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Arniel finalizing deal with Canucks to coach Chicago Wolves

Bettman, Roy meet; no word on a Quebec City franchise

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PITTSBURGH – News is beginning to break at the NHL Draft here with the first tidbit of the day involving Winnipeg resident and former Moose coach Scott Arniel.

The Free Press has learned Arniel is finalizing a deal with the Vancouver Canucks that will make him the head coach of the AHL’s Chicago Wolves.

Arniel was fired by the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets last season but has quickly had his value as a coach re-established with the hire by the Canucks. Arniel was caught in a bad situation in Columbus as management made a number of bad decisions and were unable to provide him with a goalie up to NHL standards.

Arniel has a history with the Canucks as the former coach of their previous AHL affiliate the Manitoba Moose.

Another interesting sighting at the Omni Hotel in downtown Pittsburgh was NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and Patrick Roy sitting down to breakfast together. Roy is believed to be the front-runner to be coach or GM in Quebec City should an NHL franchise relocate to that city.

The NHL owns the Phoenix Coyotes and may have to move that franchise if they can’t sell the team to an owner willing to keep it in Arizona. So far, in three years of trying, the NHL has been unable to find an owner willing to meet their asking price and keep the team in suburban Glendale, Az.

The league has a potential buyer Greg Jamison on the hook to buy the club but only if he can get a lease from Glendale that would subsidize his purchase with a bloated arena management fee that would act to cover his potential losses. Jamison has been unable to raise the money to buy the team and needs a lease of this fashion finalized to try and get his finances in order.

But this past week a judge ruled the lease is not an emergency measure and subject to referendum if opposition can put together 1,800 signatures. Such a petition would put the lease on hold until at least November and it’s uknown if the NHL is willing to wait that long.

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