Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Ice Edge says NHL, Glendale have 'disconnect' in talks

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THERE is disagreement between NHL and one of the bidders for the Phoenix Coyotes on where the league is in its efforts to obtain a deal on the US$25 million insurance policy on next season's losses approved by the City of Glendale, Ariz.

Ice Edge Holdings partner Daryl Jones told the Free Press on Sunday that the city and the league have not reached a deal and that there remains a "disconnect" between the two parties.

Jones said that he and his partners, or anyone else interested in buying the Phoenix Coyotes from the NHL, are on hold until a deal is made between the NHL and the city of Glendale.

"This is coming down to the 11th hour," Jones said. "The NHL needs to basically have the $25 million the city agreed to in an account where they can draw the money down when they need it. The city wants to control the money and what it is dispersed for. There's a real disconnect at this point.

"The NHL is focused solely on trying to get a deal with the city right now. So no one is having negotiations with the NHL as far as purchasing the team goes. I received an email from the NHL this weekend saying they still don't have a deal."

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Sunday night that it's correct there's no $25-million deal yet.

"Yes, I can confirm that we don't have a deal that has been documented to our satisfaction," Daly said in an email to the Free Press. "I don't necessarily agree, however, that we are at a 'disconnect' with the city. We are continuing to work."

Glendale city council voted last Tuesday to give city manager Ed Beasley the authority to negotiate a deal with the NHL, one the league demanded so it wouldn't be on the hook for team losses next season, should the Coyotes stay in the Phoenix suburb.

The NHL purchased the Coyotes out of bankruptcy last fall and operated them last season. It's believed the league lost in the neighbourhood of US $30 million and it told the city it will not fund those losses for another season. City of Glendale director of communications Julie Frisoni said the city would not comment about ongoing negotiations.

"I'll stop you right there. I'm not going to comment on what Mr. Jones says. Mr. Jones doesn't speak on behalf of the city of Glendale," said Frisoni. "We're not going to report blow-by-blow in the media on a negotiation of this magnitude. If and when we have an agreement, we'll come forth and make comment at that time."

The NHL has a deadline of June 30 to move the Coyotes out of Phoenix without penalty as per the bankruptcy judgement set down by Judge Redfield T. Baum.

True North Sports and Entertainment has been in negotiations with the NHL to purchase the Coyotes in the event the league elected to relocate the team. The NHL and True North agreed upon a deadline of last Friday to consummate their deal and it passed with the NHL still hoping to solve its problems in the desert.

gary.lawless@freepress.mb.ca tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 17, 2010 C1

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