February 1, 2013
Here we are, most of us Coyotes fans woke up again this morning and are still breathing. Yesterday was a real blow to us all with the failure of Hockey Partners to consummate their deal with the NHL in time to meet the January 31 Glendale deadline. The reasons for this failure aren’t publicly clear at this time, although speculation runs rampant south and north of the border. So far, said speculation has NOT included a Sasquatch investor pulling his money out, but it’s early in the process.
As a name dropper, when queried before the season about a new marketing slogan, Mike Nealy said that the slogan was changed. When one of the group mentioned “Hockey The Hard Way” was a great slogan for the Coyotes right now, he said it’s possible for the fans to keep slogans alive. So, I’m doing my part.
The loser, so far, is Greg Jamison and his partners. I don’t know how much money they spent over the past 18 months or so putting this deal together and resurrecting it, but it must be a bunch. Today, there must be dozens of smiling lawyers shredding the documents they so carefully drafted repeatedly while checking their bank balances inflated by this failed deal.
If that money and effort was completely wasted remains to be seen. In his press release, Mr. Jamison states he will continue to work toward the purchase of the Coyotes and keeping them in Arizona, not necessarily in Glendale. There is no reason to doubt his veracity and his tenacity is without question. Whether Glendale and the NHL have mentally moved on to other pastures isn’t known yet.
New mayor Jerry Weiers has been holding court in his dead animal festooned office since the announcement, a parade of media types trooping through for their turn. He insists Glendale money won’t be part of a new deal. Yeah, maybe. Weires is also the guy who told Paul Giblin of the AZ Republic that he had been contacted around 9PM on January 30 by a lawyer representing Jamison to request a deadline extension. That statement has been repeatedly denied by Jamison and others. I’d bet the lawyer is never identified.
Mr. Weiers’ statement has since been removed from AZ Central (click here), although my comment remains attached at the bottom and the quote remains part of a Canadian article (click here). So until further notice, I’d be verifying all of Mr. Weiers statements if I was a media type.
Stay Or Go?
Of course the pitch of the Canadian press to move the Coyotes to a Canadian city went up several octaves with the announcement of the deadline passing. Bill Daly, speaking to Hockey Night in Canada radio listeners, completely disagrees. Daly, the number two NHL guy, states that the NHL isn’t ready to expand into Ontario (Markham) or Quebec (Quebec City). Further, he reaffirms the NHL’s commitment to Glendale. Click here to read the story.
Daly DOES state that the NHL is closer to executing an alternative plan then they were five months ago, so once again the clock is ticking on the Coyotes. As it should be.
There remains reason for optimism. We know Jamison is prepared to press forward with a new agreement. Mr. Weiers has stated he was contacted by two groups interested in the Coyotes, most other sources believe it’s one group. Fox Sports Arizona’s Craig Morgan has identified Calgary oil guy Bill Gallacher as a likely suspect for the position of new Coyotes owner. He has the credentials and the money and already owns the Portland Winterhawks.
There is speculation that a deal may, in fact, move very quickly, in weeks rather than months. Read Craig’s article, the info is in there. (click here) I’m not sure how accurate all the information is, although new Glendale Council member Gary Sherwood who was the source for the original information is a bright spot in Glendale politics and a no-nonsense straight shooter.
I heard the arena would be a subject at the next (Tuesday, Jan. 5) council workshop. Unfortunately, that discussion has been moved from a public forum to a private executive session. The additional much sought after transparency was seen as a problem for the discussion about arena agreements and the hockey team “which are the subject of negotiations.” Click here for the agenda. Keep in mind that, in lieu of a special meeting, this keeps discussion of a new arena deal out of the public eye for another week.
I’m no lawyer, but it seems that continuing negotiations with other potential buyers while a memorandum of understanding is in effect with Hockey Partners is a questionable move.
Lest we get TOO excited, while the new mayor seems the perfect guy to spearhead a quick resolution to the Coyotes sale for a bunch of reasons, there remain significant hurdles before that finish line is crossed. If it happens and the new mayor is exalted as the guy that saved the city, so be it. We’d have to assume that the terms of the expired deal with Hockey Partners would have to be completely renegotiated in favor of the city to get it through the council, so the City of Glendale is likely to benefit from a new deal assuming the twenty year commitment isn’t reduced. How will they do that so quickly unless it’s almost already done in principle?
