The National Hockey League reached a tentative agreement to sell the Phoenix Coyotes to Greg Jamison, the former Chief Executive Officer of the San Jose Sharks.
The NHL has owned the Coyotes since 2009, when it bought the team out of bankruptcy from Jerry Moyes for $140 million. Jamison and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman didn’t disclose terms of the agreement during a news conference last night in Glendale, Arizona, where the Coyotes beat the Nashville Predators 2-1 to reach the Western Conference finals.
“Things are on track and we see light at the end of the tunnel,” Bettman said. “This is a path, based on everything we know, that we’re comfortable pursuing.”
Jamison still has to negotiate a new lease with the city of Glendale for the use of Jobing.com Arena, while the sale would also have to be approved by the NHL’s board of governors.
The Coyotes moved to Phoenix from Winnipeg in 1995 and in May 2009 Moyes filed for bankruptcy protection. He intended to sell the team to BlackBerry billionaire Jim Balsillie, who wanted to move the franchise to Ontario. The NHL opposed the plan, bought the Coyotes five months later and has said it’s committed to keeping the team in Glendale.
Jamison ran daily business operations of the Sharks as the president and CEO of Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment, a position he’d held since his promotion from vice president and chief operating officer in 1996. He was the franchise’s governor to the NHL and in 2007 was elected by the board of governors to the league’s 10-person executive committee.
Phoenix has made the playoffs each of the past three seasons, though this is the first time since 1987 that the team has advanced past the opening round. The Coyotes will play the Los Angeles Kings for a spot in the Stanley Cup final.
Bettman said he wants the agreement with Jamison to be completed in weeks and not months.
“It’s the right result for a team that has a terrific fan base, this is a good sports market, this is a good building,” Bettman said. “With the right ownership, we think all the indications for the future can be positive.”