NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman warned the City of Glendale it needs to act by next Tuesday, or else watch their team move away.
Bettman, speaking after the NHL’s Board of Governors meeting in Manhattan, was asked if a new deal for the Coyotes needs to be approved by July 2.
“I don't want to be more specific than I'm going to be, but if the council doesn't approve it so that this transaction can close, I don't think the Coyotes will be playing there anymore,” said Bettman.
The Coyotes franchise has struggled financially for the last four years, and the Renaissance Group has offered to operate the building and purchase the franchise from the NHL. The deal is contingent on Glendale City Council approval.
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn has acknowledged talking to Bettman about Seattle serving as a "Plan B" if no deal is struck. Two investors, Ray Bartoczek and Anthony Lanza, have met with McGinn and Seattle City Councilmembers and told them they’d like to buy the Coyotes and have them play at KeyArena temporarily. Seattle Councilmember Tim Burgess said he believed a conditional deal had already been worked out between the NHL hopefuls and the city.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told reporters Thursday afternoon that Seattle and KeyArena would be a suitable temporary venue.
However, Daly and Bettman claimed they weren’t considering "Plan B" just yet.
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. So we will then, if they turn it down, have to deal with the possibilities and the options that will be available to us, and they are numerous.”
Daly added, “There are relocation options here. Those are the alternatives we're going to consider.”
Glendale’s mayor and certain council members have expressed concern in recent days about the financing structure of the Renaissance bid, and have even considered leveraging City Hall as a way to pay off past NHL debts. A Glendale public meeting is scheduled for Friday.