The prospective new owner of the Phoenix Coyotes reportedly is about $20 million short of the NHL's asking price.
Greg Jamison, a former CEO of the San Jose Sharks, is courting investors to make up the shortfall, The Sporting News reported on July 28.
Jamison, a former San Jose Sharks part-owner, is leading the latest group to bid for the Coyotes, who have been owned by the NHL since the franchise went into bankruptcy in 2009. The NHL wants $170 million for the team.
Recently, the city of Glendale -- which owns Jobing.com Arena, the team's home -- rejected petitions that would have put Jamison's lease agreement to a public vote and delay the sale. The city faces a hearing on that rejection Monday.
The NHL's pursuit of a new owner also has been blocked often by a public-policy advocacy group, the Goldwater Institute. Glendale twice has staved off the group's attempts to torpedo the lease with Jamison.
The Coyotes are coming off a season in which they won the Pacific Division and advanced to the Western Conference finals before falling to eventual NHL champion Los Angeles Kings.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league is still confident the sale would get done and the Coyotes would stay in Glendale.
The sale has held up the signing of Shane Doan, who is an unrestricted free agent. The team's captain, who has played all 17 of his NHL seasons with the franchise, has said he would like to remain with the Coyotes, but not if the team is embroiled in more politics.
Doan reportedly met with Jamison on July 27. No details of that meeting have emerged.
--While most conference finalists are looking for the missing pieces to the puzzle, the Coyotes are just trying to stay alive as a organization and keep the face of the franchise as its captain.
As of mid-July, the Coyotes still didn't have an owner, and captain Shane Doan, who came to Arizona with the franchise in 1996 but had no desire to leave with it, remained in a holding pattern. The unrestricted free agent was hoping that he and the franchise would carry on with four or five more years in the desert.
Doan hoped to know his answer by July 9, but that deadline came and went with no decision on a bid to force a public vote on a Glendale (Ariz.) City Council arena management agreement with prospective owner Greg Jamison.
But as the list of the more than a dozen teams interested in Doan began to trickle out in mid-July (the Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks) the referendum bid failed.
The Coyotes have already lost Adrian Aucoin, Taylor Pyatt and Ray Whitney to free agency. They have replaced Aucoin with Zbynek Michalek, Pyatt with David Moss, and Whitney with Steve Sullivan -- who will be hard-pressed to match Whitney's 77-point renaissance season from last year. There are also plans to add firepower up front using assets at both the NHL and farm levels.
But replacing Doan, the heart and soul of the team and far and away the most popular Coyote, is a different matter. Losing him would represent a huge step backward following the most successful season in franchise history. Losing Doan to a division rival like the Kings or Sharks would be akin to the NBA's Phoenix Suns trading franchise star Steve Nash to the hated Los Angeles Lakers.
Doan wants to stay in Arizona. He has put down roots there, owns a sprawling ranch, and his family has no desire to leave. However, he's not willing to sign a one-year contract, and at the age of 36, he is looking to sign one more long-term deal to cap his career. He is coming off the kind of season after which he can command $5 million-plus (22 goals, 28 assists) and sign with a team that can contend for a Stanley Cup -- a pretty good consolation prize if he has to say goodbye to the desert.
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