The Phoenix Business Journal published a story today that said that the NHL had a back-up plan in place to move the Coyotes to Winnipeg.
The story said, "Two sources with knowledge of the Coyotes finances and ownership said a deal between Thomson and the NHL has been completed in principle and could have the Coyotes back in Winnipeg next season if necessary."
The NHL released their own statement from Bill Daly denying the rumor. Here is the release in its entirety...
Date of Release: Mar 29, 2010
Type of Release: Public Relations
Statement from NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE / MARCH 29, 2010
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER BILL DALY STATEMENT
NEW YORK (March 29, 2010) -- Bill Daly, Deputy Commissioner of the National Hockey League, today released the following statement:
"In response to the many inquiries we have received in light of the story in the Phoenix Business Journal this morning, we would like to make clear that at this point in time the National Hockey League has no "deal" in place to move the Coyotes' franchise to Winnipeg -- or to any other city for that matter -- in the event a transaction cannot be timely consummated in Glendale. Our focus continues to be on completing a transaction with local ownership that is committed to operating the team in Glendale. Based on the communications and information we are receiving on a regular basis, the stakeholders involved continue to express a high level of confidence that that can be successfully achieved. We will not focus on completing arrangements for one or more alternative option(s) until such time as it may become necessary.
"With respect to Winnipeg and Messrs. Chipman and Thomson, we have had ongoing discussions over time regarding their potential interest in owning an NHL franchise (as we have had with a number of other individuals and cities around North America) and potentially bringing an NHL franchise back to Winnipeg. It remains an intriguing possibility and one we would consider given appropriate circumstances, but there is nothing new to report on that front at this time."
It is a real shame for the Phoenix players, management and fans to receive this type of distraction from the local media in the midst of the best run on the ice in franchise history. Hopefully, this will prompt Ice Edge, Jerry Reinsdorf, or whoever else may be involved to get on the stick and get a deal done,
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass