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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.

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  • Published On Jun 21, 2013
  • New Quebec arena heats relocation talk

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    Habs fans want Patrick Roy to be Montreal’s next coach or GM, but his connection to Quebec City, where he’s the owner/bench boss of the junior Remparts, makes his return unlikely. (Leon T. Switzer/ Icon SMI)

    By Stu Hackel

    For a few years now, every time NHL executives have been questioned about the possibility of the league returning a team to Quebec City, they’ve responded the same way: There are no teams available right now, and even if there were, the absence of a suitable arena makes it unlikely. But all that changed on Sunday when the city’s mayor and a corporate executive signed a long-anticipated deal on a new building. Ground is scheduled to be broken this fall and the arena will be ready in the fall of 2015.

    That’s not an insignificant date. It coincides with the expiration of the lease that keeps the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum. Of course, it’s also possible that the team now known as the Phoenix Coyotes will be ready at that time to move into the new Quebecor Colisee. The new Nordiques (or whatever they will be called) will have played the intervening three years in the old Pepsi Colisee, which is scheduled to get $7 million in emergency improvements starting this spring.

    Of course,  the Coyotes could move elsewhere, or maybe not move at all. And it’s possible that Quebec City’s new arena will not have an NHL tenant when it opens. But considering the delirious return of the NHL to Winnipeg last year, not too many people believe the league will forego a chance to create more delirium as soon as it can.

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  • Published On Mar 26, 2012
  • Coyotes to Seattle…or Quebec?

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    The Coyotes likely will go, but where is the question, as the most frequently-cited cites have drawbacks, such as a noticeable lack of fan interest, an arena that isn’t big enough, and even a toxic waste problem. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

    By Stu Hackel

    The first U.S.-based hockey team to win the Stanley Cup was the Seattle Metropolitans in 1917, but there has been no big league hockey in that town since 1924. Lately, there’s been some real buzz that the NHL could be headed back there.

    Sunday’s story in The Seattle Times, that a 44-year-old San Francisco hedge fund manager with roots in Seattle wants to build a new arena in his old hometown, has helped put that city front and center in the discussion — especially after NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman mentioned Seattle earlier this month at the All-Star Game. Based on that story, and the attention it received in the hockey blogosphere  (here , for example), the possibility of Seattle becoming an NHL city turned into a Monday wire service story, which in turn morphed into stories and radio programs about how the Coyotes could be destined to move there along with the NBA’s original gypsy franchise, the Sacramento Kings (née, the Kansas City Kings, Cincinnati Royals and Rochester Royals).

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  • Published On Feb 06, 2012
  • Bettman sees Isles staying in New York

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    Some day, some way, the Islanders will get a new arena near the crumbling building they play in now. (Anthony Gruppuso/US PRESSWIRE)

    By Stu Hackel

    On Monday night, I just caught the tail end of the Winnipeg Jets’ game against the visiting Rangers, which, by all accounts, New York was lucky to win, 2-1. In many NHL arenas, frustrated fans would have booed the home team, but in what will almost certainly be a year-long love-in at the little arena on the prairie, Winnipeggers applauded their club for its effort.

    Everyone, it seems, loves the Jets. I’ve been giving my Minnesota North Stars hat a rest and wearing my Jets chapeau lately (the old logo, thank you) and getting compliments from hockey friends about my good taste. I can’t recall where I heard this, perhaps it was the CBC’s Elliotte Friedman on a radio interview, but it seems that our neighbors up north, apart from those in Winnipeg, have made the Jets Canada’s second favorite team. Fans in the rest of the country cheer for their team and then for the Jets, the refugee franchise whose transfer north is celebrated as a symbolic “Screw you!” to the NHL’s Sunbelt strategy.

    The embrace of the Jets, not just on the ice but also at the cash register, has some people wondering: Can the nouvelle Nordiques be far behind?

    Well, no one is reserving moving vans so quickly. We know that won’t happen until Quebec City gets an arena, which is not looming. It has just formed an engineering/architecture group for the $400 million proposed project that was first announced two years ago. No rush, especially because any new building with that price tag is going to draw some fire for being one of the league’s most expensive arenas in what would be the NHL’s second smallest market after Winnipeg and, inevitably, a drain on taxpayers. In fact, the legal wrangling on the new building is just beginning.

    And we know that new arena won’t happen until — and unless — there’s a team that is out of options and has no choice but to relocate to Quebec. There are no expansion plans, at least none that are publicly known. Is an NHL team destined abandon its current market and wear a redesigned Nordiques sweater?

    Gary Bettman apparently doesn’t see the Islanders as being the team to wear that uniform.
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  • Published On Oct 26, 2011
  • Quebec plans to build ‘Arena of Dreams’

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    Quebec never forgot the Nordiques’ glory days of Michel Goulet and the Stastny brothers, or how the city lost the team when it couldn’t fund or build a new arena. (George Tiedemann/Sports Illustrated)

    By Stu Hackel

    “We love hockey in this country — unreasonably, unseasonably, unendingly,” writes Bruce Arthur today in Canada’s National Post. And it must be so, because the city and provincial governments of Quebec have decided to commit $400 million of public money to build a new arena in Quebec City by 2015, with groundbreaking scheduled for early 2013. Their expressed purpose is luring an NHL team back to the Plains of Abraham where the Nordiques once roamed. But, they have no commitment that the league will give them one.
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  • Published On Feb 11, 2011


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