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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

On Monday, November 13, 2017 we were all shocked to learn of the death of George Gosbee,48, former owner and Governor of the Arizona Coyotes. He was also a well respected member of the Calgary, Canada community. What hasn’t been reported until today, November 15, 2017 is that he died by his own hand…he committed suicide. Here is the link: https://news–of-the-day.com/2017/11/15/yedlin-george-gosbees-death-a-devastating-reminder-of-mental-health-effects/ .

He was a man who had everything – a wonderful family, prestige within his community and wealth. Yet due to some mental illness he believed he had nothing; that life was not worth living and so, he took his life. My deepest condolences go out to his family.

Then I ran across another article posted just today by Craig Harris of the Arizona Republic detailing current investigations by the National Labor Relations Board related to the Coyotes allegedly not paying employees properly and possible union busting. Here is the link: https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-investigations/2017/11/15/arizona-coyotes-accused-not-properly-paying-employees-union-busting-nlrb-complaints/867408001/?hootPostID=ac31f1c4a3f168b754f5d5951be6049e .

What has happened to our Coyotes? How far have they fallen? Just a few years ago they were riding high with blockbuster attendance and a slot in the playoffs. Remember the nights of “white outs?” The fans’ enthusiasm was palpable.

Today their starting season is 0-10-1. They have the worst record in the NHL with 2 wins, 15 losses and 3 ties. Their attendance quite frankly, sucks. They have the smallest payroll in the NHL at about $55 million. Unless there is a reversal of fate, they are slated to lose at least $20 million this year.

They have sold off, traded or retired a majority of their players of note, most notably Shane Doan.  It is certainly not the fault of the players. A majority are new and relatively inexperienced. They are eager and hungry to win but they have yet to gel as a cohesive unit. It takes time.

The current owner, Andrew Barroway, and the NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman, have threatened to leave Arizona if someone or some entity does not build the Coyotes a new arena and subsidize their playing in such a venue. Their decision and actions are certainly not the way to encourage the realization of their “ask.”

There is an alternative that Barroway has stubbornly rejected and that is to stay in Glendale and to end the ongoing saga of uncertainty. It’s also time to invest in building a team that is, at least, competitive.  Glendale has always said that it wants the Coyotes to succeed in Glendale and will offer assistance to help rebuild the fan base. A year-to-year contract does nothing to reassure fans that the Coyotes are committed to staying. It’s as if the fans keep waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I’m on the outside, obviously, looking in. I have no inside knowledge but there has always been the undercurrent of suspicion by some that these are deliberate acts. Suspicions borne from the time Anthony LeBlanc, et. al., took ownership. Some believe that their motivation has always been to leave Arizona. What better way to accomplish that goal than to decimate the team, drive down attendance and then proclaim that Arizona never was, isn’t and never will be a successful market for hockey. A season of attendance at the very bottom of the league’s barrel may finally convince Gary Bettman that Arizona is not the hockey market he believed it to be.

Seattle has plans to locate an MBA and an NHL franchise in its arena after its renovation. Bettman has always wanted to grow the league and put an expansion team into that slot. Could that change? Could he throw in the towel, as he has threatened if the Coyotes do not get a new venue here, and bless a Coyotes’ move to Seattle? I don’t know but you can bet that Barroway and Bettman do…right now.

UPDATE: NOV. 16, 2017 Today’s Arizona Republic reports that support for Phoenix’s bearing the lion’s share of the cost of renovating the Diamonback’s venue is waning. It appears politicians are finally getting it and that pouring money into the money pit of sports venues is not the best use of taxpayers’ dollars. In that same article Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton seems to have dropped his support of planting the Coyotes in the same venue. His latest statements about the Diamondback’s facility has dropped any mention of using it for the Coyotes as well. 

 

© Joyce Clark, 2017                 

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

“It hasn’t been the easiest season for fans of the Arizona Coyotes. After poor on-ice performance, the departure of many beloved veterans, and the lingering sideshow of off-ice issues, the 2014-15 campaign has not been for the faint of heart.” This was written and published by Fiveforhowling.com three years ago during what was viewed as the coming “golden age” for the Coyotes under what was presumed to be a new era of stable leadership provided by IceArizona.

There is an old tale of an emperor in a parade. He was wearing no clothes. No one remarked upon this strange scene until the emperor passed in front of a young boy who blurted out, why is the emperor wearing no clothes? Suddenly it became acceptable for everyone to acknowledge that fact.

Under the ownership of IceArizona we experienced a similar situation with everyone fearful to state the obvious for fear of being ridiculed or worse. Glendale has pointed out that this emperor (IceArizona) is wearing no clothes and this concept is now acceptable to voice.

This is from a Dan Bickley Arizona Republic story(http://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/nhl/coyotes/2017/03/09/bickley-gary-bettmans-threats-backfiring-valley/98969022/ ) from 2 days ago, “But sports fans in the Valley are smarter than they look. The Coyotes have failed on their end of the bargain, running their franchise on the cheap while depending on handouts to survive. If this team had consistently exposed Arizonans to the majesty of playoff hockey over the past decade, this conversation would sound much different. Truth is, they haven’t done anything to warrant a second home on our dime.” He went on to say, “The Coyotes didn’t help matters in a press release blaming their current location for alienating their ‘premium ticketholders and ticket sponsors.’ What does that say to the people who currently show up to games with open minds and open hearts?” And open pocket books, I might add.

Even Craig Morgan, darling of the Coyotes organization and often perceived as its unofficial spokesperson, said this yesterday in his arizonasports.com article (http://arizonasports.com/story/1050773/morgan-coyotes-need-the-right-location-to-succeed-its-not-glendale/ ) “The hard truth for the team is that it has produced four winning seasons, three playoffs berths and two playoff series wins in 13 seasons in the West Valley location that welcomed it when nobody else would. Winning sells in any market, but it’s especially important in one as fickle as Phoenix. Repetitive losing is an unwise investment of fans’ dollars and emotions.” Morgan did acknowledge, “The Coyotes’ hirings, and their delay in releasing financial statements to Glendale per their agreement, raise questions about their commitment to the partnership…”

Craig Harris of the Arizona Republic in his story(http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/legislature/2017/03/09/glendale-fires-back-arizona-coyotes-glendale-arena/98967020/?hootPostID=19ace9c56558711ce78486b73ec4649f ) from March 9, 2017 weighed in with this, “The new arena managers run the facility for one-third the cost. The team’s claims that it can’t be successful in Glendale came after the city in 2015 stopped subsidizing the Coyotes through a $15-million annual arena-management deal. “

The mainstream media has finally been willing to acknowledge that the emperor is not wearing any clothes. Certainly it appears that the Arizona legislature realizes that the emperor is wearing no clothes. Sadly, the fans, always the last to give up their allegiance to a team are also beginning to see an emperor with no clothes.

