Here we go again

PAUL FRIESEN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:04 PM ET

Oh, no — there’s been another twist in the Phoenix Coyotes saga down in Glendale, Ariz.

Don’t ask me if it’s worth more than a passing mention up here in the great frozen north. It might not even be worth that.

But here goes.

(WARNING: the following may be hazardous to a still-hopeful hockey fan’s health.)

An editorial appearing in Thursday’s Arizona Republic basically begs the taxpayer watchdog group, the Goldwater Institute, not to pursue a lawsuit against the deal to save the Coyotes.

It’s expected Goldwater will decide within the next couple of days whether or not to file suit against the lease agreement that would see the City of Glendale subsidize new owner Matthew Hulsizer to the tune of $197 million.

The editorial says the uncertainty caused by a lengthy legal battle “could sink any chance of keeping the team in Glendale.”

Cue the perking up of ears here in River City. After all, we were the NHL’s fallback plan if Glendale and the league couldn’t find a suitable owner down there.

The article also says the city has restructured its lease agreement with Hulsizer in an attempt to appease Goldwater’s concerns about taxpayer money being handed to a private enterprise.

“The decision about where the Coyotes play next season has to be made soon,” the editorial continues. “And nothing would harm the taxpayers of Glendale more than the team’s departure to Canada.”

Wait a minute — I thought that Jet missed the runway and broke its landing gear long ago.

After Glendale’s city council approved a lease with Hulsizer in December, the Coyotes were destined to continue hemorrhaging money in the desert for another 30 years. We’d just sit back and laugh at the absurdity of it all.

They’d just dot a few I’s, cross a couple of T’s and Hulsizer would write a cheque for $170 million to the NHL, giving him official possession of the league’s worst-drawing franchise.

Maybe they wouldn’t meet that soft New Year’s Eve deadline, but surely the nuts and bolts of a deal were in place. This thing couldn’t fall apart at this stage, could it?

Because I’m not sure I can take another round of, “The Jets are coming! The Jets are coming!” and everything that goes with it, not the least of which is watching Glendale city council meetings on the web.

I’d rather climb the Legislature and stick my tongue on the rear end of the Golden Boy. And I’m scared of heights.

As tantalizing as the prospect of bringing the Coyotes back “home” once was, we’ve moved on. Well, haven’t we?

The last we knew, the deal calls for Glendale to pay Hulsizer $100 million immediately for parking rights.

Glendale was also supposed to pay $97 million over the next 5 1/2 years for Hulsizer to operate the Jobing.com arena. Previously, the team bore that expense.

Yes, the whole thing sounds like a thinly veiled handout, which is why Goldwater smells a violation of Arizona law’s “gift” clause, and is threatening to go to court to block the deal.

I have no idea how significant that would be.

I’m not sure I’ll really care, until I see NHL commissioner Gary Bettman step up to a microphone and say, “We’re goin’ to Winnipeg.”

As it is, I already know far too much about the Goldwater Institute, about Glendale city council and about the Arizona constitution.

Enough, already.


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