The NHL is still trying to keep the Phoenix Coyotes from moving out of Glendale, Arizona while fans in Quebec, Canada are hoping the league isn’t successful. Gary Bettman, the NHL commissioner, said the league wants to sell the franchise to somebody who’s willing to keep the club where it is and he’s hoping a deal can be made before the current season is over.
He revealed there there’s a third possible buyer for the team now, making it three in total. These include Jerry Reinsdorf, who owns Major League Baseball’s Chicago White Sox, and Greg Jamison, who’s a former executive with the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. However, Bettman didn’t reveal who the third potential buyer is.
He added that there’s a plan B in place in case the franchise can’t be sold to somebody who wants to keep it in Phoenix. This backup plan involves relocating the team to Quebec City or somewhere else, such as Las Vegas, Seattle, or Kansas City. He said the league isn’t really look into that scenario at the moment until it’s obvious there’s no alternative in the situation.
Quebec used to have an NHL franchise in the past, the Nordiques, but lost it when it moved to Colorado. However, there’s hope in the French-Canadian city because the Winnipeg Jets also lost their franchise about 15 years ago, ironically to Phoenix, but were awarded a new one when the Atlanta Thrashers relocated there this season.
Quebec is already preparing for a new team just in case and the city is planning on building a new arena later this year. There’s also a possible owner for a team in Quebec as Pierre-Karl Peladeau, who heads up a giant media company called Quebecor, has said he’s interested in bringing an NHL team back to the city.
Quebec would seem to be the frontrunner if the league moves the franchise. There’s an old rink in Seattle, where the NBA’s Supersonics to call home, and Kansas City has an arena, but no potential owner at this point. Las Vegas would also need an ice-hockey arena built too. There’s still the old Le Colisee in Quebec where the old NHL team used to play, and that could be used until the new rink is completed. However, the NHL won’t consider moving to Quebec until some commitment is shown, such as starting construction on a new rink.
Bettman said he’s not sure if Le Colisee is suitable for NHL games at the moment and it’s not something the league has looked into. He said people shouldn’t get their hopes up since the Coyotes could very well be staying put. It also seems that Bettman isn’t too thrilled with Regis Labeaume, the mayor of Quebec City, as Labeaume is putting the cart before the horse in the matter and the league has told him numerous times what the situation and preference is for the league.
In the meantime, the NHL will continue to operate the Coyotes, as they’ve been doing since 2009 and continue to look for a new owner to take over the franchise.
Written by Diehard Sports via FeedCrossing
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