Let’s start with one simple fact before tackling Thursday’s incendiary Forbes report on the sale of the Phoenix Coyotes, which indicated that the prospective ownership group headed by George Gosbee and Anthony LeBlanc will be receiving some of its financing from the NHL. These are not the New York Yankees that Renaissance Sports and Entertainment is attempting to buy. These are not even the Nashville Predators. The Phoenix Coyotes are a struggling franchise that lost upwards of $30 million in their worst season and still lost between $10 million and $15 million a year ago, when they advanced to the Western Conference final. Locals know that there are mitigating factors in that poor showing, including a lack of stable ownership, poor management and coaching by the previous regime, poor drafts choices (Blake Wheeler, Peter Mueller, Kyle Turris) by the previous regime and a dearth of top-end skill (or the cash to buy it) since the club moved west to Glendale in 2003. Many believe that if some of those problems are solved – as they have been in other emerging markets – the Coyotes could become a viable franchise in the nation’s sixth-largest city. Persistent suitor Darin Pastor has repeatedly called the Coyotes an “undervalued asset” due to past issues. Some of those issues have been solved. The management need has already been addressed with the re-signing of GM Don Maloney. The Coyotes have a capable COO in Mike Nealy, who has worked wonders on a shoestring budget with a skeleton staff. And if Maloney can bring back coach Dave Tippett, the franchise will have several key pieces locked up for the long term.
Despite Forbes report, Coyotes sale moves ahead
Fox Sports Arizona | May 31