Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Lease dogs Coyotes' buyers

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THE chicken-or-egg scenario continues to play out with the group trying to purchase the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes from the league.

Ice Edge Holdings is reportedly having trouble lining up the financing for the US$160-million purchase price being asked by the NHL but Ice Edge partners have said this week they'll have the financing if they get the right lease.

Partner Darryl Jones said earlier this week that his group would be looking at $10-15 million more per year in revenue from a reworked lease in Glendale, Ariz. The City of Glendale, however, already has a lease with the team that runs 26 more years and despite more meetings this week, has yet to show any indication it's prepared to fork over that kind of revenue to new owners.

An effort at the state level last month to create a stadium tax district around the arena to help bail out the team was withdrawn due to lack of support.

The Ice Edge group said it still had hope of completing a deal by the end of the NHL regular season, though multiple reports have said the negotiations could well drag on until June, when the NHL will want to close on the deal or, failing that, look for other bidders.

Elsewhere on the NHL's troubled-franchise front, the owners of the Nashville Predators said this week they had waived the early termination clause in their lease until June 2012.

The ownership group there has had its challenges and has an exit clause with the city-owned Bridgestone Arena to sell or move the team if certain loss levels are suffered or attendance levels are not reached.

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 18, 2010 C5

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