Ice Edge takes step toward buying Coyotes from NHL
The Ice Edge Holdings investment group signed a letter of intent to purchase the financially floundering Phoenix Coyotes from the NHL with a long-term commitment to keep the team in Arizona. The league and Ice Edge announced the agreement in brief statements on Friday. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league pledged to work closely with Ice Edge "to bring the sale to conclusion as expeditiously as possible." Ice Edge chief executive officer Anthony LeBlanc said "Ice Edge has committed to keep the Coyotes in Glendale for the remaining term of the original lease." There are 26 years left on the Coyotes' lease to play at Jobing.com Arena, which was built for the team by the city of Glendale. In an e-mail exchange with The Associated Press, LeBlanc said there would be no "out clause" that would allow Ice Edge to break the lease. "We believe in this team and the demographics of the Valley," he said, a reference to the sprawling Phoenix metropolitan area. The league bought the team in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for about $140 million after two other potential bidders, including Ice Edge, withdrew, largely because they could not reach an agreement on a reworked stadium lease with the city of Glendale. The Ice Edge deal is expected to approach $150 million, the amount it had said the group would be willing to spend. The NHL board of governors could act on the ownership proposal at its meeting next week. Ice Edge is a group of American and Canadian investors with five majority owners - LeBlanc, Daryl Jones, John Breslow, Keith McCullough and Todd Jordan. LeBlanc is a former executive at Research in Motion, the Blackberry manufacturer founded by Canadian Jim Balsillie. Balsillie mounted a spirited, persistent bid to buy the Coyotes in bankruptcy court and move the team to Hamilton, Ontario. Breslow is a Las Vegas-based businessman and former Nebraska state auditor who owned 3 percent of the Coyotes when the team went into bankruptcy protection.