In a closed-door meeting on Friday, Ice Edge Holdings entered into a memorandum of understanding with the city of Glendale. The memorandum that was agreed upon was then placed on the council's agenda to be officially voted on during a regularly scheduled city meeting on Tuesday. The memorandum of understanding gives the Ice Edge group exclusivity for 60 days in negotiating a lease agreement to keep the Coyotes playing at their home at the Jobing.com arena.
Ice Edge is a group comprised of American and Canadian investors who seek to buy the Coyotes from the NHL and keep the team in Arizona.
The memorandum of understanding between the two is an important development when all hope had seemingly been lost between the groups. In the past, the two had been unable to agree on certain sticking points at the bargaining table. That seems to have passed and progress is being made under the gun.
The fateful day for Ice Edge will now come on Tuesday at the Glendale City Council meeting. To be given exclusivity in negotiations moving forward, the group must show that they are financially capable of buying the team from the NHL. Because the memorandum was agreed upon on Friday by the city and the group, it is unlikely that Ice Edge will be deemed unworthy of exclusive rights to negotiate.
If all goes according to plan, Ice Edge will emerge as the only viable candidate to salvage the team's financially-strapped situation.
The only way a deal between the two – the city of Glendale and Ice Edge – can be nullified is if another investor comes along with the $25 million dollar deposit the city needs to pay the NHL to operate the arena for next season. Another suitor coming into the mix at this point seems very unlikely, however. It is Ice Edge's deal to lose now.
If all goes well on Tuesday, as expected, it is anticipated that Ice Edge will be able to work out a new lease within the next 60 days. It would then be up to the NHL to sign off on the memorandum and then decide if the group is financially suitable to buy the team and go through with an official purchase.
The agreed upon memorandum also states that a sale of the team would need to be completed as soon as possible. The arena is currently operated by the city of Glendale, while the NHL owns the Coyote franchise. Ice Edge also seeks to change the name from the Phoenix Coyotes to the Arizona Coyotes.
In May, the NHL imposed a deadline of December 31 for a local buyer to come forward in a financially sound agreement to purchase the team. If no deal with a local group comes to fruition by then, the league would then look outside the Phoenix market for a buyer.