The Glendale (Ariz.) City Council voted 5-2 to pay the NHL as much as $25 million as part of an interim deal to keep the franchise around for the 2011-12 season after at a raucous hearing that went late into Tuesday night. The vote clears the way for Glendale officials to continue work on a new lease deal for Jobing.com Arena with Chicago businessman Matthew Hulsizer.
"This is an important step toward a final resolution and a transition to the permanent ownership the Coyotes need and deserve," NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said (via NHL.com). "We set our sights now on finding a financing structure which will accelerate that transition. We are confident that, working with the City of Glendale, we will attain that objective.
"We thank the City of Glendale for its unwavering commitment to the National Hockey League and to the Coyotes. We have the same level of commitment to the City of Glendale and this franchise, as our efforts of the past two years should clearly demonstrate."
There are still plenty of obstacles that remain to keep the Coyotes in Glendale for the long term, but the team won’t be returning to Winnipeg next season.
Ice Edge Holdings dropped out as a minority partner in the proposed purchase of the Coyotes earlier in the day, which further complicates a process that has stretched on for more than three years.
A proposed $100 million bond sale by the city to secure its part of the deal with Hulsizer also faces a potential lawsuit from the Goldwater Institute, a conservative watchdog group.
Before the vote was taken, The Arizona Republic details how contentious it was as nearly 300 people jammed the chamber:
During a meeting break, a resident began shouting about the city's debt burden, which is higher than most cities of the same size.
"This city is bankrupt!" the man shouted.
Coyotes fans immediately silenced him with boos.
The Coyotes were swept by the Detroit Red Wings in the first round of the playoffs, but Daly told the newspaper ticket sales, season ticket renewal rates and revenue were all up this season.
-- A.J. Perez