Sources: Gosbee/LeBlanc group agrees to buy Coyotes
The Coyotes ownership saga has dragged on longer than it takes committed students to complete a college degree. But with a number of key issues approaching critical mass within the next month, the wheels are finally turning — and quickly.
Multiple sources confirmed to FOX Sports Arizona on Friday that the NHL has reached an agreement to sell the Coyotes to Renaissance Sports and Entertainment (RSE).
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The next step to complete the deal is for NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly and RSE heads George Gosbee and Anthony LeBlanc to meet with city officials on Tuesday in an attempt to hammer out an arena management deal. That is the same day that the team will hold a press conference to announce a new deal for GM Don Maloney, as first reported by FOX Sports Arizona on Thursday.
Glendale council member Gary Sherwood said the meeting plan is the same as the one for the original meeting between the groups a couple weeks ago that had to be re-scheduled. Bettman, Daly and RSE will meet with Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers and then will hold two separate meetings, each to be attended by three council members.
“Gary (Bettman) told us all along that if the league had three suitors for the team, they wouldn’t come to us until they had selected one that they felt was the best group,” Sherwood said. “That is exactly has happened.”
There is still wide disagreement over the cost of managing Jobing.com Arena, but Sherwood has been analyzing and preparing numbers that he will present to the council so that it can make a more informed decision. Sherwood said the plan is to hold an open workshop a week from Tuesday, but the report still needs more tweaking from what he termed a “task force” before it is ready for presentation.
It is believed that RSE wants between $13 million and $15 million annually to manage the arena, while Glendale only has $6 million budgeted, but Sherwood said recently that there are a number of ways to bridge that gap.
If RSE is not able to reach an agreement with Glendale, sources have said that John Kaites’ group is still a possibility to purchase the team, as would be Greg Jamison’s group if it could gather the necessary investors. But multiple sources have said that the NHL is no longer interested in dealing with Darin Pastor, whose bid was recently rejected by the league.
In the meantime, sources also confirmed that with Maloney now under contract, negotiations with coach Dave Tippett on a new contract are set to begin. Like Maloney, Tippett’s contract was set to expire on June 30, but RSE views Tippett as a critical component, both from a coaching standpoint and from a financial standpoint when it comes to fan confidence in the franchise and investor confidence.
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