Jamison misses deadline to purchase Coyotes

Jamison misses deadline to purchase Coyotes

Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

GLENDALE, AZ - MAY 07: Greg Jamison, former CEO of the San Jose Sharks, speaks at a press conference to discuss the potential purchase of the Phoenix Coyotes before the start of Game Five of the Western Conference Semifinals between the Phoenix Coyotes and the Nashville Predators during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Jobing.com Arena on May 7, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona.

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by Associated Press

NWCN.com

Posted on January 31, 2013 at 6:01 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 31 at 8:43 PM

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.  -- The prospective owner of the Phoenix Coyotes is unable to complete his purchase of the team before a lease agreement deal with the City of Glendale expires, a league official told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Former San Jose Sharks CEO Greg Jamison will issue a statement saying he can't meet the deadline, but still hopes to buy the team, the official said on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to discuss the situation.

Jamison had until midnight Thursday to complete his purchase of the Coyotes from the NHL under terms of a 20-year, $308 million lease agreement with Glendale for Jobing.com Arena.

New Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers has said he will not extend the lease deal, opening up the possibility of other potential bidders to compete with Jamison to buy the team.

Jamison was not able to pull together the funds and investors he needed in time to meet the deadline and will likely have to renegotiate with Glendale if he is able to purchase the team from the NHL, continuing a saga that has lasted more than three years.

"Obviously, it's a frustrating time, but we have no control over it," Coyotes goalie Mike Smith said. "It's something we can't really solve, otherwise we'd buy the team if we could. We've just got to worry about winning hockey games and playing to the best of our abilities, and hopefully it'll work itself out.”

The ownership dilemma started in 2009, when former owner Jerry Moyes took the team into bankruptcy in a bid to sell to Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie, who would move the franchise to Hamilton, Ontario. The NHL vehemently opposed that plan and a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge later refused to allow the sale to go through.

With no one else stepping forward, the NHL bought the team and started running it with the intention of finding a buyer who would keep the team in Arizona. It's been a drawn-out process filled with false starts and dashed hopes.

The league thought it had an owner in place when Chicago businessman Matthew Hulsizer stepped forward, but his bid fell through when the conservative watchdog group Goldwater Institute inserted itself into the process and warned potential bond buyers to stay away from the Glendale offering because of a looming lawsuit.

Amid speculation that the Coyotes would return to Winnipeg, where the franchise relocated from in 1996, Jamison came forward as a potential buyer last year.

The NHL announced during last year's playoffs that it had a preliminary agreement to sell the team to Jamison and he later worked out a lease agreement with Glendale for Jobing.com Arena despite opposition from Goldwater.

Jamison's bid to buy the team cleared a big hurdle when Glendale voters in November's election upheld a 0.7 percent sales tax increase designed to help the city's finances. He also reworked the lease agreement with the city, setting a Jan. 31 deadline for Jamison to purchase the team from the NHL.

But Jamison may have been hurt by the 113-day NHL lockout and was unable to secure the finances he needed to finish off the deal in time.

And so the wait for an owner continues.

"We'll just kind of move on with what we need to do on the ice," Coyotes forward Raffi Torres said. "We're not really worried with what's going on off the ice right now.”

They've had plenty of practice at it by now.


 

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