While plenty of fans around the Valley are still down in the dumps regarding the prospect of the Phoenix Coyotes leaving town in the not so distant future, those within the team’s front office still remain optimistic about keeping the club in town.
“I still am pretty positive and confident that an ownership deal is going to get done,” Coyotes team president Mike Nealy told Arizona Sports 620’s Doug & Wolf Thursday. “This has been a long process for your fans and you guys that have been following us, this has been years, it hasn’t been weeks or months. It’s been a frustrating process to say the least.
“We certainly appreciate everyone hanging in there, including internally as well. I still feel confident, because I know the NHL wants this team here.”
The league has owned the Coyotes since the fall of 2009, after then-owner Jerry Moyes filed for bankruptcy protection.
Although Phoenix has made three consecutive trips to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, including the franchise’s first appearance in the Western Conference Finals in 2012, the league has been extremely hard-pressed to find a buyer with the necessary capital to take over the team.
Last month, despite having a proposed 20-year lease agreement on the table with the City of Glendale, prospective buyer Greg Jamison was unable to meet a January 31 deadline set by Glendale’s City Council to purchase the team.
While it feels like all parties involved are back to square one following the missed deadline, Nealy said he believes that both Glendale and the NHL want the Coyotes to remain in town.
“I know from a political standpoint (Mayor Jerry Weiers and council members) came out and said that maybe they weren’t in favor of the deal that Jamison had put in place,” said Nealy. “But I think it’s important for people to understand that especially the mayor, he’s a fan of the team.
“I think he understands that it’s more important to have that team here and that losing the team would have an negative economic impact.”