City’s concerns keep Coyotes deal in doubt

The Associated PressJune 28, 2013 

A lease agreement between a prospective owner of the Phoenix Coyotes and the City of Glendale, Ariz., is still in doubt with a vote less than a week away.

The NHL, which has operated the Coyotes the past four seasons, has agreed to sell the franchise to Renaissance Sports & Entertainment, but the deal is contingent upon completing a lease agreement with the city for Jobing.com Arena.

The league has pushed Glendale to make a decision by next week and three council members stepped forward to force a vote Tuesday despite concerns that the city did not have enough time to do due diligence on the deal.

“Now is the time for the City of Glendale to decide what they’re going to do,” said former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods, who’s representing RSE. “… The NHL has given them a hard deadline and if they want to keep the Coyotes here and have the arena managed in a professional and successful way, they need to get on with it.”

If not, then should the Coyotes be forced to move, one destination could be Seattle.

RSE, a group headed by George Gosbee, Anthony LeBlanc and Daryl Jones, reached agreement to buy the team from the NHL in May.

After weeks of negotiating, RSE and Glendale created a draft of the deal, which was posted on the city’s website on Thursday.

Along with the draft, Glendale also posted a release outlining some of its concerns about the deal, including a $15 million management fee to run the arena, a five-year out clause that could allow RSE to move the team without penalty and concerns that the city would bear all the risk if revenue projected by RSE falls short.

“Contrary to what might appear in the papers, I don’t see this as a ‘done deal.’ Far from it,” acting city manager Dick Bowers said in a letter sent to the city council on Tuesday. “Discussions continued over the week and we have come only slightly closer to comfortable than before.”

MESSIER LEAVES RANGERS

Mark Messier is leaving the New York Rangers, apparently after being passed over to replace fired head coach John Tortorella.

Messier, a special assistant to Rangers general manager Glen Sather, said in a statement that he is resigning in order to “expand the game of hockey in the New York area by developing the Kingsbridge National Ice Center.”

He added that New York’s choice to hire former Vancouver Canucks coach Alain Vigneault as coach wasn’t a factor.

“… Nothing could be further from the truth,” said Messier, who led the Rangers to the Stanley Cup title in 1994.

SLAP SHOTS

The Lightning is buying out the contract of center Vincent Lecavalier to create salary cap space. The buyout will cost more than $32 million over 14 years. … The Blues re-signed 24-year-old defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk to a multiyear contract. … Forward Chris Kunitz agreed to a three-year extension with Pittsburgh. … The Sabres re-signed defenseman Mike Weber to a three-year, $5 million contract.

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