In 2013, everyone rejoiced in the prospect of a new era with IceArizona. Celebrations abounded among Bettman, the new team owners and the fans. Then no one, not Bettman, LeBlanc or the fans, rejected the Glendale/IceArizona deal with commentary that heck, Glendale was a lousy location. How soon we forget. They had a home that they welcomed then. They have a home now… if they only choose to bury the hatchet.

The fans are weary of an eight year drama with seemingly the only end in sight possibly being the relocation of the team outside of Arizona. They are weary of belief in anything the team spokesperson, Anthony LeBlanc, says after a series of incendiary and sometimes misleading public pronouncements. How will they feel if the coming season turns out to be the team’s last in Arizona? Will they bother to attend games? This coming year’s attendance could prove to be the worst one yet. Perhaps ownership will hold off on dropping the bomb until after the next season is completed. Who knows?

Two unanswered questions remain. Has the team paid off the $70 loan from the NHL? And where’s Waldo…er…Anthony LeBlanc?

It’s been a rough season for all…

© Joyce Clark, 2017               

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

In 2009 when Jerry Moyes put the Coyotes into bankruptcy NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was desperate to save the situation. His worst nightmare would have come true if Moyes had succeeded in selling the team to Jim Balsille and the team was moved to Canada.

Then, as now, someone or something, had to be thrown under the bus…because, of course, it’s never the League’s fault or a team’s fault when a team goes south. Back then, Jerry Moyes went under the bus but deservedly so. Mr. Bettman said at the time, “The team hasn’t been particularly well run.” This time, Mr. Bettman, has no problem throwing Glendale under the bus, undeservedly.

What a difference a few years can make. A 2009 Financial Post story said, “There is a brand-new building in Phoenix,” Bettman said of the Jobing.com Arena, the Coyotes’ home in Glendale, a Phoenix suburb. “There are people that are supportive of the franchise and want to keep it there.” Here is the link: http://www.financialpost.com/m/bettman+coyotes+situation+phoenix+fixable/1617384/story.html .

Bettman also said at the time, “What you don’t do is just abandon places to go somewhere else because somehow you think you have a divine right to a franchise in a particular place.”  Doesn’t that beautifully sum up exactly what IceArizona has been doing? That certainly has been IceArizona’s attitude and why? Because LeBlanc, et.al., became angry and vengeful when Glendale pulled the plug on their annual $15 million dollar subsidy. It was not a “divine right.”

I’m not sure the general public knows where Glendale’s annual $15 million payment went. The ink was not even dry on the Glendale/IceArizona contract when IceArizona sent a letter to Glendale directing that the $15 million be sent directly to Fortress Investment Group, a major entity that loaned IceArizona money to buy the team. Did you know IceArizona’s owners put relatively little of their own cash up to buy the team? Between the 10 or so investors they managed to raise $45 million toward the purchase price of $170 million with the balance of the purchase funded by two loans–one from Fortress and one from the NHL.

It is finally beginning to dawn on everyone, including the media, where the real problems lie and it’s not the location of the team. It appears as if the management (owners) has literally been systematically raping the team of all of its talent. This is reflective of a string of poor management decisions occurring over the last several years creating a poor product on the ice. This is not to demean the players for there are some very talented men on Gila River ice. However, collectively, they don’t appear to “jell.”

Perhaps the last straw was the recent trade of Martin Hanzal. Martin Hanzal and Shane Doan were buddies…more than buddies, like brothers. They worked the same line on the ice for the team for years. They were a team and could read each other’s moves instinctually. Trading Hanzal had to have been a major shock and wake up call for Doan, indisputably the icon and unique symbol of this franchise. No wonder he is reported to have said that if the right offer were to be made, he would have to give it serious consideration. If and when Doan leaves or retires, his loss will cause many fans to abandon the team.

What about IceArizona’s marketing efforts? Do you remember when they first took over the franchise, there were major media buys and you couldn’t go through a day without seeing at least one Coyotes TV ad, and often more. Today, I bet most of us cannot remember the last time we saw a TV ad for the team. They’ve disappeared from the media market. It is simply a symbol of the lack of time, money and talent being employed to advertise the team and grow the fan base.

Bettman’s ultimatum sent shock waves throughout the Valley. He angered long-term, committed fans who are now voicing remarks like, “leave” or “bye-bye.” He has created enmity where there was none and the actions and comments of IceArizona have split the Valley apart. They have created a bitter pill that no one wants to swallow.

© Joyce Clark, 2017               

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

Has anyone else noticed that Anthony LeBlanc, presumably still CEO of the Coyotes, has been publicly missing in the latest Coyotes dust-up? Where is he? We’ve heard from the General Manager, the Public Relations people, even Gary Bettman and Andrew Barroway…but not a peep or sighting of LeBlanc? Has he been muzzled or given his walking papers? Hmmm…who knows?

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman

It seems in the light of a new day NHL Commissioner Bettman is back peddling just a tad. Today, March 8, 2017 down in Florida he said the Phoenix area is a terrific hockey market. Yep, just follow the money, Mr. Bettman. Oh, again, by the way, has Ice Arizona paid the NHL the $70 million it borrowed to purchase the team, Mr. Bettman? Yet Glendale has proven its support with millions in cold, hard cash.

It seems you have drunk the IceArizona kool-aid and have joined in the mantra of blame Glendale for cancelling its long-term IceArizona arena management contract after 2 years. I guess you forgot about Craig Tindall and Julie Frisoni, City of Glendale employees who allegedly aided and abetted IceArizona while it was negotiating its management contract with the city. I guess you forgot that IceArizona allegedly represented that the city would recoup its $15 million a year payment by receiving “enhanced revenues” from parking fees, ticket surcharges, naming rights, etc.?

Did you know that IceArizona submitted its annual financial report to the city, kicking and screaming, at least 3 months after it was due? Did you know that while some of the financial numbers presented were audited numbers some of the critical revenue numbers the Coyotes claimed as proprietary and were not audited? Glendale was told trust us and don’t verify. As a result, each year of the 2 years the contract existed Glendale did not receive verifiable, audited numbers while it received revenues that never met the IceArizona representations…actually millions less than the represented numbers.

At what point did city council throw up its hands? After the alleged collusion between IceArizona and city employees? After it received revenues that in no way met the IceArizona representations? After the city’s inability to get verifiable, audited figures?

