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Coyotes were close to moving from Phoenix to Seattle: report

10/08/2014 04:46 EDT | Updated 12/08/2014 05:59 EST
It’s been a week since we heard the Arizona Coyotes are close to selling the controlling share of the team, so there must be an update of some sort, right?

Well, yes there is, only it has nothing to do with proposed owner Andrew Barroway, a Philadelphia-based hedge-fund investor.

Earlier this week, the Seattle Times cited three sources with knowledge of negotiations that confirmed the NHL team would have been purchased by New York investment banker Ray Bartoszek and his partner Anthony Lanza and moved to Seattle if Glendale (Ariz.) City Council voted down a lease deal in July 2013.

Instead, council voted by a 4-3 margin to approve the deal with present owners IceArizona, under the Renaissance Sports and Entertainment umbrella. The agreement is for $225 million over 15 years and allows IceArizona to terminate the lease at the renamed Gila River Arena should it lose $50 million in the first five years.

The New York Post recently pegged the Coyotes’ loss for last season at $25 million.

“Most people don’t realize how close we were to actually getting an NHL team,” former Seattle mayor Mike McGinn, who was involved in the relocation talks, told the Times newspaper recently.

The Seattle group literally had moving trucks standing by to relocate the Coyotes and KeyArena was holding dates for last season.

The NHL, which paid $140 million to get the Coyotes out of bankruptcy in 2009, sold the team last August to a group of investors led by Canadian businessmen George Gosbee and Anthony LeBlanc, who have since rebranded the Coyotes by changing the name from Phoenix and giving a new look to game jerseys.

Barroway would purchase 51 per cent of the Arizona club based on a recent $305 million valuation of the franchise.

But there’s a chance that his deal, which is expected to be finalized by the end of October, either won’t happen or could be delayed.

This past July, Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers asked the state attorney general to investigate a July 2013 council meeting, believing it violated Arizona’s Open Meeting Law and revealed key information to the Coyotes about the city’s negotiating position.

The Open Meeting Law can rescind actions of elected officials, which could potentially void Glendale’s deal with the Coyotes.

The aforementioned meeting, which occurred days before the Coyotes lease deal vote, apparently wasn’t disclosed, which is violation of state law.

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