- Scott Burnside, NHL
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The Phoenix Coyotes have another interested buyer, sources told ESPN.com.
Matthew Hulsizer, CEO of PEAK6 Investments, is in the final stages of negotiating a new arena lease agreement with the city of Glendale, after which Hulsizer is expected to make an offer to purchase the Coyotes from the NHL, multiple sources have confirmed to ESPN.com.
The emergence of the Chicago-based financier and former collegiate hockey player comes at a time when negotiations between Ice Edge Holdings, a group of Canadian and American investors who have been pursuing the team for more than a year, and Glendale officials have stalled.
Although Hulsizer could not be reached for comment, sources familiar with the businessman and situation in Phoenix believe he may be the answer to the NHL's search for a viable owner.
In fact, a number of sources said he represents the last, best chance to keep the team in Arizona.
"He has an unbelievable financial mind," one source who has known Hulsizer for years told ESPN.com. "He's exactly the kind of guy that the league needs. He's a legitimate hockey guy with a lot of money."
Another source familiar with the situation in Arizona said: "He dwarfs [Jerry] Reinsdorf when it comes to personal net worth. He's the real deal."
Reinsdorf, owner of the Chicago White Sox and the Chicago Bulls, was in the running to buy the team, but the city refused to meet his demands on a new lease agreement.
It's unknown what role the Ice Edge Group will play as negotiations between Hulsizer and Glendale proceed. But there is a likelihood some members of the Ice Edge group will stay on as minority investors and/or in some sort of operations role if Hulsizer is successful in purchasing the team.
Ice Edge also could move on to invest in another NHL franchise.
When Glendale moved to freeze Ice Edge out of the ownership process last spring in favor of Reinsdorf, NHL officials brokered meetings between Ice Edge officials and team officials in Nashville and Atlanta. Both franchises are looking to add investors.
"An announcement could happen soon [in Arizona]. If this occurs, we expect to continue to be involved with the Coyotes as an adviser for the foreseeable future," Ice Edge president Keith McCullough said in a statement Monday.
Scott Burnside is an NHL reporter for ESPN.com