NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes in limbo, but move to KC unlikely

06/14/2013 5:23 PM

06/14/2013 5:23 PM

The city of Glendale, Ariz., is facing another challenge to keep the Phoenix Coyotes in town, seemingly once again giving the Sprint Center a chance to land a NHL franchise.

But that’s not the case, according to Kansas City Mayor Sly James.

“Not likely anytime soon,” James wrote on Twitter in response to a question about the possibility of the NHL coming to Kansas City. “Too much subsidy wanted from city.”

There’s also the lack of a potential owner.

The prospects for a NHL franchise coming to Kansas City have plummeted since the fall of William “Boots” Del Biaggio, who once had an agreement with AEG to operate an NHL team at the Sprint Center if one became available. But the Pittsburgh Penguins got a new arena in Pittsburgh, expansion never happened, and Del Biaggio was sentenced to eight years in prison in 2009 for bilking investors and banks of millions of dollars.

No prospective owner has stepped forward in Kansas City since. An official with OnGoal, LLC, the group that owns Sporting Kansas City, said it did not have interest in bringing the Coyotes to Kansas City.

The NHL has operated the Coyotes since they were purchased out of U.S. Bankruptcy Court in 2009 following former owner Jerry Moyes‘ attempt to sell the team to Blackberry founder Jim Balsillie, who wanted to move the franchise to Hamilton, Ontario. After numerous suitors fell through, the NHL finally reached agreement last month to sell the team to Renaissance Sports & Entertainment, a group headed by Canadian investors George Gosbee, Anthony LeBlanc and Daryl Jones.

But their deal is contingent upon reaching a new lease agreement for Jobing.com Arena, and negotiations with Glendale continue to drag on. The city council meets June 25 and the NHL’s Board of Governors meets two days later. Commissioner Gary Bettman has not set a deadline, but said Tuesday that “this is really going to be a decision that the city of Glendale is going to have to make.”

Added deputy commissioner Bill Daly, “They know what our decision timeline is and what are the decisions we have to make. There’s no misunderstandings.”

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