Jamison a step closer to buying Coyotes

The Phoenix Coyotes have taken a major step toward securing an
owner.

All that’s left is one last hurdle.

Glendale’s City Council voted late Tuesday night in favor of a
reworked, $320 million arena management deal with Greg Jamison,
clearing the way for the former San Jose Sharks CEO to complete his
purchase of the team from the NHL.

”The affirmative vote by the Glendale City Council is an
important step toward the realization of a positive ownership
resolution for the Coyotes and their fans,” NHL Deputy
Commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement Wednesday. ”The
National Hockey League looks forward to working with Greg Jamison
to complete the sale process as expeditiously as possible.”

The City Council approved a 20-year, $324 million deal for
Jobing.com Arena in June, but, faced with growing financial
constraints, city leaders sought to renegotiate the deal.

The council voted 4-2 in favor of the new deal, which cuts back
Glendale’s payments in the first five years, gives Jamison
incentives to bring in more non-hockey events and issues penalties
if there is an NHL lockout. The current lockout is in its 11th week
and has wiped out more than 400 regular-season games, along with
the NHL All-Star game.

The new arena deal requires Jamison to complete his purchase of
the team from the NHL by Jan. 21, 2013, a deadline he was confident
would be met.

”I know they (city leaders) want closure very badly and so do I
and the rest of the group,” Jamison said after the meeting Tuesday
night. ”We’re confident we can get there.”

It’s been a long wait.

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 favor of the lease agreement during the summer and
Glendale voters in November’s election upheld a 0.7 percent sales
tax increase designed to help the city’s finances.

With the council agreeing to the reworked arena agreement,
Jamison must now complete his deal with the NHL and gain approval
from the league’s board of governors.

”We’re here, we’re excited about some NHL hockey, we’re looking
forward to the lockout being over and we’re also looking forward to
the future,” Jamison said. ”We believe strongly not only in the
product, we believe strongly in the community, we believe strongly
in the Valley and we think basically this a good place to be, a
good place to have a team and the future looks bright.”