There is a lot of talk of demanding refunds for season tickets, cancelling tickets and other means of passing along the message to the NHL and Glendale that we’re finished. Anyone that doesn’t understand that sentiment hasn’t been around the Coyotes for long. “Hockey The Hard Way” is no joke, and the constantly ridiculed fan base understands it on more than a cerebral level, we feel it in our guts. We’ve been through an unprecedented string of ridiculousness for four years now, yet we’re still here and attending games.
Yeah, these “no hockey fans in Arizona” people lose sleep over the condition of their team. We worry in a very real sense about whether our Captain feels betrayed by the turn of events. In my opinion he SHOULDN’T, but if he does I understand it. Of course, as goes Doaner, so goes the team. While the players consistently maintain they aren’t affected by the rumors and the strife off the ice they are, quite frankly, apparently lying. When your wife and kids are settled happily in Arizona and you can’t tell them if they’ll be moving shortly, it affects your performance. We can see it happen on the ice. But, we get it.
In my opinion, the team office should realize where these fans are coming from with no owner, especially after an extended lockout and coming so close to a resolution. While all the fine print on any ticket purchase is laden with “no refunds”, the successful future of the Coyotes as a business depends on the fans. So, if anyone is asking for a ticket refund rather than suffer through yet another potential lame duck season, they should get that refund with no questions asked.
In the same vein, anybody who wants to bail at this point shouldn’t be considered a non-fan by the “real fans”. Everybody has a different level of pain they can take, and different reactions to same. It doesn’t make them any less of a fan of the team, they’re simply exhausted or just sick of the drama.
Our family is sticking it out. We have our tickets, are keeping them and will be at every one of those games. I’ll admit to a lessened level of excitement on the way to the games, winning more would help too. Regardless, we decided to stick it out until the Coyotes are settled in their permanent home.
More Wins Than Losses
We started this long strange trip way back in June when Ken Jones and Joe Cobb joined forces to try and rid Glendale of the Coyotes with their referendum attempt. A group of us got together and made sure that didn’t happen. The same group, with a few additions and subtractions, managed to be involved in the initiative that would have resulted in the repeal of the current Glendale sales tax which would have also resulted in the Coyotes leaving. We also managed to keep an eye on yet another referendum attempt by Ken Jones and his new buddy Francine Romesburg that would have killed the Coyotes. The only failure we had was in our attempt to get stalwart Jamison deal supporter and exemplary council member Joyce Clark re-elected.
Everybody has different reasons for getting involved in capers like this, it doesn’t matter what they are. It appears there’s a real possibility that somebody other than Hockey Partners may eventually reap the rewards of our labors. It’s a bit bothersome to me, personally, given that the respect we had for Mr. Jamison was undoubtedly part of our drive to win the battles in the corners. But, if the eyes are on the prize, we still have our hockey team.
I’m not naming names here, there’s too many and I fear I’d leave someone out inadvertently. You know who you are.
We have a group of people that’s pretty great in anyone’s book. Cruising around the arena, lots of people recognize Bea and myself and want to thank us for our efforts. We’re easy to spot because of my dashing good looks and Bea’s stunning auburn hair, of course. But we’re just the tip of the thug iceberg.
Between the painful interludes, the wins and the losses, Bea and I have met so many great people that’s it’s a real blessing, a word I rarely use. We’re lucky to count you as friends, politics don’t matter, music opinions don’t matter and it doesn’t even seem that we have to talk about hockey. Our breakfast meetings at the super secret but fun meeting location are always fun, we managed to fill the van with things for a bunch of “at risk” kids, and so many other things.
As a group, you tricky clam thugs have made this thing (so far, looks like we’re not done YET) a tremendously rewarding experience for me and for my family and we’re proud to know you. I hope we keep this group alive and growing through the years without the need for meetings in hot parking lots or libraries. That has gotten pretty old.
Keep the faith, my Coyotes brothers and sisters.