Source: Third group interested in 'Yotes

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:43 PM ET

There could be a third party interested in buying the Phoenix Coyotes and keeping them in Arizona.

The Phoenix Business Journal, citing “sources familiar with the Coyotes situation,” reports a third group has been talking to the NHL and the city of Glendale about a purchase.

Previously, a group led by Chicago sports mogul Jerry Reinsdorf and another calling itself Ice Edge Holdings, consisting of Canadian and American investors, were thought to be the only interested parties.

The report says the NHL could work past a June 30 deadline, perhaps to September, in order to give the new group a chance to put together a bid.

Glendale city council recently approved a plan that could see the city cover the team’s losses, up to $25 million, if the league doesn’t find a buyer and is forced to own the franchise for a second season.

That plan, which still faces some legal and political hurdles and has not been finalized, would buy the NHL some time. The league reportedly lost $20-30 million operating the Coyotes this season.

The NHL’s contingency plan, should it not be able to keep the team in Phoenix, is relocation, with Winnipeg at the top of the list.

As recently as a week ago, on a Hockey Night in Canada broadcast on CBC-TV, commissioner Gary Bettman reiterated the league’s position that returning the franchise to Winnipeg, where it was based from 1979-96, would make some sense.

It’s believed Bettman and Mark Chipman of True North Sports and Entertainment have talked about Winnipeg as a fallback plan for the Coyotes.

The chances of that happening in time for next season, though, are slim, with True North making plans to operate the AHL’s Manitoba Moose in the MTS Centre.


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