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Ice Edge loses exclusivity edge in Coyote deal

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A deal for a consortium of U.S. and Canadian businessmen to buy the Phoenix Coyotes hit another snag this month but it hasn't stopped the negotiations.

The Arizona Republic reported today Ice Edge Holdings lost its right to negotiate exclusively with the City of Glendale to lease the Jobing.com Arena as part of its quest to buy the Coyotes.

The exclusivity deal — which would have prevented any other interested buyers from coming in and trying to outbid Ice Edge — was negotiated in June but collapsed when Ice Edge didn't provide all the financial documents the city had demanded by June 18.

Glendale spokesperson Julie Frisoni today said all the city is prepared to say is that the Arizona Republic story "is accurate."

"The city does not comment on ongoing negotiations," said Frisoni.

Ice Edge Holdings and the City of Glendale have set a deadline of Aug. 6 to conclude negotiations for the arena lease, which is less than two weeks away.

Ice Edge is working to buy the team from the NHL — which bought it from bankruptcy last fall  — and lease the Glendale-owned arena for the team to play in.

It is currently the only known bidder willing to keep the team in Arizona. The NHL reached a deal with Glendale in May for the city to cover operating costs up to US$25 million to keep the Coyotes in the Jobing.com Arena for the 2010-11 NHL season. If a local buyer for the team isn't found by Dec. 31, the NHL is expected to begin negotiations to sell the team to bidders who would move it.

It is believed Winnipeg is the first in line for those negotiations through True North Entertainment.

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly would not comment on the Arizona Republic story Tuesday. However, fans who see this latest snag as potential for the Jets to make a Winnipeg return sooner should not get their hopes up.

"I will confirm for the record that the Coyotes will be playing in Glendale for the 2010-11 season," Daly said.

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