Glendale Grants Ice Edge Exclusive Negotiating Rights With Phoenix Coyotes

The Glendale City Council last night approved a deal to give Ice Edge Holdings, a Canadian and American investors' group, exclusive negotiating rights in an attempt to buy the Phoenix Coyotes.

Under the agreement, Ice Edge -- the only known, remaining, potential buyer that would keep the team in the Valley -- has exclusive negotiating rights with the team for 60 days as it tries to iron out a deal with the NHL, the current owner of the franchise.

Last month, Glendale refused a similar deal with Glendale Hockey, a group of investors headed by Jerry Reinsdorf, the owner of the Chicago Bulls and White Sox.

At the time, there was more than one possible buyer for the team, but Reinsdorf's group withdrew its bid to buy the team yesterday so, with only one potential buyer remaining who's willing to keep the team in Arizona, the city didn't have much choice other than to approve the deal. 

Lurking in the shadows and waiting to swoop in and steal the team away to Canada is Toronto Billionaire David Thomson and his Winnipeg-based group, True North Sports and Entertainment.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman confirmed last month that Thomson expressed interest in buying the team and probably would move it to Winnipeg.

Bettman's also said he wants to keep the team in Arizona, where, as a franchise, it's lost money every single season since moving from Winnipeg.

Bettman has given the city until the end of the year to find a buyer that would keep the Yotes in Arizona.