Bid involves Halifax, Saskatoon

LANCE HORNBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:34 AM ET

Halifax and Saskatoon would be more than happy to be part of the solution to the Phoenix Coyotes' ownership crisis.

Both have been mentioned as the possible site for three-to-five regular-season games should a Canadian-based late arrival to the auction process for the bankrupt NHL team get control of the club.

"I think the chances are good for us," said Scott Ferguson, interim CEO of the 10,500-seat Halifax Metro Centre. "This would be an innovative way to keep their American home and incorporate Canada, too."

Ferguson said he has been in talks with Ice Edge Holdings for two weeks. A published report yesterday said Ice Edge, which has financial partners in Canada and the U.S., will present a letter of intent to the NHL tomorrow, and next month officially bid $150 million US to keep the team in Glendale, Ariz., while parcelling up to five games in Canada and possible playoff dates.

Both cities have junior teams in their principal rinks. Games in Saskatoon would be at the 11,300-seat Credit Union Centre. If the plan is executed properly, the revenue from anticipated Canadian sellouts, and possibly a new Coyotes farm team in Thunder Bay, would go toward keeping the club in Arizona.

But the NHL is taking a wait-and-see approach.

"We haven't looked at it to this point in any great detail," Bill Daly, the league's deputy commissioner, said in an e-mail to Sun Media. "It would have to be thoroughly vetted with and approved by the board of governors."

An auction will be held Aug. 5 in an Arizona court exclusively for bidders wanting to keep the Coyotes based there. The only solid bid at present is that of sports magnate Jerry Reinsdorf, who is offering $148 million, while seeking a new lease deal and other concessions. Should the court decide the bids are too low, a wide-open auction will follow in September. Canadian businessman Jim Balsillie has put up $212.5 million -- if he can take the team to Hamilton next season.

According to yesterday's report, Ice Edge has been in contact with Jobing.com arena in Glendale and city officials to review the creditors situation and talk to coach and minority owner Wayne Gretzky about his future role.


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