QC can welcome an NHL team right now, Seattle can't. 

    Swampdragon
    Swampdragon

    This is all about money they can ask for a whole lot more for Canadian franchises than American ones and the owners aren't going to accept teams moving to Canada and their value more than double without getting  a piece of the pie

    DavidWattebled
    DavidWattebled

    @SchiffleyPhillipDo you know why Winnipeg was better than Quebec City and got the Thrashers? Because they had a 15,000 seat, NHL-ready arena and prospective owners who were in talks with the league for YEARS before getting the opportunity to have a franchise. Now, if the league wants to relocate, they have two solutions: Quebec City and Seattle. QC has the NHL-ready arena, the owners, they are in talks for years, they are building a 18,000 arena right now. On the other hand, Seattle has had prospective owners for two weeks, and an arena that is not ready for NHL, and needs to build a new one according to Bill Daly himself (watch at 1:40 of this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_uJ4B8NFtEY).  Be realistic, the NHL won't move a team to an arena of 9,000 non obstructed seats for 3 seasons.

    Then, you talk about attendance. Which team outside NHL has the best attendance in North America? Quebec Remparts, a minor league hockey team, with an average attendance of 11,000. On the other hand, in Seattle, all teams (apart from the Sounders) have had ups and downs in attendance. What is the percentage of attendance of Mariners games? Not even 45%!!! 

    If the NHL needs to move the Coyotes to a profitable, hockey-loving market, QC is the obvious choice.


    Hoppers
    Hoppers

    except that the league knows it can get more money from QC for an expansion team rather than relocating.  There goes your theory in one sentence.

    Swampdragon
    Swampdragon

    @DavidWattebled @SchiffleyPhillip  

    The Seattle Sounder would be top 5 in attendance in MLB the English Premier league and very high up in the Bundeglisa(sp) Italian and Spanish they also are one of the highest millionaire per 1000 in North Ameriv=ca . I totally expect and think that QC deserves a team but as I pointed out in another post it will be an expansion franchise

    DavidWattebled
    DavidWattebled

    @Hoppers Oh yeah, Seattle can't afford relocation fees, but Quebec City can. WTF? @Swampdragon  Yeah but still in the bottom 3 of the MLB. The number of millionaires doesn't have any influence on attendance and revenue for a sports team. 

    The thing is Quebec City is ready immediately in case of relocation and Seattle isn't.