Coyotes' future in Phoenix in doubt

  • Scott Burnside [ARCHIVE]
  • ESPN.com | November 27, 2012

Tuesday night looms large for the Phoenix Coyotes, given the long and rutted road they have traveled in search of an owner.

The Glendale City Council is expected to vote Tuesday on a reconfigured lease agreement between potential owner Greg Jamison and the municipality.

The deal would pay Jamison $320 million during the life of the 20-year deal and would, in theory, secure the Coyotes' future in Glendale. If the new lease agreement is accepted, Jamison and his partners will attempt to complete the purchase of the team from the NHL, likely by the end of the calendar year.

It's expected that Jamison and business partner Anthony LeBlanc, formerly of the Ice Edge group of businessmen that had been in the running to buy the Coyotes several years ago, will be in attendance at the meeting in Glendale.

Sources told ESPN.com the financing for the $170 million deal is in place and that approval of the lease agreement and subsequent approval by the NHL's board of governors would be the final hurdles in completing the long-awaited deal.

The passing of the new agreement is not a slam dunk, given the financial crisis facing Glendale and the opposition to the deal by current Mayor Elaine Scruggs, a former supporter of the team's relationship with the city.

If the council does not approve the lease agreement, it's expected that would end Jamison's bid to buy the Coyotes and throw the team's future in Arizona back into doubt. Mayor-elect Jerry Weiers and a new set of council members will take office in January, and they have indicated they will not support the re-worked lease agreement.

The widely held expectation is that Jamison's group of investors represents the last chance to keep the team in Arizona and that if Jamison's bid dies, the NHL will have little choice but to begin the process of finding a new home for the beleaguered franchise.

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