The city’s trust had been eroded by these alleged bad acts. Did you forget that these were the reasons why Glendale cancelled its contract with IceArizona? It’s so very convenient to point the finger at Glendale and say, it’s all your fault. You’re the bad guys because you cancelled the contract while conveniently ignoring or forgetting alleged prior bad faith acts on the part of IceArizona. And it’s so much easier to say that fans won’t come to games in Glendale.

How soon you forget. Remember the recent season the Coyotes made the play-offs? The arena was filled…it was magical…seas of white out shirts…fan excitement…distance to travel to a game didn’t matter to see a winning team. The real question to be asked by all is this…is this team now unprofitable because the product on the ice is bad and Valley fans are not motivated to go to the games anywhere they are held or is it, as you claim, because the East Valley will not travel to the West Valley to support hockey? I suspect it is the former reason.

Mr. Bettman, your ultimatum to the people of Arizona created a backlash that you cannot reverse or contain. You angered not just members of your fan base but the general taxpayer population as well. And guess what? You can’t put this genie back in the jar.

Here are just a few of the comments reported by the Arizona Republic’s Facebook page since Bettman and Barroway delivered their ultimatum of pay for a new arena or we leave:

  • ): “I have to say I am a huge coyotes fan. Every game I’m not at I’m watching. But I can tell you if you’re going to issue an ultimatum to the taxpayer to pay for your Stadium or you’re leaving. Then pack your bags and get out. You guys don’t put a winning product on the ice and you’re going to lose the face of the franchise as soon as you try to to trade him or he retires and that’s game over. So tired of sports teams thinking everything should be handed to them on a silver platter as if they provide some service to society that’s beneficial.”
  • “I’m a diehard hockey fan. However, I do not support tax payer funded playgrounds that billionaires benefit from. They make the money, we just pay for the playground and the. To also watch the games. There is not one instance where a publicly funded arena – for any sport – has left the municipality ahead. It is always to their detriment. Case in point Chase Field.”
  • “You might have a bargaining chip if you had a consistent winning team. People are drawn to winners. Start winning and more people will come. DO NOT blame your revenue problems on Glendale, when it is your own doing.”

Channel 12 TV news is running a current online poll with the question being, Has the time come to tell the Coyotes to leave Arizona?  Results as of this writing: Yes 67% and No 33%.

The Arizona Republic in a recent story cited the cost to taxpayers to have publicly funded the construction of sports venues in the Valley. The numbers are astounding and the total of $1.1 billion is just for the building of 4 existent sports venues:

  • Suns $90 M
  • Diamondbacks $354 M
  • Coyotes $220 M
  • Cardinals $455 M

The acknowledgement that IceArizona has lost millions annually does nothing, absolutely nothing, to convince taxpayers that IceArizona merits this kind of investment. Their losses do nothing to assure taxpayers that they can hold up their end of the bargain and will be able to invest $170 million of their own money, what money? into the deal.

To the team owners…it’s time for cooler, saner heads to prevail. Stop bad mouthing Glendale for your failures. Come back to the table. AEG stands ready to negotiate a mutually beneficial arrangement with you – one that is fair to all. That kind of arrangement will win the support of Glendale. It’s time to concentrate your energies on reviving superior management, a robust marketing strategy and a team that wins your fans back.

© Joyce Clark, 2017               

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Disclaimer: The comments in the blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

Today, March 7, 2017 NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman penned a letter of utter desperation to Arizona’s senate president and speaker of the house followed almost immediately by a statement by Andrew Barroway, Coyotes majority owner and chairman. Here is the link: http://www.abc15.com//sports/sports-blogs-local/nhl-commissioner-to-state-legislature-coyotes-must-have-a-new-arena?utm_source=SilverpopMailing .

Let’s think about Commissioner Bettman’s statement for a moment. In 2003 when the Coyotes played their first game in Glendale’s new arena, built specifically for them, Gary Bettman gushed about Glendale. He praised Glendale. He couldn’t heap enough praise on Glendale.

The original owner of the Coyotes, Steve Ellman, had no deal requiring the City to subsidize the team. Ellman, not only ran the team successfully, he filled the arena regularly and consistently with big ticket concerts. Then Ellman sold his interest to Jerry Moyes. Moyes appeared to have bled the team dry until like a sun-baked prune it had nothing more to offer to him…and so, in 2009 he went to Glendale and asked for an annual subsidy. Glendale said “no” and Moyes followed through on his threat to put the team in bankruptcy while trying to craft a side deal to sell the team to Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie, who wanted to relocate the team to Hamilton, Ontario. 

In 2009 in a desperate move to keep the team in Glendale, the NHL took over the team and charged Glendale $25 million a year to manage it. Bettman was Glendale’s partner, Glendale’s buddy. Again, he couldn’t say enough good things about Glendale and its willingness to work with him and to keep the team in Glendale…and Arizona.

Glendale invested $185 million in construction of the hockey arena with debt service over 30 years, the final commitment is about $325 million…cha ching.

Glendale paid the NHL $50 million over 2 years to manage the team and keep it in Glendale and Arizona…cha ching.

Glendale paid IceArizona $15 million a year to manage the arena, again to keep the team in Glendale and Arizona…cha ching.

And this is how Commissioner Bettman recognizes the city for its investment and loyalty. Pardon me…but what a crock.

Along comes Anthony LeBlanc and his merry band of Canadian investors. By the way, have the team owners ever paid back the $70 million they borrowed from the league to buy the team? LeBlanc, et.al., in a snit fit, have apparently chosen revenge against Glendale because the city council had the temerity to cancel the owner’s arena management contract and the lucrative subsidy it provided. Didn’t it bother you, Mr. Bettman, that the team couldn’t provide straightforward answers to the city regarding their finances? Didn’t it give you pause?

Glendale was golden, until now. You never wrung your hands about the Glendale arena when it was built in 2003 or when Moyes declared bankruptcy in 2009. You never wrung your hands up until now. Mr. Bettman, did the majority Canadian owners of the Coyotes threaten to leave Arizona and move to Canada? Is that the straw that caused you to send a last minute, begging letter to the Arizona legislature supporting the Coyotes’ attempt to extort money from the legislature to support construction of yet another sports venue on the backs of Arizona taxpayers? Is your desire to stay in Arizona at all costs founded on its lucrative media market and a move to Canada would eliminate that?

I’m sure the members of the Arizona legislature have wondered how the Coyotes ownership will come up with $170 million as their share of the funding that SB 1149 requires when the Coyotes admit to millions in sustained losses every year, over the last few years. Which city is willing to become the host city and pour another $55 million down what appears to be a rat hole? Certainly there is no support among Arizona’s taxpayers to shell out another $170 million in sales tax to support this scheme.

