The National Hockey League says relocation to Seattle is a viable option in case the city of Glendale, Ariz. can’t reach an arena deal with the potential buyers of the Phoenix Coyotes.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Thursday the Glendale city council is scheduled to vote July 2 on a proposed lease agreement for Jobing.com Arena that would facilitate the sale of the Phoenix Coyotes from the NHL to Renaissance Sports and Entertainment.
But Bettman said if the city council rejects the proposed deal, he doesn’t see the Coyotes staying in Arizona, NHL.com reports.
“I don’t want to be more specific than I’m going to be, but if the council doesn’t approve it so this transaction can close, I don’t think the Coyotes will be playing there anymore,” Commissioner Bettman said following a meeting of the league’s Board of Governors.
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said the NHL could play in KeyArena next season, and “there are relocation options here.”
The league is said to be preparing multiple schedules for the 2013-2014 season with Seattle penciled in as one of the options, according to Chris Johnston, a senior hockey writer and analyst for NHL Network.
But Seattle isn’t the only option. Daly also said Quebec City, former home of the NHL’s Quebec Nordiques, remains an option as well. “I wouldn’t rule it out,” he said.
The city of Glendale on Thursday released details of a proposed lease agreement that would pay Renaissance Sports and Entertainment $15 million a year to run the arena, along with a five-year out clause to leave the city if the team loses $50 million or more during that period.
Either way, the fate of the Coyotes should be decided on or soon after July 2.
“The fact of the matter is we haven’t ironed out or put into effect a Plan B. We have lots of options,” Commissioner Bettman said. “I find it difficult to conceive of why if the council turns this down, we would want to keep the team in Glendale any longer. We would then, if they turn it down, have to deal with possibilities and the options that will be available to us and they are numerous. There is enough time.”