It sounds like time may finally be starting to run out for the Arizona Coyotes franchise.
Yesterday we reported on information that appeared to indicate that the Coyotes were on the verge of a sale. Two different sources indicated that the sale was indeed close, with one reporting that a deal was imminent, while the other source indicated that the deal would come after the new year, although in both cases it sounded like the expectation was that this deal would be done in short order.
What we know for certain is that current Coyotes owner Andrew Barroway is attempting to sell a majority stake in the team and in fact may be looking to divest himself of all his ownership stake, although it's still unclear if he will retain a piece of the team following the sale. Of particular interest however is a new report from National Hockey League insider David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period that indicates that this sale could be the precursor to the team being moved to a brand new market all together.
Let’s make one thing clear, the League’s focus is to keep the team in Arizona. This new prospective owner/ownership group knows and understands that. But how long the Coyotes remain in the Greater Phoenix area is centered on the pursuit of a new arena.
Barroway has tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to find a new home for the Coyotes. He’s come close, but things always seemed to fall apart. It’s believed selling the franchise may spark discussions and help the team’s hunt.
In my estimation, if a new arena is not in the works and built within the next three-to-five years, the Coyotes’ tenure in Arizona will come to an end.
There have been several rumors linking this sale to Tilman Fertitta, the current owner of the Houston Rockets, but Pagnotta does not believe those rumors are accurate. That being said Fertitta remains in contact with the National Hockey League and there is a belief that he could potentially become a player should the league eventually feel the need to move the Coyotes out of Arizona. Fertitta of course would be interested in owning and operating the team in the Houston market so unless that is on the table I don't see him making his move just quite yet.