At one point this spring the sale of the Phoenix Coyotes to Chicago businessman Matthew Hulsizer was just weeks from becoming official. All signs pointed to an orderly transfer of the team from the NHL to Mr. Hulsizer and then the Goldwater Institute stuck it's nose in and tanked the deal over a dispute about city financing.
In a matter of weeks, the deal that went from almost done went to almost having the team moved to Winnipeg. Glendale stepped up and laid down another $25 million to convince the NHL to give them more time and the Winnipeg vultures immediately shifted their talons into ripping the Atlanta Thrashers out of Georgia.
Now the deal has taken another twisted turn with today's report that Hulsizer was pulling out of negotiations with Glendale over the lease and financing arrangements.
The official, who asked not to be identified, said the Hulsizer ownership group did not want to go through another several-month process of Glendale trying to sell the Coyotes to their group or other potential owners.
We said when the $25 million extension and the Thrashers moved to Winnipeg that the leverage had shifted to Glendale. Once can imagine that they overplayed their hands and Hulsizer has simply moved on to other targets. Or, this latest news could just be part of the process of calling Glendale's bluff. The city claims to be negotiating again with Jerry Reinsdorf and some other mysterious owner.
Somehow, it's hard to imagine we are anywhere close to resolution and that only hurts the efforts of the Coyotes to rebuild their relationship with local sports fans.