It simply flies in the face of logic to build another hockey arena in Arizona when there is already a wonderful facility built specifically for the Coyotes. The growth of the Metro Phoenix area is in the West Valley and believe me there are plenty of demographically affluent, potential fans here. Could the possibility of poor management, non-existent marketing and a lousy product on the ice be the reason for the free fall in attendance?

Shame on you, Mr. Bettman. Glendale has proven itself repeatedly to be a reliable and stalwart partner in your desire to keep the Coyotes in Arizona. Now you turn your back on the city. If that’s how you treat friends, I pity anyone on your enemies list.

© Joyce Clark, 2017               

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Disclaimer: The comments in the blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

In the February 11, 2017 edition of the Glendale Republic a Letter to the Editor from Larry Johns of Peoria proposed an interesting concept:                                                              “As an 11-year ticket holder, I certainly have experienced highs and lows.     

“The recent plan to build a new home for the Arizona Coyotes with ASU in Tempe is dead. However, CEO Anthony LeBlanc still wants to ‘secure the future of hockey in Arizona.’ He also said that the team is ‘ready to invest more than $170 million in a new arena.’ Glendale still owns nearly $150 million on the Gila River Arena.

“My suggestion: LeBlanc and the Coyotes should offer to buy the GRA for $150 million and put another $20 million into repairs and upgrades. Glendale would be free of the remaining GRA debt payments; it would still have sales tax revenue coming from the use of the arena and could focus on paying down their other sports stadium obligations or improving Glendale’s infrastructure.

“The Coyotes would be free from their acrimonious relationship with Glendale, would have control of the arena and, most importantly, would remain in Arizona. Just a thought.”

Yes, it is just a thought but an intriguing one. As long as the Coyotes remain in their self-imposed limbo weekly rumors will continue to abound. This week’s crop related to a media report on Tuesday that the team had sent representatives to check out locations in both Portland and Seattle. Geoff Baker, a reporter for the Seattle times, tweeted, “Attendees at developer/owner #KeyArena tour by city 2 weeks ago shows no #arizonacoyotes reps among non-city staff/media. Coyotes deny going.” He backed up his assertion by posting the attendees sign in sheets for the tours.

Anthony LeBlanc, Coyotes CEO, was quick to deny the current relocation rumor with this Coyotes Press Release, “Recent reports by the Glendale Star that the Coyotes ownership group has explored arena options outside the Arizona market are completely false. The Star referenced an anonymous arena source and an anonymous Coyotes source, and these are a fabrication.” He went on to say, “Maybe a little less seriously because of the publication, but because it has gone national — which is disappointing — we take this seriously, as does the league.” The magic words in his denial are as does the league.”

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has already demonstrated his commitment to keeping the team in Arizona by having the NHL manage the team for several years after Jerry Moyes declared bankruptcy of the team in 2009. The Phoenix Metropolitan media market is a highly lucrative one for the league. It’s a market the league does not want to abandon. Bettman’s other goal is to create a new franchise in the west.  I suspect after a conversation with Bettman, LeBlanc couldn’t get to the media fast enough to deny rumors of relocation.

Denying rumors of relocation by LeBlanc is needed to quiet the fan base as well. Since the purchase of the team by IceArizona, average attendance figures have dropped like the proverbial stone and the team has earned the distinction of being the second lowest in the league with an average of 12,841 for the 2016-17 season. Only the Carolina Hurricanes have a lower attendance figure of 12,204. It should also be noted that their marketing efforts this season have been minimal. How many TV ads do you remember seeing this season?

LeBlanc points to these attendance figures as the reason why the team must move

Coyotes play off game White Out

to the East Valley. I would remind everyone that when the team made the play-offs attendance figures were robust. History shows no one complained about coming to Glendale to watch a winning team performing in the play offs. It certainly has a lot to do with the product on the ice. When the product is good, people will come. It’s the same for any sports franchise. When the team is hot and fan expectations are high, people come out of the woodwork to attend and suddenly tickets become very pricey.

All of this circles back to Mr. Johns of Peoria and his thought. If the Coyotes really do have money to play with…why not buy the Gila River Arena and become masters of their own fate? They characterize Glendale as inhospitable. Why? Because the city council didn’t want to continue subsidizing the team’s operations while losing money every year? The council simply wanted to stop bleeding each and every year and work toward insuring Glendale’s financial stability. It wasn’t, as portrayed, because they disliked the Coyotes and wanted to get rid of them.  Keep in mind the city had its own problems in dealing with the ownership group which was often obstructionist, especially in sharing financial information.

If the ownership group really has $170 million dollars why wouldn’t it take the opportunity to buy the arena? Many suspect that the Coyotes really don’t have that kind of money without attracting a new crop of investors. Rumor has it that may be exactly what they are doing…seeking a new investor(s).

Can they strike a deal with Sarver? Doubtful. Can they strike a deal with the Salt River-Pima-Maricopa Indian Community? Doubtful. The painful lesson LeBlanc, et.al., are learning is that no one is willing to pay them to play…anywhere.

© Joyce Clark, 2017        

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go tohttp://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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Anthony LeBlanc

I’ve always wondered about the NHL’s Board of Governors. Who are they? Where do they meet? What do they do? And how do they do it? Their mantle is one of secrecy. Google and you may, or may not, be able to come up with a list of all of the members. I did just that and pieced together a list of current Governors and Alternates. I offer my list at the end of this article. If I have erred, I hope readers will advise me so that I can correct the list.

Recently, I reached out to Rich Nairn, VP of Communications, with my questions. He arranged an opportunity to visit with Anthony LeBlanc, one of the Arizona Coyotes Alternates to the Board of Governors. I want to thank Mr. LeBlanc for graciously giving of his time amid a very busy schedule and patiently answering my questions. It was a good discussion and I learned a great deal.

There are 30 NHL teams. All have different ownership situations and the Arizona Coyotes are no different. In the Coyotes case they have 9 owners.  Who is the team’s Governor or Alternates on the Board of Governors? How were they chosen? There was never a formal vote by the team’s owners. George Gosbee is the largest equity partner and was charged with securing the rest of the equity partners and it was generally understood and accepted by all that he would be Governor. There are three alternates. They are Anthony LeBlanc, Craig Stewart, and Don Maloney. All have essential roles with the team. Again, there was no formal vote by the Board of Directors. These men assumed their positions because of the responsibilities they bear.

The Board of Governors meets three times a year. They typically meet in New York City in September; in Pebble Beach, California (or some other warm clime) in December; and in New York City again in June. If every team’s full compliment were to attend the same meeting there would be 123 Governors and Alternates representing the 30 teams. Some teams have as few as a Governor and 1 alternate but many have a Governor and 4 or 5 Alternates.

