The City of Glendale has signed the lease agreement with Greg Jamison's Hockey Partners group. Where does that put the progress on selling the team to Mr. Jamison?
In case you haven't heard already, the City of Glendale has reportedly signed the arena management agreement it voted to enter into in late November with Hockey Partners LLC, more commonly known as the investment group led by Greg Jamison. The agreement will go into effect as soon as Jamison is approved by the NHL's Board of Governors and officially becomes the owner of the Phoenix (soon to be Arizona) Coyotes.
As if you couldn't guess by now, there are a couple of things that need to happen before Phoenix Coyotes fans can finally put this whole mess to bed. The first is the approval from the Board of Governors. Although it's doubtful that the NHL would want to continue owning the team, the more pressing issue has been the inability of Greg Jamison to meet with Gary Bettman, primarily because the latter remains embattled in the CBA negotiations. Having the lease signed by the City however, puts the ball definitively in the NHL's court to finish the work on their end.
There also remains the possibility of legal action in an attempt to derail the lease agreement from going into effect. Such an action would only come after Jamison's group is officially placed in charge of the team, and as had already been mentioned here, there are several good reasons to believe a lawsuit may be more for show than for substance.
The bottom line is this: the finish line is close. There has been a tremendous amount of work done by a lot of people to get to where we are today, and they deserve all the thanks and appreciation that Coyotes fans worldwide can muster. The other way to reward their dedication is to prove to Jamison, the NHL, and the hockey world that Phoenix is a viable market. The lockout has caused many fans to (justifiably) question their commitment to a league that hasn't always seemed that committed to them. But one area in which Gary Bettman and the NHL management have never wavered is in their belief that Phoenix can sustain an NHL franchise. It would be a shame for all of that work to go to waste now.