Gary Bettman, NHL Commissioner, Confirms Canadian Buyer Trying to Steal Phoenix Coyotes and Move Them to Canada

About three weeks ago, we posted a story about rumors that Canadian billionaire David Thomson was lurking in the shadows hoping to swoop in and steal the Phoenix Coyotes from the Valley and relocate the team to Canada.

Hate to say we told ya so (that's a lie, we love it), but it appears we were right.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman confirmed at a league press conference in Chicago today that a Canadian buyer has made a bid on the Howlers and that the Canadian is, in fact, Thomson.

Should Thomson's bid be accepted, he would probably move the team back to Winnipeg -- something Bettman anticipates is unlikely to happen.

Bettman, who's expressed his desire to keep the team in Arizona, says the city of Glendale is currently in talks with three different groups that would keep the team in Arizona and that he's confident a deal can be reached this summer.

"The Coyotes are staying in Phoenix, [in] Glendale," Bettman says.

That may be easier said than done.

Talks with Ice Edge Holdings and a group led by Chicago Bulls and White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf have stalled, and neither the league nor the city of Glendale have provided any details about the unnamed, third, potential buyer.

Ice Edge reportedly had been on the verge of securing an exclusivity deal that would make the group the only contender to keep the team in Arizona but, a few weeks ago, Glendale refused to agree to the deal, causing Ice Edge to end negotiations with the city.

Bettman has given the city until the end of the year to find a buyer who would keep the team in Arizona. If the city is unable to do so, Shane Doan and Co. better get used to shitty beer, polite fans, and moose because the Howlers will most likely be heading north of the border.

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James King
Contact: James King