Since August of 2013 when the team was acquired by IceArizona, Gosbee as Coyotes Governor and two of the three Alternates, LeBlanc and Stuart, have attended the September 2013 meeting, the December 2013 meeting, and the June 2014 meeting. Due to the demands of his schedule Don Maloney attended one meeting. I asked LeBlanc if there were ever any emergency meetings of the Board of Governors. He said they do occur from time to time and used the example of the Board’s ratification of the purchase of the Coyotes by IceArizona. Since he has been attending board meetings no such special or emergency meeting has been necessary.

I also asked if any members of the Coyotes salaried management team attended in order to staff the Governor and Alternates. The answer was “no.” I asked if family members were usually taken on these trips. The answer again was “no.” Do the players’ union representatives or referees’ union representatives ever attend? Mr. LeBlanc indicated that he had not seen that, but that did not mean it didn’t happen. No one participates telephonically. If a Governor cannot attend, the team’s Alternates are charged with representing the team’s interests.

So how do these meetings work? They usually last one day in New York City and two days in a warmer location like Pebble Beach. These meetings are for the purpose of determining policy for the league. The meetings are formal with a written agenda. The agenda is prepared and distributed several weeks in advance giving each Governor and the team’s Board of Directors time to prepare. In the case of the Coyotes their Board of Director meetings are quarterly and usually occur just before the Board of Governors meeting. That gives the owners time to discuss the items on the agenda and to come to consensus on the position they want their Governor to take. As a side note, LeBlanc shared that he has informal, telephonic Coyotes Board of Directors meetings every Friday morning with as many owners participating as are available.

The Board of Governors meetings have become formal due to Bettman’s leadership. The NHL administrative staff or others make presentations and/or reports on agenda items. There can, and often is, discussion by the owners after each presentation. Robert’s Rules of Order are followed with recognition of each speaker. Each agenda item is decided by a roll call vote. Minutes are taken and distributed to each of the Governors. The meeting agendas are created by Gary Bettman, NHL Commissioner, and his staff. Bettman was the very first NHL Commissioner and has been at the helm since 1993, a period of 21 years. Bettman does not have a vote but as NHL Commissioner he often controls the flow of the meeting and requires that all Governors and Alternates defer to him with regard to press releases about any and all important decisions that flow from a Governors’ meeting. All of the Board of Governors meetings’ content remains confidential unless a public policy statement issued.

I asked Anthony if there are any opportunities for the Governors and Alternates to socialize with one another at these meetings. In the days before the Gary Bettman era the meetings had the flavor of a good ole boys meeting. Today social opportunities arise at luncheons or dinners. Breaking bread together gives the Governors and Alternates time to talk shop, share stories about their teams and renew acquaintances. It also can provide an opportunity for a Governor to gather support (or opposition) on an agenda item.

The Governors meetings are similar to what is experienced at any Executive Session of a corporate Board of Directors meeting or city council meeting. All contain the same elements; formal agendas, presentations, discussion and vote on policy items with confidentiality required. Socializations occur outside the meeting room.

Again, I want to express my thanks to Anthony LeBlanc for allowing me to take a peek into the world of the NHL’s Board of Governors meetings. He provided a rare glimpse into a world we hear very little about.

