Hockey The Hard Way

February 1, 2013

Phoenix Coyotes Logo

Phoenix Coyotes Logo

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.

Post Mortem

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?

ENOUGH Already!

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.

Thanks

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.

Comments

  1. George, I was very frustrated, angered and dejected yesterday and you responded with a few comments on twitter and you were definitely a calming force and now you are inspiring with your calm, never give up approach. I thoroughly enjoy your writing and I hope I have tbe opportunity to have some personal conversations with you. Thank you and I will say the Coyote fans are blessed you are in our corner.

    LETS GO COYOTES!

    • Wow thanks for the compliments, Kevin. We’ll be on the blue line at the top of 101 until they drag us out of the building for most games, so cruise by some time.

  2. Thank you George again. I read about a “new guy” but reading Craig Morgans report makes me even more unsettled. Now the narrative will be the “new guy” will buy and move to Portland. This just replaces the title, but the “song remains the same”.

    • I’m fairly certain Portland isn’t in the mix. If the end result was Seattle, that would be more believable and possible. The fact of the matter is not many people know too much about the plans afoot, it will begin to clarify after the executive session on Tuesday if facts are revealed later. Executive session is by law “secret” so without the old leaks who we hear are now in California, maybe we won’t hear until a bit later.

      For now, we got this thing.

  3. I don’t know what to make of the new mayor. If there is already a new AMF or something like that set with the “new guy” I might feel better. But I think Mayor Weiers would rather be “Arapio” esq and and be the “toughest” Mayor in the country and ruin possible solution. I was going to buy a Doan sweater and some future game tickets, but I won’t waste my “soul” on this “new guy” now. The money isn’t as big of a deal, but I’m not wasting anymore time or effort on this saga.

  4. The only one(s) I believe are you, Joyce and Mr. Sherwood. Its just the “cryptic” cute vague stuff that’s getting to me. What is the meaning of “is”, etc. Sounds like a lot of “lawyer” speak for me. Mr. Jamison is a good man, I hate he is taking a lot of BS. One silver lining could be the “new guy” is the hockey “big” and Mr. Jamison runs the concert venue and other non hockey interests.

  5. Geoff Kerr says:

    Sorry to be negative, but the AZ Republic article you speak of provided NO actual quotes from Weires, just “Weires said this, Weires said that”. Can you say hearsay? There were no direct quotes. In the radio interview Weires said he was NOT contacted by Jamison or an attorney the night before. It is no wonder the article has been corrected. So until Giblin produces a real quote it is a non-issue. (Well, it maybe to Roc who said on twitter that Weires lied…oops) Between the Az Republic, the gaping holes in the laughable blog rebuttals by Zorn and Shroyer where they (ha ha) “schooled” the original authors and were hailed (but merely lumped themselves into the same vein as them through wrong conclusions driven by homerism) it makes me wonder where to look for objectivity.

    • Had you read what I said, Chuckles, you would have seen that the quote in question had been REMOVED from Giblin’s piece, it was there and was false.

      You aren’t honestly looking for objectivity anyway, so go peddle your comments on a Canadian blog where your friends will applaud your wit.

    • Geoff…

      What George said was true. The initial version of Giblin;s article did include the statement Weiers alledgedly made. I also saw it.

      AZCentral edits their articles regularly after they’ve been released. For all anyone knows it may have been an error on Giblin’s part when he originally wrote it and someone called his attention to it and it got corrected.

      The past two days I’ve seen way too may people jump to conclusions based upon fractional and incomplete information. When the reality of it is NONE of know what the real story is.

  6. Geoff Kerr says:

    Sorry “Chuckles” I read it when it came it out. There was no quote. It said “Weires said that he was contacted”..etc..that is not a quote. I then saw the revamped one that your article linked to that has that “Weires said” line removed. I stand by what I wrote. If it was a quote, why did they change it, hmmmm??? When I see a quote that says “I was contacted by an attorney etc” as opposed to “he said” then I will eat my words. It seems they took “he said” out because they could not prove “he said”. And I do seek objectivity, and if I am seeing this crap spewed and take offense, as one who thinks the Coyotes should remain in Glendale, then you should be worried sick about those who spot this nonsense and want the team moved.

    • Convenient edit after the fact rather than fact checking before on a HIGH IMPACT statement picked up immediately by the usual suspects north and south of the border. We’re used to it, just disappointed that a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter wouldn’t take the extra step and follow the lead to the end to verify Weiers’ statement.

      If you choose to take refuge in semantics about what is a quote and what isn’t, that’s your right.

  7. Geoff Kerr says:

    ok, fair enough…my point was that Weires can’t be accused of lying without a real quote to refer to. If he did indeed say it, they blew their chance, and now have egg on their faces by having to change the article. As for semantics, it may be for you. For me, a quote is what was said and published in the 1st person. Otherwise it is hearsay. A recorded quote if questioned is defensible, hearsay in print unless proven and found later to be untrue or unsubstantiated is libel. If it would not survive in Court it shouldn’t be in print; nor should comments based on “quotes” that weren’t really “quotes”.

    I hope this mess is solved with a new owner that can make it work without needing a COG handout that seems to be not on the plate given the attitudes of some of the new council. I want a team in QC, and believe it is only a matter of time, but the taxpayers of Glendale need the lesser of two evils much sooner.