Six-hundred seconds. That’s how close the Jets — better known as the Phoenix Coyotes — were to packing up and flying back to Winnipeg.
This isn’t one of those Internet rumors or wishful thinking from a fan base longing for their wayward franchise. No, the owner of the new Winnipeg NHL team, Mark Chipman, told the Winnipeg Free Press that his group was a mere 10 minutes away last year from landing the Coyotes.
“We literally came within 10 minutes of acquiring (the Coyotes) in May 2010 when the City of Glendale met a 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time deadline to wire the funds necessary to pay for the league’s losses for the (2010-11) season.”
The only thing between Arizona and no longer having franchises in all four major sports was a matter of minutes and $25 million. Let that sink in.
While everyone has focused on who may wind up as the owner of the Coyotes and save the team, the real hero in this situation seems to be the Glendale city council. While many people have given them a hard time for their handling of the situation, the reality is without them the Jobing.com Arena wouldn’t have a main tenant.
Say what you will about the Coyotes ownership saga, but just don’t blame Glendale. They’ve managed to stave off the wolves — or at least the Canadians — for a lot longer than six-hundred seconds. They’ve done it for the better part of two years.