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May 25, 2013 | 2:12am ET [Updated: 9:28am ET]
New owners in place, next steps must occur
TheFourthPeriod.com

The Phoenix Coyotes are on the verge of being sold to a group intent on keeping the team in the City of Glendale, a source told TFP late Friday evening.

Negotiations have been ongoing for months, with many believing a deal was near in March.

The group is headed by Calgary native George Gosbee, who is the head of Alberta-based investment bank AltaCorp, and Ottawa resident Anthony LeBlanc, whose group, Ice Edge Holdings, tried to purchase the Coyotes a few years ago.

A deal could be finalized as early as next week, the source told TFP Friday night, but the NHL has since confirmed that an agreement is in place.

Later on Friday, the Arizona Republic reported NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman scheduled meetings with Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers and other council members for Tuesday morning.

Weiers told the paper he expects to view the ownership deal/proposal the NHL has negotiated with Gosbee and LeBlanc's group.

"If he's doing what I asked him to do, which is to not bring us anything unless he had it 100 percent ready to go, if he thinks they're ready to go, we'll see what they've got to propose," Weiers said.

The Republic also indicates that Calgary native and Houston businessman Avik Dey and New York businessman Daryl Jones are also part of the group.

The new ownership group must now reach a new lease agreement with the City of Glendale with respect to playing in Jobing.com Arena.

"Hopefully, we can put something together, but like I've told everybody all along, it's always going to be public safety first. We're not cutting into our general fund to support a hockey team," Weiers said.

When the City of Glendale reached a tentative agreement with a group led by former San Jose Sharks CEO Greg Jamison, their offer of a $15 million per year arena management fee had expired.

Since then, the city is only believed to be willing to offer a deal worth around $6 million per year, which will pose a significant problem to any ownership group interested in keeping the Coyotes in Glendale.

There are other groups interested in the Coyotes, some of which want to move them to another city, like Quebec City or Seattle.

For the time being, the NHL is poised to finalize its deal with Gosbee and Leblanc's group, as their intent is to keep the team in Arizona. If that fails, the Coyotes will almost certainly be forced to relocate.


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