TORONTO – The NHL is thinking about trying to renegotiate the contentions lease agreement between the Phoenix Coyotes and the city of Glendale.
The league recently paid US$140 million to purchase the team out of bankruptcy and is currently looking for a new buyer. The Coyotes have a 30-year lease with Glendale – the suburban city where Jobing.com Arena is located – that potential bidders will likely find troubling.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly says the league is considering trying to negotiate a better lease to make the team more attractive.
“It’s one possibility of moving toward resolution whereas now all of the potential purchasers have this big elephant in the room,” said Daly. “What’s the lease going to look like?”
The NHL is eager to unload the Coyotes as soon as possible and believes a renegotiated lease could help speed the process up.
“It may be one way to move the process forward by going in and doing our own deal, understanding what’s there and then we have something to sell,” said Daly. “And either people want to buy it on those terms or they don’t. It could make it easier I’m not suggesting it’s the only way to go about it.”
It will be interesting to see what kind of new lease the NHL tries to get.
While the league has maintained it wants to try and keep the team in Phoenix, it has acknowledged that it might need to be moved if a buyer can’t be found. So will the NHL seek an out clause?
“It’s a fair question but since we haven’t had that discussion yet with the city of Glendale I don’t want to presuppose what or what not we might need in that agreement,” said Daly. “It really depends on the other elements of the agreement to a large extent.”