Chicago businessman Matthew Hulsizer is closing in on a deal to purchase the Phoenix Coyotes from the National Hockey League.
Hulsizer and the the City of Glendale have had the framework of a lease agreement ready to be finalized for some time and now it appears he has closed the gap with the NHL.
Sources told the Free Press on Friday all three sides have made some concessions to come to a verbal agreement on a 'conceptual deal.'
"The City of Glendale and the Hulsizer Group have reached an agreement in principle on the lease that would allow the Hulsizer Group to purchase the Coyotes from the NHL under the terms they requested," said Glendale spokesperson Julie Frisoni. "The provisions of the deal are subject to formal approval by the NHL board of governors."
The purchase price is said to be US $165-million with a Nov. 30 closing.
"It appears that significant progress is being made. We’re certainly hopeful that we are moving toward a conclusion that will assure the Coyotes’ long-term future in Glendale," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told the Free Press.
The NHL purchased the Coyotes out of bankruptcy for US $140-million in the spring of 2009 and have reportedly lost US $30-million operating the team.
This past summer the league and the City of Glendale struck a deal to have the Phoenix suburb pick up losses this season. The city put US $25-million in escrow while they tried to find a new owner for the team.
The NHL has had access to those funds since Sept. 15.
Hulsizer entered the picture in September and made quick progress with Glendale on a lease.
The former collegiate hockey player and wealthy financier, however, had less luck in negotiating a purchase price with the NHL.
There has been significant progress in talks in recent days, however, and sources say all three parties are confident a deal can be reached.
No written documents have been produced to this point.
The NHL has told the City of Glendale to find a new owner by Dec. 31 or they will pursue offers to re-locate the team.
The league has said they have a viable offer from Winnipeg’s True North Sports and Entertainment.