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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"


Anthony LeBlanc


George Gosbee

For the past few days there has been a flurry of media reportage on a new player in the ongoing Coyotes ownership saga. According to the media Anthony LeBlanc, a previously failed would-be owner of the Coyotes, has landed a “whale.” That, I have learned, is a term used to describe someone with oodles of money. That does describe George Gosbee, a very rich Canadian indeed.  You don’t become a very rich Canadian by being dumb. Mr. Gosbee’s background is finance and not hockey. Although it certainly is possible that he is a hockey aficionado. Mr. LeBlanc must have pitched a smokin’ return on investment (ROI) to Mr. Gosbee, et al. We can only guess as to the money making strategy proposed by LeBlanc to line up his investors but it must be a doosey!


Greg Jamison

We know that Greg Jamison is still in the hunt and has been working quietly to reassemble an investment group. It’s no secret that I have championed the possibility of his ownership of the team because I know what he stands for and that is a long-term commitment to the team and Glendale. If he fails this time as well, I will welcome any ownership group that makes the same commitment and honors it.


Darin Pastor

Now, like wild flowers springing up from the desert floor, another possible investment group led by Darin Pastor has surfaced and issued a March 29 Press Release announcing the formation of “an exploratory committee of seasoned investment bankers and other related sports entertainment advisers”  to purchase the Coyotes. This group, as well as all of the others, has proudly proclaimed their intent to remain in Glendale.


Jerry Reinsdorf

There is also the possibly of Jerry Reinsdorf, with his Beacon Sports connections, lurking about like a Great White Shark, waiting to strike.

I think I’m beginning to see a pattern emerge. Color me paranoid or suspicious. That’s OK. Just take a moment to think about the current situation. We know of a minimum of three groups seeking to purchase the Coyotes. In the scenarios of previous years, the city waited UNTIL the NHL had given its initial blessing to any of the would-be owners and THEN began negotiations on a final arena management contract. If any of those negotiations had proven successful the new owners would have then finalized a sale with the NHL.


Gary Bettman

This time it is different. It appears that the NHL will finalize a sale of the team FIRST and THEN the new owners will begin negotiations with the City for a lease management agreement. It certainly puts the ball in this new council’s court. From everything we have seen and heard to date, this is a council that wants a cheap arena management contract. They have simply not indicated a willingness to offer a deal similar to the one that Greg Jamison had. Yet Anthony LeBlanc has said publicly that any deal with the city must be very similar to the previous deal on the table with Greg Jamison.

So there may be an impasse and the new team owners and the city may not be able to craft a deal satisfactory to both sides.  If that occurs, we will have new team owners that can relocate the team and a city willing to let the team go and settle for an arena manager of the Phoenix Monarch Group variety.

question 2Under those circumstances, as a possible owner of the team, anyone would be more than willing to publicly state an intent to keep the team in Glendale long-term. It’s a good PR move and wins the hearts and minds of many. Then upon failure to come to terms with Glendale, saying with a straight face and convincingly claiming it was the city’s fault. The critical question that all should be asking, is not who will buy the team for I am convinced the team will be sold and soon. How soon? Who knows? Once again, we heard the magical phrase of “two weeks.” The critical question is, will Glendale come to terms similar to previous deals and finally acknowledge that the team as an anchor tenant at Jobing.com is indeed important to Westgate’s future? That’s the real sixty four thousand dollar (or $6M or $10M) question.


       There has been a lot of chatter lately among hockey fans that keeping the team for 5 years is better than losing the team now. For rabid hockey fans such a thought should be anathema.  Why?
A little review of history first. In future blogs at “Joyce Clark Unfiltered” a more complete history will be offered.  In 2001 the City entered into a series of agreements with Coyotes Center Development

Steve Ellman LLC (Mr. Steve Ellman). The City’s clear intent was to build an arena to host the Phoenix Coyotes Hockey team which had been purchased by Mr. Ellman. There was no management fee in this agreement. In 2005 Mr. Ellman sold the team to Mr. Jerry Moyes. There was still no management fee as Mr. Moyes bought the team under the existing agreements with the City of Glendale.

In Spring-Summer 2009 Mr. Moyes wanted the agreements renegotiated with the City to include a management fee of approximately $12 million a year or he would dmoyeseclare bankruptBalsilliecy. The City declined and Mr. Moyes declared bankruptcy. He tried to convince the City to support the sale of the team to Mr. Jim Balsillie of RIM with relocation of the team to Canada and to accept nominal annual payments from him. The City refused and consequently in May of 2010 the NHL bought the team out of bankruptcy. For the first time the City would be required to pay a management fee and in the case of the NHL, that figure was $25M a year.
In April and June of 2010 the City entered into Memoranda of Understandings with theLeblanc Reinsdorf Group and Anthony LeBlanc of Ice Edge. Neither of these potential deals could

reinsdorfbe negotiated to all parties’ satisfaction.  Each of these parties was seeking an arena management fee in the $17 million range and each wanted an “opt out” clause of 5 years.


In February to June 2011, the City was ready to finalize a deal with Mr. Matthew Hulsizer of Coyotes Newco LLC. This deal also contained an “opt out” clause of 5 years. This new deal would have required the City to purchase parking rights from Coyotes Newco at a cost of approximately $100 M. It failed only in part due to the Goldwater Institute’s assertion that the City would be in violation of the state gift clause.


In the fall of 2011 through January 31, 2013, the City entered into an MOU and serious negotiations with Mr. Greg Jamison of Hockey Partners LLC. It was a deal that was good for Glendale, the NHL and the team. It kept the team in Glendale for 20 years, the annual management fee was $12M, there was an option to buy the arena and it contained penalty and incentive provisions.  It failed because Mr. Jamison could not meet the City deadline for completion.I will offer more about this situation in a future blog at “Joyce Clark Unfiltered.” Lately there has been talk of “mystery buyers” with “deep pockets” from Gallacher to LeBlanc. 



Ever since the arena was built I have talked to team owners of various sports. Universally the consensus has been that it takes a minimum of 10 years to build a solid fan base. Their general opinion has been that if anyone offered less than the 10 years then that entity is not serious about staying.
Coyotes fans should  not be willing to settle for a deal that only keeps the team in Arizona for 5 years knowing that it is not a good deal for the team, the NHL or the City of Glendale. How can a fan emotionally invest in a team knowing that it is destined to leave? Fans should be supportive of a deal that keeps the Coyotes here long-term. After all, in the last 18 months the emotional, physical and financial fan investment in this team has been greater than that of any fan in the NHL. It’s time for surety through permanence for everyone.
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