The National Hockey League Board of Governors

Chairman of the Board: Jeremy M. Jacobs

  • Anaheim Ducks
  • Governor:                         Henry Samueli
  • Alternate Governor:        Susan Samueli
  • Alternate Governor:        Michael Schulman
  • Alternate Governor:        Tim Ryan
  • Alternate Governor:        Bob Murray
  • Boston Bruins
  • Governor:                        Jeremy M. Jacobs
  • Alternate Governor:       Charles Jacobs
  • Alternate Governor:       Jeremy M. Jacobs Jr.
  • Alternate Governor:       Louis Jacobs
  • Alternate Governor:       Jarry J. Sinden
  • Alternate Governor:       Cam Neely
  • Alternate Governor:       Peter Chiarelli
  •  
  • Buffalo Sabres
  • Governor:                        Terry Pegula
  • Alternate Governor:        TedBlack
  • Alternate Governor:        Darcy Regier
  • Alternate Governor:        Ken Sawyer
  • Alternate Governor:        Cliff Benson
  •  
  • Calgary Flames
  • Governor:                         N. Murray Edwards
  • Alternate Governor:        Ken King
  • Alternate Governor:        Alvin Libin
  •  
  • Carolina Hurricanes
  • Governor:                         Peter Karmanos, Jr.
  • Alternate Governor:        Jim Rutherford
  • Alternate Governor:        Michael Amendola
  • Alternate Governor:        Jason Karmanos
  • Alternate Governor:        Ron Francis
  •  
  • Chicago Blackhawks
  • Governor:                         W. Rockwell Wirtz.
  • Alternate Governor:        Robert J. Pulford
  • Alternate Governor:        John A. Ziegler, Jr.
  • Alternate Governor:        John McDonough
  •  
  • Colorado Avalanche
  • Governor:                         Josh Kronenke.
  • Alternate Governor:        Mark Waggoner
  • Alternate Governor:        Greg Sherman
  • Alternate Governor:        Joe Sakic
  •  
  • Columbus Blue Jackets
  • Governor:                         John P. McConnell
  • Alternate Governor:        Mark Priest
  • Alternate Governor:        John Davidson
  •  
  • Dallas Stars
  • Governor:                         Tom Gaglandi
  • Alternate Governor:        Jim Lites
  • Alternate Governor:        Jim Nill
  • Alternate Governor:        Mike Modeno
  •  
  • Detroit Red Wings
  • Governor:                        Michael Ilitch
  • Alternate Governor:       Jim Devellano
  • Alternate Governor:       Ken Holland.
  • Alternate Governor:       Cristopher Ilitch
  • Alternate Governor:       Rob Carr
  • Alternate Governor:       Tom Wilson
  •  
  • Edmonton Oilers
  • Governor:                        Daryl Katz
  • Alternate Governor:       Patrick LaForge
  • Alternate Governor:       Kevin Lowe
  •  
  • Florida Panthers
  • Governor:                        Cliff Viner
  • Alternate Governor:       Bill Torrey
  • Alternate Governor:       Michael Yormark
  •  
  • Los Angeles Kings
  • Governor:                        Philip F. Anschutz
  • Alternate Governor:       Dean Lombardi
  • Alternate Governor:       Dan Beckerman
  •  
  • Minnesota Wild
  • Governor:                         Craig Leopold
  • Alternate Governor:        Philip Falcone
  • Alternate Governor:        Jac Sperling
  • Alternate Governor:        Chuck Fletcher
  •  
  • Montreal Canadiens
  • Governor:                        Geoff Molson
  • Alternate Governor:       Kevin Gilmore
  • Alternate Governor:       Fred Steer
  • Alternate Governor:       Michael Andlauer
  • Alternate Governor:       Andrew T. Molson
  • Alternate Governor:       Marc Bergevin
  •  
  • Nashville Predators
  • Governor:                        Tom Cigarran
  • Alternate Governor:       Herbert Fritch
  • Alternate Governor:       David Pole
  • Alternate Governor:       Jeff Cogen
  • Alternate Governor:       Sean Henry
  • Alternate Governor:       Joel Dobberpuhl
  •  
  • New Jersey Devils
  • Governor:                         Joshua Harris
  • Alternate Governor:        David Biltzer
  • Alternate Governor:        Lou Lamoriello
  • Alternate Governor:        Scott O’Neil
  •  
  • New York Islanders
  • Governor:                        Charles Wang
  • Alternate Governor:       Roy Reichbach
  • Alternate Governor:       Arthur J. McCarthy
  • Alternate Governor:       Michael J. Picker
  • Alternate Governor:       Garth Snow
  •   
  • New York Rangers
  • Governor:                         James L. Dolan
  • Alternate Governor:        Glen Sather
  • Alternate Governor:        Hank Ratner
  • Alternate Governor:        Dave Howard
  •  
  • Ottawa Senators
  • Governor:                        Eugene Melnyk
  • Alternate Governor:       Sheldon Plener
  • Alternate Governor:       Cyril Leeder
  • Alternate Governor:       Erin Crowe
  • Alternate Governor:       Bryan Murray
  •  
  • Philadelphia Flyers
  • Governor:                         Edward M. Snider
  • Alternate Governor:        Philip I. Weinberg
  • Alternate Governor:        Peter Luukko
  • Alternate Governor:        Paul Holmgren
  •  
  • Arizona Coyotes
  • Governor:                         George Gosbee
  • Alternate Governor:        Don Maloney
  • Alternate Governor:        Anthony LeBlanc
  • Alternate Governor:        Craig Stewart
  •  
  • Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Governor:                        David Morehouse
  • Alternate Governor:       Ronald Burkle
  • Alternate Governor:       Anthony Liberati
  • Alternate Governor:       Ray Shero
  • Alternate Governor:       Travis Williams
  • Alternate Governor:       Mario Lemieux
  •  
  • St. Louis Blues
  • Governor:                         Thomas Stillman
  • Alternate Governor:        Doug Armstrong
  •  
  • San Jose Sharks
  • Governor:                         Hasso Plattner
  • Alternate Governor:        Doug Wilson
  • Alternate Governor:        John Tortora
  •   
  • Tampa Bay Lightning
  • Governor:                         Jeff Virik
  • Alternate Governor:        Steve Yzerman
  • Alternate Governor:        Tod Leiweke
  •   
  • Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Governor:                         Larry Yanenbaum
  • Alternate Governor:        Dale Lastman
  • Alternate Governor:        Dave Norris
  • Alternate Governor:        Tim Leiweke
  •  
  • Vancouver Canucks
  • Governor:                         Francesco Aquilini
  • Alternate Governor:        Paolo Aquilini
  • Alternate Governor:        Robert Aquilini
  • Alternate Governor:        Michael Gillis
  • Alternate Governor:        Victor de Boris
  •   
  • Washington Capitals
  • Governor:                         Ted Leonsis
  • Alternate Governor:        Richard M. Patrick
  • Alternate Governor:        George McPhee
  •   
  • Winnipeg Jets
  • Governor:                         Mark Chipman
  • Alternate Governor:        Kevin Cheveldayoff
  • Alternate Governor:        Patrick Phillips

© Joyce Clark, 2014 FAIR USE NOTICE This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Coalition 1 photo

Glendale City Council
(Alvarez absent)

Lately there has been a rash of media stories about the Attorney General’s office receiving complaints about the now infamous meeting between NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy NHL Commissioner Bill Daly, Renaissance Sports and Entertainment (RSE) principals and Glendale City Councilmembers on May 28, 2013. Immediately following that event I posted about the now famous concept of a “walk around.” The media picked up on it followed by official complaints. Of course we see the fine hand of Councilmember Alvarez aided and abetted by Reverend Maupin in this blame game.

The “walk around” has been a procedure whereby an applicant/ developer of a land parcel met with one, two or three councilmembers at a time. The planned project was explained and the councilmember(s) offered commentary. Usually the applicant was not in the final stages of a project and wanted feedback prior to developing a final proposal.  It was also used by staff to brief councilmembers on a variety of items. In either case the staff person or applicant was seeking further refinements or clarification from councilmembers on a project or item before proceeding.

The first question to ask about the May 28 2013 meeting was why didn’t the city call for an executive session? Did it not have enough time (24 hours) to post such a meeting? Who knows? In hindsight an executive session would have been far more preferable as this contract and its deal points was Hot Topic #1 in Glendale and across the Valley. All of the councilmembers would have heard exactly the same information about the RSE deal at the same time. All would have had an opportunity to comment.

As for this particular “walk around” being no more than a “meet and greet” opportunity it would have been essentially unproductive and a waste of time. Mayor Weiers, at one point, told the media that only the broad outlines of the deal were offered—in other words, generalities, not specifics. Even if that were the case, it stretches incredulity to believe that there was no reaction to the generalities from councilmembers. Now Interim City Attorney DiPiazza is tasked with defending poor judgment. Do you think anyone is going to admit to having deal point discussions? Not on your life if it can lead to fines or even removal from office.

Neither side will be unscathed in this latest debacle. There have also been complaints lodged with the AG’s office against Councilmembers Alvarez and Hugh for violating executive session by discussing the Beacon bids publicly at the July 2nd council meeting. What I find fascinating is that Ken Jones, an avid Alvarez cabal member, leaves council chambers BEFORE either Alvarez or Hugh speaks about the Beacon bids and reveals information about several of the bids to the media. How could he have possibly have had that information unless someone who attended the executive session where it was discussed gave it to him?

The old crystal ball says the complaint against the entire council (sans Alvarez who refused to be in the same room with hockey people) will go nowhere. Unless someone is willing to ‘fess up there will be no substantiating proof for the complaint. On the other hand, council meetings are taped and one can go to the city website and view the July 2, 2013 meeting in question and see Ken Jones leave prior to Alvarez’ and Hugh’s comments about the Beacon bids. There, on video, for all to see is the proof required. How it is interpreted by the AG’s office will surely determine their fate.

