Are The Phoenix Coyotes Too Big To Fail?

GLENDALE AZ : Matthew Hulsizer (C) CEO of PEAK6 Investments attends the NHL game between the Detroit Red Wings and the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena on in Glendale Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Glendale City Council votes tonight on doubling down yet again on the NHL and Matthew Hulsizer. Should they?

Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Ed Jovanovski is 6'2", 250 lbs. For a hockey player, he's average-sized. In a bar, he stands out but not dramatically.  In the city of Glendale, he's too big to fail.

It appears the Glendale City Council will agree to foot the bill for a successful sale of the Phoenix Coyotes from the NHL by sweetening the current arrangements around the Coyotes before financial services whiz Matthew Hulsizer takes on the burden of keeping the ice frozen in Glendale.

For the honor of keeping the team in Glendale through the current lease agreement in 2033 and possibly renaming the team the Arizona Coyotes, Glendale will likely put another $125 million in bonds on the city's credit history for Hulsizer, hand over parking fees to him, and slip him another $97 million to arrange Harlem Globetrotters games and Animated Characters on Ice Which Makes Them Even More Awesome shows.

Not everyone seems to agree with the wisdom of this action. Perhaps coincidentally, jobingarena.com was laden with malware Tuesday morning, according to Google. One council member (Phil Liberman) joins professional litigious agitprops at the Goldwater Institute in opposing taking the overall sports facility debt in Glendale to a cool US$1 billion, according to the completely non-biased (wink) Winnipeg Free Press.

Indeed, if there was consensus around cutting losses now, Winnipeg would have the Coyotes back across the border before Santa receives the change-of-address form. Or they won't; who really knows what's real and what's a scare tactic against the Glendale City Council by now?

Hulsizer knows a little about too-big-to-fail. His industry saw billions in government funds flood into banks and investment firms to keep them afloat lest the economy around them collapse.

In Europe, whole countries join large international banks in that lump. Smaller voices have started joining in chorus to suggest perhaps no one is too big to fail and that recovery can't truly begin until defaults occur. In America, it doesn't help much to see Wall Street and those same banks now making profits again but somehow not pulling the rest of the country with them. Somehow, the institutional investors again seem to avoid the risk but garner the profits.

From the beginning, there hasn't been a sense of enough. Banks wanted to be investment firms because there wasn't enough money. Countries wanted to be the gift that kept giving.

And when Steve Ellman donned his Harold Hill marching band hat and two-stepped to Glendale, no one there seemed to think it was enough to be a mid-sized city with aspirations of solid farmer's markets and a nice school system. No, they were going to be a destination with mixed-use everything.

Now, according to nearly all of the Glendale City Council, the Arizona Republic, and the NHL, there's nothing to do but double down again on the Phoenix Coyotes with no clear sign they've solved the original problem: not enough people are willing to drive to Glendale and drop enough cash on hockey.

So, a humble solution if admission of failure isn't an option: the Arizona Coyotes of Winnipeg. Winnipeg gets a few games a year and Hulsizer expands his market straight through Nebraska and the Dakotas. Surely a few thousand of those people will make it to games each night.

After all, if Ed Jovanovski is too big to fail, perhaps he's big enough to sport "Arizona Coyotes of Winnipeg Brought to You by PEAK6 and LifeLock" across his chest. Until he leaves in free agency, of course. 

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