The Arizona Coyotes Were on Double-Secret Probation

Published on 12-Jun-2015 by Alan Adamsson

NHL    NHL Daily Update

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The Arizona Coyotes Were on Double-Secret Probation

It's a concept in these uncertain times.

Actually honoring a signed contract.

Looks like that'll be something Glendale's public officials will only do if the courts force them into it.

And if it ever gets that far, the courts will.

Seems like whomever the council retained to crunch numbers could've used some guidance when the 15-year lease was signed.


Because, frankly, they gave away the store.

Really, venture capitalists wouldn't have given the new Coyote ownership the deal the council gave them, including:

  • A $15million annual contract to manage Gila River Arena, 250% more than other companies proposed, although they couldn't guarantee NHL hockey;
  • An out clause that lets the team bolt after five years once their financial bath reaches $50million; there were zero projections -- barring a mass migration of Canadians to the Phoenix area -- where that result wouldn't be inevitable.

So it's no wonder they're looking for a way to renegotiate that deal. Who knew they'd try the Faber College maneuver?

In Glendale, the toe that foot is looking to stub is the city's former legal counsel, Greg Tindall. Long story short:

  • The fine print in Arizona law says a government contract can be voided if a party switches sides; but
  • Tindall was not a principal factor in the city's deal with IceArizona, the Coyotes' new ownership group; so
  • Virtually every legal mind outside of the Islamic State finds this double-secret probation beyond laughable.

IceArizona's top dude, Anthony LeBlanc, parried with the basic Delta House response:


IceArizona getting a Temporary Restraining Order to put the council's action on hold was a no-brainer. Their threatened lawsuit for $200million in damages was predictable saber-rattling. The Phoenix mayor's overtures to return the team back downtown was political grandstanding.

In all, it should make for a fairly bemusing off-season in the Valley of the Sun, except maybe for the team's efforts to land free agents and for the put-upon fans:

Here's the hell of it: the hockey infrastructure in Arizona is actually growing. Youth hockey is competitive there. Both Arizona and Arizona State's club teams -- ie- no athletic scholarships -- outdraw their baseball teams when they meet. And now, the Sun Devils have announced they're going Division 1; odds are the Wildcats will find a way to follow.

Obviously, Glendale is panicking, seeing the proverbial glass as half-empty. It wants to cut its losses before, as it fears, the Coyotes cut theirs. Perhaps it felt its vote to void would produce bargaining leverage. Instead, it's revealed further weakness in its position.

As they're discovering, weakness of will leads to bad decisions.