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New owner's deal to buy Coyotes unlikely to be finished before lease agreement deadline

GLENDALE, Ariz. - The prospective owner of the Phoenix Coyotes is unlikely to complete a deal to buy the team from the NHL before a lease agreement with the City of Glendale expires, a league official told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Barring a last-minute change, former San Jose Sharks CEO Greg Jamison won't have the money or investors in place to meet the midnight Thursday deadline for the lease agreement, the official said on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to discuss the situation.

Jamison reached a 20-year, $324 million lease deal with Glendale last year that was reworked in November with a Jan. 31 deadline.

New Mayor Jerry Weiers recently told the Arizona Republic that he would not extend the deadline on the lease agreement, so Jamison would likely have to negotiate a new deal if he is able to complete his purchase of the team. Missing the deadline also could open up the possibility of Glendale working on a deal with any potential new ownership groups.

Either way, the Coyotes' drawn-out ownership saga will drag on some more.

The Coyotes have been run by the NHL the past three seasons, since former owner Jerry Moyes took the team into bankruptcy in 2009. The team still managed to be successful on the ice despite financial limitations, reaching the playoffs all three years, including the franchise's first trip to the Western Conference finals in 2011-12.

The Coyotes have had several potential suitors in that time and a deal with Chicago businessman Matthew Hulsizer appeared to be in place last year before the conservative watchdog group Goldwater Institute killed it by warning potential bond buyers to stay away from the Glendale offering because of a looming lawsuit.

Goldwater tried to stop the deal with Jamison, but the City Council voted in favour of the lease agreement during the summer and Glendale voters in November's election upheld a 0.7 per cent sales tax increase designed to help the city's finances.

A reworked deal with the city in November appeared to clear the way for Jamison to buy the team, but the NHL lockout may have hurt his ability to gain the finances he needed to beat the deadline.

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