Winnipeg still has shot at Coyotes

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:25 PM ET

The NHL’s potential return to Winnipeg now has some validity to it.

The Globe and Mail reported over the weekend that the NHL has told the City of Glendale it must find a new owner for the Phoenix Coyotes by Dec. 31 or, the league threatened, it will sell the team to a “viable purchaser” that has given it a “bona-fide offer,” according to documents obtained by the Globe.

That viable purchaser, according to the Globe, is True North Sports and Entertainment, which would move the Coyotes back to Winnipeg if it gains control of the franchise. The Jets left Winnipeg for the desert in 1996, and True North has been in contact with the NHL for years about getting a team back in Manitoba.

The NHL’s latest ultimatum will no doubt speed up the negotiating process if Glendale really wants to keep the team in Arizona. Glendale does not want Jobing.com Arena, the home of the Coyotes, to become a building without a major tenant.

Glendale reached an agreement with the NHL on Friday to cover the team’s losses up to $25 million during the 2010-11 season if someone doesn’t buy the team first. That agreement is the document the Globe obtained and outlines the NHL’s ultimatum to the City of Glendale about the “viable purchaser.”

The document makes it look like True North is the mysterious “third party” that was revealed last week to be interested in purchasing the team, and it also marks the first time the NHL has documented that a new owner for the Coyotes in another location is waiting in the wings.

Two ownership groups are currently in the running to purchase the Coyotes and keep the team in Arizona: Chicago businessman Jerry Reinsdorf and Ice Edge Holdings, which is looking for exclusivity when it comes to negotiations.


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