Phoenix Coyotes Probably Will Stay In Glendale -- One More Season, Anyway

The Glendale City Council signed off on a deal with the National Hockey League last night that should guarantee that the team stays in Glendale for at least one more season.

The NHL had requested that the City of Glendale pick up the tab on any financial losses the team may suffer next season, and the city has agreed to pay up to $25 million to the league, should the team lose money.

The city is off the hook, however, if it can find a buyer for the team over the summer -- something Glendale and the NHL seem confident they'll be able to do.

That confidence may be a bit misguided -- the city has been unable to strike a deal with a buyer willing to keep the team in the Valley, to date. And on Monday night it blew a deal with what was believed to be the team's most realistic suitor.

Ice Edge Holdings, a group of investors willing to buy the Coyotes and keep them in the desert, walked away from the negotiating table after the city refused to give the group an exclusivity deal.

If the city had not agreed to the deal to cover the team's losses, NHL probably would have washed its hands of the Howlers and sold the team to a buyer who would move the team to Winnipeg.

As we reported yesterday, Winnipeg is achin' for a hockey team, and a Canadian billionaire based out of Toronto is lurking in the shadows -- waiting for a deal that would keep the Coyotes in Arizona to fall through -- to deliver the team back to Canada.

David Thomson and Winnipeg-based True North Sports and Entertainment have made no secret of their desire to move the team to Winnipeg should no deal be reached to keep the team in the Valley.

The city's decision to cover the team's losses over the next season doesn't guarantee that the it will stay in Glendale, but at least Glendale has bought some time.

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James King
Contact: James King