The local nightmare is over.
The sale of the Phoenix Coyotes to the IceArizona Acquisition Co., which is a group headed by investors Anthony LeBlanc and George Gosbee, was approved by the NHL Board of Governors Monday, meaning the team is no longer controlled by the league itself.
Gosbee said he’s glad the NHL decided to approve the sale Monday morning and that he and his partners can finally take control of the organization.
“I wanted to own the team because I thought at the end of the day it’s a sound investment, and I think that’s what attracted my other partners to the table with us,” Gosbee said in a teleconference with the media Monday. He called the ownership team a “tight-knit group” and said they all have a vested interest in Arizona.
LeBlanc said that the ownership group will be hands-on with the team’s business decisions.
“Nobody in this group gets into anything with the expectation of failing,” LeBlanc added. “We expect to continue making this a very exciting, very competitive hockey team.”
The Coyotes had been controlled by the NHL since the franchise was put into bankruptcy by then-owner Jerry Moyes in May 2009. Various people have looked into purchasing the team — and some even appeared to be close — but none were able to close the deal until now.
“The National Hockey League believes in Arizona as an NHL market and that these new owners can provide the Coyotes the opportunity to secure a stable, long-term future in Glendale,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a press release. “We thank the Coyotes’ devoted fans for their patient, perseverant support. We are extremely pleased that a positive resolution has been achieved for the fans, the city, the Coyotes and the League.”