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Arizona Coyotes

Updated Jun 17, 2013 - 10:53 am

Report: Seattle has emerged as ‘Plan B' for Coyotes franchise

If City of Glendale councilmen are unable to contrive a solution that would keep the NHL-owned Phoenix Coyotes in Arizona, the franchise has a groomed landing spot in Seattle, according to a recent Toronto Sun report.

As quoted in the report, Seattle mayor Mike McGinn identifies his city as the ‘Plan B' for the restless franchise, which was bought out of bankruptcy by the NHL in 2009.

Glendale city councilmembers have a meeting scheduled for Tuesday, June 25 -- the last such meeting of the city's fiscal year -- two days prior to their all-important meeting with the NHL Board of Governors. In regard to the latter meeting, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, who was in town last week to meet with Glendale officials, told the media "stuff is gonna happen."

The Coyotes' prospective buyer, Renaissance Sports and Entertainment -- an investment group from Canada -- are reportedly in negotiations with Glendale over a lease agreement to keep the team playing at Arena, which is owned by the city.

The pressure is on the city council or, as Bettman put it, "the puck is pretty much in the City of Glendale's end," to agree on Arena lease terms, which play a crucial role in the sale of the team.

If no such agreement materializes, one of Seattle's councilmen believes a tentative deal was reached between the city and the NHL to have the Coyotes play their 2013-14 season at Key Arena. The councilman, Tim Burgess, stated that the deal surfaced from a meeting between mayor Mcginn and commissioner Bettman last week. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly deemphasized the meeting, saying it was the type of meeting that commissioner Bettman has regularly.

Key Arena, which was constructed in 1962, can seat 11,000 for a hockey game, nearly 3,000 less than the Coyotes' average attendance at Arena last season. According to the Sun report, if the franchise were to move to Seattle, they'd be playing their games at Key for at least two years, as the city gears up to erect an arena that would draw an NBA franchise.

The framework for the move to Seattle is seemingly there, but McGinn is downplaying its likelihood.

"I really want to bring down expectations," he said. "We are very clearly Plan B for the NHL and this team."

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