Cyber stare-down over Coyotes

PAUL FRIESEN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:09 PM ET

That sound you hear is the two sides in the Phoenix Coyotes dispute grinding their heels into the Arizona sand.

It’s the duelling G’s, Goldwater and Glendale, duelling it out in cyberspace, posting lists of questions, within minutes of each other, on their respective websites Thursday.

Goldwater’s 12 questions were directed at Glendale. Trouble is, Glendale didn’t answer them — it posted 10 of its own, with answers, in effect interviewing itself. One of my favourite tactics.

And what did we learn through all this?

That Goldwater’s tall foreheads continue to believe Matt Hulsizer’s deal to take over the Coyotes reeks like a desert dog that long ago had its day.

And that Glendale’s elected reps remain anchored to a spot somewhere between the rock of raising $100 million for Hulsizer to buy the team and the hard place they got themselves in in the first place, borrowing $180 million to build an arena in the middle of nowhere.

Has Glendale ever asked Hulsizer or any other prospective buyer to use his own money to buy the team without city debt or backing? Goldwater asked.

I can answer that one. NO.

If it had, it would have been laughed out of the room.

Buying the Coyotes with your own money and keeping the team in Phoenix is akin to flushing tens of millions down the toilet, at least in the short term.

Offering a public subsidy is obviously the only way to take some of the stench off this sinkhole, and even so it has all the effectiveness of one of those pine tree air fresheners hanging from the rafters of a Manitoba hog barn.

Goldwater went on to ask if there are written agreements for this, legal opinions in writing for that — basically casting aspersions at the way the City of Glendale conducted its business.

Refusing to give a web inch, Glendale accused Goldwater of various and sundry offences, including being part of a Facebook group dedicated to bringing the NHL back to Winnipeg.

If the Coyotes leave Arizona, will the Goldwater Institute be to blame? asked Glendale’s heavy hitters, serving up a softball for themselves.

Absolutely, was the over-the-wall answer.

It’s a virtual pissing match, two groups claiming to represent the public interest, rattling their cyber sabers.

Goldwater won’t meet to iron out the differences, the city claimed, saying it’s offered to provide more documents and answer any questions Goldwater might have about the deal.

It’s the city that’s being secretive, countered the watchdog, insisting it’s been stonewalled at every truth-seeking turn.

Meanwhile, the NHL continues its behind-the-scenes effort to find investors willing to take the risk of buying city bonds clouded by the threat of a lawsuit.

Asked for an update on that front, Gary Bettman’s right-hand man was lightning-quick with a response, albeit a tad short on substantive news.

“Nothing new to report,” deputy commissioner Bill Daly said.

So what’s next?

Bettman is guarding the drop-dead date like a state secret.

Ironically, the readiness of Winnipeg’s True North Sports and Entertainment is allowing this saga to drag on as long as it has.

True North has a front office, complete with a sales and marketing staff, ready to go. Any chance of relocating this franchise to another city, like Kansas City, in time for next season has long since passed.

So we wait, like we wait for the spring runoff. For the ice to break. For the flood of emotions that will follow, either way.

For this virtual stare-down to end, a clock ticking secretly in the background, ready to strike midnight — or should that be high noon — and turn us all into Jets fans again.


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