It appears the Phoenix Coyotes aren’t going anywhere after all.
According to Hockey Central insider John Shannon, the Coyotes’ prospective ownership group has agreed in principle with the City of Glendale on a new arena lease agreement.
Earlier Friday, Fox Sports Arizona reported that Rennasiance Sports Entertainment, the ownership group led by George Gosbee and Anthony Leblanc, had made significant progress closing the gap on a deal
Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston wrote earlier in the week that the Coyotes saga was nearing a resolution and if the RSE group was unable to reach a deal with Glendale – the NHL may have considered moving the team for next season.
The council will need to approve of any proposal before anything becomes official – which will require four out of seven votes to pass. The next council meeting is set for June 25.
The report of a framework agreement on a lease first was reported Friday by Fox Sports Arizona.
The city has budgeted $6 million per year for managing the arena, while the prospective buyers — who would manage the facility — reportedly need far more than that to make it work. The sides apparently have come up with some way to bridge that gap.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Wednesday that the time was coming for some decisions to be made. Either the city was going to make the necessary decisions to keep the Coyotes or the franchise would find a new home. Bettman also raised the possibility the team might just take a one-year hiatus.
"Obviously, we’re getting to the point where some decisions are going to have to be made, both by the city of Glendale and by us," Bettman said before Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals. "We haven’t set a deadline, but the time is getting shorter. … We’re still focused on making it work with the Coyotes staying in Arizona."
RSE is headed by a group of Canadian investors, who have a purchase agreement with the NHL but it’s contingent on reaching a lease agreement with the financially-strapped Glendale. The city figures to lose money one way or another, at least in the short term, but presumably would lose less with the Coyotes as an anchor tenant.
"This is really going to be a decision that the city of Glendale is going to have to make," Bettman said.
With files from Associated Press