Ice Edge talks with Glendale collapse

Updated: May 11, 2010, 12:58 AM ET
By Pierre LeBrun and Scott Burnside | ESPN.com

Negotiations between the City of Glendale and Ice Edge Holdings fell apart Monday night, leaving the Phoenix Coyotes no closer to finding a new owner.

"Talks have broken down," Ice Edge member Daryl Jones told ESPN.com via email Monday night. "We will not move forward with Glendale at this time."

The City of Glendale had until Monday morning to produce a letter of exclusivity for Ice Edge, but that did not materialize. The Ice Edge group wants exclusivity in its arena lease talks with the City of Glendale, not wanting Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf to come into the picture again. Without that exclusivity, the Ice Edge group does not want to proceed any further.

Reinsdorf's own bid to buy the Coyotes skidded off the rails last week.

"We were adamant about needing exclusivity in these negotiations and they haven't provided it," Jones told the newspaper. "I'm not totally surprised. We've been dealing with this for a while. We thought we had agreed to certain things and expected them in writing. That didn't materialize."

In the meantime, the Glendale City Council is scheduled to meet Tuesday night in what is a potentially huge moment in the NHL team's struggle to stay in Phoenix. At stake is a resolution which would see Glendale cover any operating losses the NHL incurs moving forward as the city tries to negotiate with potential new owners, a process that could easily drag out all summer long. The NHL has operated the team for more than a year now and no longer wants to lose money on the team.

"The NHL has expressed its intention to keep the team in Glendale," Tuesday's agenda item reads, "but has established deadlines and imposed requirements that require certain immediate financial commitments and assurances" by the city.

The item says the money would not come from the city coffers but from arena operations and the special taxing district that is to be established as part of the sale of the team and the new lease agreement.

Glendale faces the prospect of giving the NHL what it wants or finding itself with an empty arena the city built specifically for the Coyotes.

If the City of Glendale votes not to accept that condition from the NHL, then the team could be re-located within weeks, with Winnipeg the front-runner to take back the NHL club 15 years after the Jets moved to Arizona although Kansas City and Quebec City would also be considered candidates.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly declined comment via email Monday night.

The Coyotes are coming off a surprising season in which, despite all the ownership turmoil, the team set franchise records for wins and points. They were eliminated by the Detroit Red Wings in seven games in the first round of the playoffs. Some sort of certainty in ownership is needed as the free agency period approaches. Several Phoenix players have contracts that are expiring.

Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun cover the NHL for ESPN.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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