Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Is it migration season already?

The timing seems a little off, what with the Phoenix Coyotes actually looking strong heading into the playoffs and with a high profile candidate like Jerry Reinsdorf back apparently to kick some more tires.

But Monday was full of rumours that the dogs of the Desert may soon be heading off to the Canadian prairie to return home, a move which would make for one of the longest of migration periods, since the Dinosaurs started wandering to and fro.

The Coyotes who started out their star crossed lives as the Jets, could one day find themselves back in the Peg, ready to entertain and hopefully reward the long suffering hockey fans of Manitoba with another shot at the NHL.

While the play of the Coyotes has clearly improved this year, launching them into previously unkonwn spots in the standings since their arrival in Arizona, they are still after all wards of the NHL, the abandoned waifs of the league, who while starting to win over the locals (no doubt thanks to some creative ticket packages and family friendly pricing) are still taking a serious hunk of change out of every NHL owners wallet, something that we've learned over the years is not something that the NHL cabal enjoys.

The Phoenix Business Journal has pegged billionaire David Thompson and Mark Chipman, the Winnipeg entrepreneur who are co-owners of the 15,000 seat MTS Centre in Winnipeg as the duo behind any potential reolcation plans, though through the day Monday, the Public relations department for True North Sports and Entertainment were declaring that any suggestions of a move were false.

The NHL also issued a statement outlining that from their perspective there was no agreement in place to move the team back to Canada.

The Phoenix situation has popped up on the NHL agenda again, as one potential buyer Ice Edge reportedly has run into problems securing financing for their bid for the team, though in  a story from Monday, they insisted that their plans are still on track to move forward with the purchase.

With the NHL still footing the bills for the team this year and with another season on the horizon, moving the team off the league's books most likely is a priority for the NHL and   the other twenty nine less than enthusiastic investors of the moment.

Such is the nature of the NHL's trouble spots these days, that any indication of interest results in a rush for the telephones with the scoop of the day as to where the latest franchise situation may be heading.

Though judging by the recent success of the Coyotes, landing this team might not be such a bad thing, they've shown remarkable resilience under trying times and head coach Dave Tippet has done a masterful job of keeping them focused on the job at hand. Providing for some entertaining hockey that could have make for an interesting time in this spring's playoffs.

Winnipeg residents are only hoping that if they suddenly have a case of Coyote fever in April and May, that come training camp in September, these suddenly familiar faces will be lining up on the MTS Centre blue line.

Globe and Mail-- Coyotes eyeing a Winnipeg den?
Globe and Mail-- Glendale to review lease proposals for troubled Coyotes
Canadian Press-- NHL denies deal in place to move Coyotes if lease agreement falls through
Winnipeg Free Press-- No deal cut to move Coyotes to Winnipeg
Vancouver Province-- Ex-Moose say Coyotes would love Winnipeg fans
National Post-- An Imperfect Picture
Toronto Sun-- Winnipeg interest puts pressure on Glendale to get deal done
Arizona Republic-- Coyotes suitors to present arena lease bids to Glendale council
Winnipeg Sun-- 'Peg backup plan?
Winnipeg Sun-- We're the vultures now

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