Ice Edge negotiating for Coyotes

KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:38 PM ET

The Phoenix Coyotes are one step closer to staying in the desert for the long-term.

The City of Glendale has come to an agreement on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Ice Edge Holdings and city council will vote on terms of a new lease agreement on Tuesday night.

If the MOU passes as expected, Ice Edge will be given a 60-day window of exclusivity to iron out terms of a sale with the NHL.

“Exclusivity was a precondition to get us back to the table. It means the city is only talking to our group at this time,” Ice Edge CEO Daryl Jones told The Sun via e-mail on Sunday. “We understand the MOU will likely pass, but that is really a question for the City of Glendale.

“It’s hard to gauge the probability of this deal closing. One thing that everyone has to be realistic about is there has been a great deal of financial turmoil in the world over the last 45 days, which is going to make it harder for us or any group to close this transaction though we do remain optimistic and feel good about our chances.”

Ice Edge has pledged to keep the Coyotes in Arizona and under the terms of the MOU, they are committed to staying for at least five years.

The Phoenix Business Journal reports that under the new deal, the team would be renamed the Arizona Coyotes, parking and ticket surcharges will be collected and Ice Edge would also be given the right to buy the $180 million jobing.com Arena, should the City of Glendale choose to sell it.

There’s an out clause that would allow Ice Edge to sell the team after five years if the Glendale bonding district is not covering the team’s losses.

Under that agreement, Ice Edge would have to try and find new owners that would keep the Coyotes in Arizona but there is a scenario where the team could be sold to an outside buyer and eventually be moved.

A deal with Ice Edge would certainly eliminate the chance of the Coyotes moving to Winnipeg in the immediate future but there are sure to be other NHL teams under financial duress which could come into play during the coming months or years.

If Ice Edge — or some other potential buyer — can’t complete the purchase to keep the Coyotes in Arizona by Dec. 31, 2010, numerous reports claim the NHL will sell the team to True North Sports & Entertainment, who would move the franchise back to Winnipeg for the 2011-12 season.


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