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Ice Edge Holdings Approved By Glendale To Buy Team

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This is big news.

GLENDALE, Ariz.- The Glendale City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve a memorandum of understanding from Ice Edge Holdings toward purchasing the Phoenix Coyotes and keeping the NHL team at Jobing.com Arena.

The memorandum gives Ice Edge, a group of Canadian and American investors, exclusive negotiating rights for a new arena lease over the next 60 days. A new lease is a necessary step toward buying the team from the NHL. Glendale officials say the memorandum will be forwarded to league officials for a final decision.

Of course, there's a long way from approval from Glendale, who desperately wants a buyer that will keep the team in their fancy building, and Ice Edge Holdings is the only bachelor left standing. But that doesn't mean that IEH has the dowry.

Step 1 of the agreement calls for Ice Edge to provide a bank term sheet within the next 10 days showing it may be able to find appropriate financing to purchase the team. Getting that financing, along with negotiating a new lease for Jobing.com Arena, is believed to be one of the group’s major remaining hurdles leading up to being vetted as potential owners by the NHL.

“It’s hard to gauge the probability of this deal closing,” Ice Edge chief operating officer Daryl Jones told the Winnipeg Free Press on Tuesday.

“Realistically, there has been a great deal of financial turmoil in the world over the last 45 days, sovereign-debt issues and stock market corrections, which are going to make it harder for us, or any group, to close this transaction. That being said, we do remain optimistic.”

Our own Five for Howling crew was on-site at the Glendale meeting and spoke with IEH CEO Anthony Leblanc who disputes the quote:

I spoke with Ice Edge CEO Anthony Leblanc prior to the meeting and he assured me that the quote was taken a bit out of context and run with (as we have grown used to with the Winnipeg Free Press and other Canadian media sources).  And really, based on the structure of the MOU and the provision that requires IEH to provide a term sheet within 10 days or lose its exclusivity, it doesn't make much sense for IEH to push this vote if they don't have that term sheet pretty much ready to go.  And from what Leblanc said during the meeting itself, he expects that IEH will present the term sheet before the end of the week.

Something tells me this story isn't over yet.