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jobing.com arena

Jobing.com Arena

Well, well,well…Glendale has offered a crumb to its residents by making public the names of the four bidders that responded to the Beacon Sports RFP (at a cost of $100,000) for management of its arena, Jobing.com. More to come about the bidding process in a future blog.

The contenders are: Phoenix Monarch Group, R Entertainment, SMG World and Phoenix Arena Development. Have you noticed who is missing? We see none of the expected and well known players in either the arena management industry or the entertainment venue industry – Global Spectrum, AEG and IFG. I suspect that when they learned that as part of the bid Glendale was seeking their investment (counts for 10% of bidding score) they probably said thanks, but no thanks.

Let’s look at the bidders. First up is R Entertainment. It is a privately held company registered with the Arizona Corporation Commission in August, 2006. It is located in Scottsdale with 1-10 employees. Its Statutory Agent is Kerry Dunne and according to the media, a partner. It manages one venue, the Pepsi Amphitheater at Fort Tuthill County Park near Flagstaff. By the way, the seating capacity of the Amphitheater is 2,750, not quite a 17,000 seat arena. I congratulate them for submitting a bid but I fear they are way out of their league (no pun intended). Investment counts for 10% of the bid score and this company is too small to make a major investment in Glendale’s arena. Experience is another 15% of the bid score and the company’s management experience with the Pepsi Amphitheater does not meet managing a similar sports facility. Personnel accounts for another 10% of the score. The current management staff of the arena numbers about 135, full time and part time. With a staff of 1-10 people R Entertainment is simply too small to manage a venue of this size. This company’s bid could lose about 35% of available points according to the bid criteria. Quite frankly, it should have been rejected as not meeting the basic criteria of the bid.

Next up is SMG World whose headquarters are located in Philadelphia, PA. It is a world-wide event and venue management company established in 1977. It has the personnel and experience to manage Jobing.com arena and advertises on its website http://smgworld.com that it has managed 230 facilities. So it certainly is a viable contender. One problematical concern revolves around an old saying that you are judged by the company you keep. SMG has a relationship with the Bidwill subsidiary, Rojo Event Management. Yes, the same Rojo that submitted a bid to the city to manage its Youth Sports fields adjacent to the stadium. Rojo’s bid for management is greater than the current Global Spectrum contract and offers way less revenue to the city. This is the Youth Sports field bid the city should reject unless it likes being taken to the cleaners once again.

Another bidder has indeed risen like the mythical Phoenix Bird and that is the Phoenix Monarch Group (PMG). It was registered with the Arizona Corporation Commission in August of 2012 and its managing member is Arturo Jimenez. In the one telephone conversation I had with Mr. Jimenez (at Councilmember Lieberman’s request) he indicated that an Alvarez (don’t remember the first name) and Tony Herrera were part of his group (more about them in a minute). This group should sound familiar to you. It the group that Councilmember Alvarez brokered a meeting for with former Mayor Scruggs and former Councilmember Lieberman. At that time they were asking for about $7M to host 25 events. Their experience is problematical. They ran an event for the Hispanic Fire Fighters Association (HFFA) which ended with HFFA paying vendors because PMG did not. The only other event (that they classify as ‘major.’ I do not) PMG hosted was a Hispanic Festival for a Peoria Councilmember. PMG easily loses 35% of bid points for lack of experience, personnel and investment. But once again the specter of relationships is troubling. I do not know if the Alvarez Mr. Jimenez referred to is a distant, or otherwise, relative of Councilmember Alvarez. Mr. Herrera, another PMG participant, has a close relationship with Councilmember Chavira with both listed as managing members of two companies, Cool Heads,LLC. and the McCoy Group, LLC. At least in terms of public perception, if no other, Councilmembers Alvarez and Chavira should recluse themselves due to a conflict of interest. They have no business advocating for or participating in discussions and votes on choosing a Beacon bidder to manage the arena.

Last up is Phoenix Arena Development Limited Partnership. It is headquartered in Phoenix but according to the Arizona Corporation Commission it is a foreign limited partnership. It is a privately held company and owned by the Phoenix Suns Limited Partnership. The general partner of the Phoenix Suns Limited Partnership is JDM Sports, Inc. and as of 1992 Jerry Colangelo was its president. This company was created for one purpose only and that is to manage the Suns basketball team’s venue. It crafted a sweet deal for itself with the City of Phoenix. Reminds me of the Ellman deal, Coyotes and Jobing.com Arena. It has experience in managing one venue exclusively and somehow or another; I don’t think they will be making an investment in Glendale’s arena. More likely is that, if chosen, Glendale will end up making a hefty payment to this company.

So there you have it – the four bidders that Glendale taxpayers spent $100,000 to find. Pick your poison. It’s the height of chutzpah for Beacon to even present R Entertainment or the Phoenix Monarch Group as viable bidders to the council. Clearly neither one is qualified by experience alone, to manage Jobing.com. Left standing is SMG World with ties to the Bidwills or Phoenix Arena Development with ties to Colangelo. To date, we have not seen the details of any of these bids and have no clue as to the management fee any of these groups is requesting.

Coyotes logoKeep in mind that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said the Beacon process was “silly” and it is. The same, major issue is before this council just as it was before the former council and that is, if you choose to keep the Coyotes in Glendale, Westgate viable and save the city’s third major economic area, you must pay the freight and use the team owner as the arena’s manager. The only issue for Glendale is what can it afford to pay to make that happen and will it be enough to keep the Coyotes long-term?

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Below is a verbatim transcript of the Bettman press conference. I prefer to personally hear what is being said about important issues and to make my own verbatim transcript for reference. I did this often when I was on city council and made verbatim transcripts of the former mayor’s remarks as well as staffers and other councilmembers.

It begins with the end of Commissioner Bettman’s opening remarks. I have only transcribed those portions of the press conference relevant to the Coyotes issue but I have inserted time markers for unrelated reporters’ questions. The video is posted on many sites. I pulled it from the Coyotes team website.

Bettman

NHL Commissioner
Gary Bettman

Gary Bettman (GB): “Phoenix. No doubt we’ll get a question. Obviously, we’re getting to the point where some decisions are going to have to be made both by the City of Glendale and by us. I haven’t set a deadline but time is getting shorter. We’re looking forward to realignment for next season. We’re looking forward to the future. But as we look back on this season and take a deep breath before we look ahead to the Stanley Cup Final and then to next season, we find ourselves in a good, strong place. And we’re grateful to be there. And we’re grateful to be here with all of you. So, we’ll take your questions.”

4:55 Reporter question 1 (RQ 1):  What preparations for stormy weather in Chicago?

6:20 RQ 2: Why is Olympic process dragging on so long?

7:52 RQ 3: Question about realignment, names of conferences, etc.

