While it can be argued that the uncertainty over the team’s future in the desert has affected attendance, the fans have been provided with an entertaining product. Under the guidance of general manager Dave Maloney and head coach Dave Tippett, the Coyotes have been in the playoffs three seasons in a row.
NHL vice-commissioner Bill Daly, the league’s point man on the Coyotes situation, continues to insist there is no timetable for the sale, but at least one of the partners in this process is showing signs of impatience.
The city of Glendale, which owns Jobing.com Arena, is facing severe financial problems, and the upcoming budget contains unpaid furloughs for city employees, service cuts and a sales-tax hike. Part of those problems stem from the city’s agreement to pay the NHL up to $25 million to cover losses incurred in the Coyotes operation.
Last month, Mayor Elaine Scruggs accused the NHL of holding the city hostage. She said the city was assured last fall that there would be an owner in place this season and that the city would be off the hook for its subsidy. Suitors for the franchise have come and gone, and the last man standing is Greg Jamison, the former president of the San Jose Sharks.
There have been numerous reports over the past six months that Jamison’s group is days away from completing a sale, but the deal remains hung up over two issues. The first is the NHL’s insistence that the franchise is worth $170 million, and the second is a continued guarantee of funds from Glendale to cover losses.
While all this is going on, Quebec City is waiting in the wings. Construction has begun on a new arena and the city is also giving Le Colisee a facelift just in case there’s an NHL team that needs a temporary home.