RQ 4: “Bill, you mentioned that Phoenix somewhat impacts the schedule being released. Does that mean or suggest the team won’t be playing there next year?”

Daly

Deputy NHL Commissioner
Bill Daly

Bill Daly (BD): Yes. It’s certainly possible the team won’t play there next year. Look at the short strokes in Phoenix now. The ownership group we’ve negotiated a deal with has been negotiating with the City of Glendale. I think everybody knows kinda what’s on the table. I think the puck is pretty much in the City of Glendale’s end with respect to how they want to deal with that.”

RQ 5: “Just to go a little further on Phoenix. Time is short. How much time do you have left? Why not have a deadline at some point?”

GB: “No reason to. It’s been a complicated process. In our minds understand that we’re dealing with a time frame. But a specific day isn’t going to do it but time is getting short and as Bill said, this is really going to be a decision that the City of Glendale is going to have to make.”

9:27 RQ 6: Stanley Cup questions

RQ 7: “Bill or Gary, I’m sure you have a Plan B or even a Plan C for Phoenix. But if they’re not playing in Phoenix next year will Quebec City, might be a Plan B or Plan C for the league?”

GB: We’re still focused on making it work with the Coyotes staying in Arizona. I don’t wanna begin a process, particularly publicly, with, where there’s gonna be a lot of speculation where the team might go, if it moved because all that would do would be to unfairly raise expectation in places and I don’t want to do that to fans in these communities. So we’re just going to leave it that we’re still focused on the Coyotes in Arizona.”

10:52 RQ 8: how were revenue earnings in a shortened season?

11:21 RQ 9: officiating during the play offs

13:38 RQ 10: Original 6 final game?

14:42 RQ 11: despite loss of 42% of season is NHL impenetrable?

16:53 RQ 12: low scoring in playoff games

RQ 13: “Does the Phoenix issue affect realignment at all especially if they have to move somewhere?”

GB: “Since one’s hope is that they’re going to stay where they are it shouldn’t and if the team is forced to relocate then we’ll have a look at it and make a decision as to whether or not it is impacted.”

18:19 RQ 14: concessions

19:51 RQ 15: after lockout will there be better revenues in the future?

RQ 16: “Two questions on Phoenix that perhaps Bill could answer. If we understand that you’ve got an ownership in place who will only take control of the team once the city council of Glendale strikes a deal, it seems that we’re working off a timeline that is controlled by the city council of Glendale. Is that correct?”

GB: “No. I’ll answer the question. The answer is no. At some point we’re going to have to make a decision.”

BD: “In other words, delay could be a no decision. Or no decision could be a decision in this case. So they understand. There’s no misunderstanding with respect to when our time table is vis a vis the city of Glendale. They know what our decision time line is and what are the decisions we have to make. There’s no misunderstanding on the parties.”

RQ 17: “You’ve spoken of keeping the team there and relocation. Does a third option of having the franchise in hiatus exist?”

GB: “There are a myriad of options and we’re not prepared to engage in speculation as to what the optionality (sic) is. The focus, at least for the time being, remains on having the Coyotes in Arizona. Obviously, we’ll have lots of choices, options and decisions and at the time, if we get to that point, and hopefully we won’t, then we’ll focus on which one is the best.”

21:40 RQ 18:  has a series with two of original 6 teams been achieved?

22:44 RQ 19: results of investigation into deaths of 2 NHL players

RQ 20: “Do you need a decision on Phoenix by the Board of Governors’ meeting on June 27th?”

GB: “Maybe. Are you trying to get me to set a deadline?”

RQ 21: “I’m just curious.”

GB: Listen. There’s a Board of Governors meeting on the 27th. There’s a city council meeting on June 28th.”

BD: “June 25th.”

GB: “I’m sorry. June 25th. Stuff’s gonna happen.”

24:10 RQ 22: world cup hockey

RQ 23: “Gary, question #15 on the Coyotes, if I may. You mentioned that you don’t want to make expectations in other places. Are there that many markets out there available that you could turn around and go to?”

GB: “There are a number of markets that have been expressing an interest to us over the years and the phone keeps ringing more regularly the longer that the Coyotes situation stays unresolved and based on the dates we just happened to talk about with the previous question, it’s causing the phone to ring even more.”

26:01 RQ 24: will acrimony of lockout be present and will GB present Stanley Cup?

26:28 RQ 25: will players participate in future world championship?

RQ 26: “If the phone is ringing about interest from other markets why is Phoenix still the best option for the NHL and can the franchise not just survive but thrive with new ownership?”

nealy

Mike Nealy

Maloney

Don Maloney

GB: “That’s a great question. So let me answer it in two parts. The first is, we try to avoid franchise relocation. We try to do everything possible. We don’t think it’s fair to fans and we don’t think it’s fair unless you have to move, to do it to communities that build you buildings. And so we’re not going to get involved in a bake-off where we’re gonna say, you know, we’d rather be here than there. We’re gonna try to preserve what’s in place. That’s what we’ve always done even when it’s resulted previously in franchise relocation. That only happens when we’ve exhausted all possibilities. We’ve now operated this club for about three years indirectly. We’ve had ownership of it. We’ve had great support by the people on the ground doing there. Mike Nealy and Donny Maloney in particular, have done a particularly strong job. We actually believe that if you gave the community an owner, not the league, who said, I’m committed to being here, this franchise could actively be successful from a business standpoint. We’ve seen what the fan base will do with all the uncertainty. We understand the dynamics from the business community and the broadcasters and the media and the people who buy suites and naming rights and all that stuff. If there was certainty surrounding this franchise its fortunes would improve dramatically and immediately just by virtue of putting in a real owner.”

BD: “No matter how this plays out I don’t think anybody can accuse us of a kind of grass is greener type approach to this. We’ve been committed to this market. We’ve done everything humanly possible to make this franchise work in this market. And now’s the time we’re gonna find out if that works.”

Glendale City Council

Glendale City Council

GB: “And again, when the obligation that we take so seriously, it starts with the fans and the community but for those of you who have been to the arena in Glendale, you know, I worry about what’s gonna happen to the arena if the team isn’t there. I think it’s likely to get boarded up because they’re not gonna have enough events to sustain it. I worry about what happens to Westgate and all the businesses and people who are employed there. I worry about the impact it may have on the football stadium, having a situation on its front steps that may not be ideal anymore and so we’re taking, we’ve taken all of those things into account over the last three years as we’ve tried to make it work. That’s why ultimately it’s up to the City of Glendale to make the decision that they think is in the best interest of their constituents and whatever they decide, we’ll abide by but ultimately whether or not this team stays at this point is their call.”

END OF PRESS CONFERENCE

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